President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerians to tolerate each other and embrace peaceful co-existence to avoid a repeat of the 1967 Nigerian civil war and Kigali genocide history.
Buhari made the appeal on Thursday in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, after visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
The president, who toured the permanent exhibitions at the Memorial, laid a wreath at the mass graves where more than 250,000 victims of genocide were buried. He also paid tribute to the memory of the victims and prayed for healing for the survivors.
Buhari who spoke to newsmen after his tour at the Memorial noted that his greatest takeaway from the visit included the need for Nigerians to truly tolerate one another and for the nation to also preserve its own historical antecedents from the 30-month Civil War.
He said, “I went through all the experiences from January 15, 1966 to date. I was a Governor, Minister, and Head of State and went through detention. I returned to partisan politics and will finish my two terms as constitutionally allowed.
‘‘We fought a 30-month bitter civil war and we killed about a million of each other. Nigeria went through this kind of terrible development process,” he said.
Before departing, the President also wrote in the visitors’ book:
‘‘Remembering the victims of this dark history of the Rwanda Genocide, we pray that humanity will never experience this kind of hatred, wickedness and violence toward others because of their ethnic background, religion and beliefs.
‘‘Nigeria is strongly committed to the prevention of mass atrocity anywhere in the world and believes that perpetrators of such crimes; and their enablers, anywhere in the world must be held accountable.”
The media reported how President Buhari travelled to Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday for the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
During his stay in Rwanda, Buhari would engage in bilateral talks with the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Thursday and thereafter, attend the official opening of CHOGM and meetings of Heads of State and Government on friday.