President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has stated that some individuals use religion as a guise to advance their own economic and political agendas.
He made these comments while meeting with Rashad Hussain, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, in Nouakchott, Mauritania on Tuesday.
Recalling a private meeting he had with former President Donald Trump at the White House, President Buhari recounted how Trump had asked him “why are you killing Christians in Nigeria?”
The Nigerian leader explained to him that the issues in the country were not religious in nature, but rather criminal and a manipulation of religion by certain elements for their own gain.
President Buhari stated that this is a problem Nigeria has been grappling with for a long time, but emphasized that with proper education, people are beginning to see through these manipulative tactics.
He added that the majority of the population simply wants to practice their religion without interference, but that some individuals exploit religious misunderstandings for their own benefit.
Furthermore, the President highlighted that often when people are incompetent, they use religion as an excuse.
Ambassador Hussain responded by saying that the United States is interested in partnering with Nigeria in the areas of formal and non-formal education to promote religious harmony.
He added that there is much that can be done together to promote peace and communal harmony and that the US would be glad to assist as appropriate.