By David Iorja (Abuja)
President Muhammadu Buhari has made a passionate appeal to Nigerians to be tolerant of one another and embrace peace for the general good of the society.
The president’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja, said Buhari made the appeal after visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda on Thursday.
Buhari toured the permanent exhibitions at the Memorial and laid a wreath at the mass graves where more than 250,000 victims of the genocide were buried.
He also paid tribute to the memory of the victims and prayed for healing for the survivors.
After the historic visit, the president told journalists that a lesson from his visit was the need for Nigerians to continue to be tolerant of one another.
He added the nation should preserve its own historical antecedents from the Nigeria Civil War (1967-1970).
‘‘I went through all the experiences from 15 January 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,’’ Buhari 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 to 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 Nigerian leader is in Kigali, Rwanda to participate in the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
He will hold bilateral talks with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson on Thursday.
Buhari will also attend the official opening of CHOGM on Friday, followed by high-level meetings of Heads of State and Government.