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President Goodluck Jonathan was all gratitude to Allah yesterday for sparing the lives of former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and top Islamic preacher Sheik Dahiru Bauchi.
The duo escaped assassination on Wednesday when the fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram, detonated two bombs in Kaduna.
Jonathan, receiving Muslim leaders in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the Eid-el-Fitri Sallah homage at the Presidential Villa, said that the country would have been in turmoil if the terrorists had succeeded.
The President who fasted during Ramadan, described the period as a time to reflect and be our neighbours’ keepers.
He said: “Not too long ago, we had these dastardly attacks in Kano and Kaduna. We stand to condemn these acts of terror on our people. And we extend our condolences and sympathy to the bereaved and those who might have been injured. The recent attacks in Kaduna, especially where Sheik Dahiru Bauchi was a target and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was also a target.”
“You can imagine if these two people had died in those attacks. Shiekh Bauchi is one of our top Islamic preachers; he has millions of followers. Buhari, former Head of State, a leading political figure, has massive supporters.”
“On the same day people wanted to kill them; those who planned the attacks are clearly sons of the devil. If they had killed these two people, we wouldn’t have been here today. This country would have been in turmoil; we couldn’t have gathered here to celebrate.”
The President went on: “We thank Allah for saving their lives and preventing a major calamity that would have befallen our country. I use this opportunity to call on all Nigerians to work with government to see that collectively we bring to an end the excesses of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. We are doing everything humanly possible to end it.”
Jonathan urged clerics to always preach peace and unity and not hate.
Nigeria, he said, cannot develop without peace and unity.
“In a conflict situation people move away from such zones and we cannot develop our communities, our local governments, states and our country in a conflict situation,” he said.
He said the government was looking at ways to raise funds to cater for widows and orphans as well as those whose business premises were vandalized. Worship places that were destroyed.
Stressing that the government cannot do it alone, the President said that the fund would be launched on Thursday.
He said: “Government cannot do it alone because we will need huge sums of money. The Nigerian private sector are vibrant and willing if they see sincerity in government. We have demonstrated that very clearly and we are hopeful that that day reasonable amount of money will be raised.”
“And we will continue to raise money until we are able to cushion the effect of these excesses and at the same time we are strengthening our security services so that they will be able to confront this menace,” he added.
Speaking earlier, Vice President, Namadi Sambo thanked the President for accepting to receive them as they celebrate the end of the Ramadan.
Praying God to continue to give the President wisdom and guidance to rule, for peace and for all the evil including Boko Haram, to end, he praised him for fasting alongside Muslims during the Ramadan.
He also urged Nigerians to be their brothers’ keepers, as he prayed for tranquility in the country and for total reconciliation and stability.
Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Bala Mohammed said: “We have always enjoyed humane and civil disposition; that is why you see Muslims and Christians coming to pay homage – in line with your exemplary leadership.”
He prayed for courage and wisdom for the President to continue to steer the ship of leadership despite the security challenges.