Nigeria’s top Muslim spiritual leader appealed people of Nigeria to remain calm and removed the assumptions of religious war due to deadly Christmas attacks after meeting the country’s president on Tuesday. Sectarian tensions escalated as an Islamists militant organization claimed the Christmas attack.
Nigeria’s top Muslim leader had a 90-minute meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan and said that the bloody attacks on church which killed 40 people, including worshippers leaving a Catholic church near the capital, did not signal a religious conflict.
“No country has ever survived a religious war, so the government must address the problem.”The sultan said after his meeting with Jonathan that the president agreed to look at previous reports issued by government panels on the violence linked to radical Islamists and the country’s sectarian divisions.
The meeting came as a Christian leader in the country’s north warned the government must take action to address spiralling violence or risk religious war, though he stressed Christians must not retaliate.
Some analysts said the Christmas bombings marked a dangerous escalation in a country divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.
The head of the northern chapter of Nigeria’s main Christian organisation warned that the government must address the problem to prevent “religious war.”
“We have been alerting the government that they must do something,” said Saidu Dogo, secretary for 19 northern states for the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The US military commander for Africa said Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram was suspicious of having links with militant groups like Al-Qaeda.
More discussions and meetings are expected with top religious and political leaders of Nigeria.