PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday described as misadvised, the United States classification of Nigeria as a religious intolerrant country.
He urged the U.S. to avoid relying on one-sided intelligence but to always ensure its sources of information on Nigeria cut across all sectors when making decisions.
According to Buhari, fact-checking of information was necessary before taking a position, noting that some people might provide misleading and manipulative narratives for self-serving purposes, ignoring the larger picture of a united country.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said the recent listing of Nigeria for human rights concerns created an impression that some people were being unfairly treated or marginalised in the land.
He, however, told the envoy that he has been fair in his dealings with all segments of the country, noting that he has so far kept faith with the oath he took as President.
Buhari said he took some time to explain the situation in the country when he met with President Donald Trump in Washington DC as the American President expressed concern with reports of attacks on some segments of the society.
“It is not an easy task to work for the unity of the country, and I am doing my best. During your stay in the country, I am asking you to ensure that your sources of strategic information cut across,’’ he added.
The President urged the envoy to use the opportunity of her posting to Nigeria, with her experience, knowledge and energy, to get the facts on the country.
Ms. Leonard said Nigeria was listed on a watch list to deepen conversation on the humanitarian situation in the country, accepting that some people could “flare the flames and crystalise issues’’ that could affect peaceful-coexistence.
”There are people who make things less attractive than they seem,’’ she said, noting that the report will deepen conversation of the situation in the country, especially with religious leaders and mediators.
“I want to assure that the United States recognises and celebrates the integration in Nigeria.’’
She assured the president that the U.S. will always side with transparent processes.
The Ambassador said Nigerians and America have a lot in common in terms of “being big among neighbours, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial”.
The envoy assured Buhari of support from her home country, especially on the humanitarian challenges, while appreciating the willingness to always share useful information and intelligence with her country.
She said: “I feel it’s a privilege and great honour to be here; coming to see the giant of Africa. I have worked for 30 decades before coming to Nigeria. We will do a lot together for peace, security and delivering humanitarian assistance.’’
The President also got Letters of Credence from the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Nigeria, Ahamed Lebbe Sabarullah Khan.
He lauded the country for supporting Nigeria to provide the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The High Commissioner said: “Our countries face similar challenges and we will support each other.’’
He said Sri Lanka will also strengthen bilateral relations with Nigeria on trade and investments.