Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Following the execution of some Christians by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians not to let terrorists divide the country along religious lines.
The terrorists had reportedly beheaded 11 Christian hostages on Christmas Day in Nigeria.
The militants said in a sickening video that the mass killing was in revenge for the deaths “of our leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
ISWAP which includes supporters from Boko Haram, had released a shocking 56-second video.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari said he was sad and shocked about the death in the hands of those he called remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers.
He said: “I am profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages in the hands of remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers that have given Islam a bad name through their atrocities
“We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world.
“As a president, the collective security of all Nigerians is my major preoccupation and the death of an innocent Christian or Muslim distresses me.”
The president said the terrorists have no clearly-defined agenda except the pursuit of evil through indiscriminate murder of innocent people, contrary to the teachings of Islam, which prohibits massacre.
“No true Muslim would be shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while killing innocent people, an evil frequently condemned by the Holy Qur’an.
“These agents of darkness are enemies of our common humanity and they don’t spare any victim, whether they are Muslims or Christians, and therefore, we shouldn’t let them divide us and turn us against one another.
“The goal of these psychopaths is to cause confusion and spread distrust between Muslims and Christians, despite the fact that they aren’t representing the interest of Muslims or Islam.
“While I condemn this evil, I wish to reassure Nigerians that this administration will not lower its guards in the war against terrorism, and we will continue to intensify our efforts towards strengthening international cooperation and collaboration to break the backbone of these evil doers,” he said.
President Buhari called on all Nigerians to be united against terrorists and avoid unhelpful conspiracy theories that serve the interest of Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP.