I’m deeply concerned about killings on Christian communities – Justin Welby tells Buhari

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has asked the federal government to be neutral in addressing killings in the country.

He made the call on Wednesday when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Abuja house in London.

Recent clashes between herdsmen and farmers/host communities have resulted in the killing of many Nigerians.

Welby said they discussed the “complex” security situation in the country, among other things.

The cleric said he offered to support the federal government in seeking a sustainable solution to the clashes between herders and farmers.

“I expressed deep concern about the suffering resulting from raids on Christian communities and villages as far south as Delta state,” he said.

“We discussed the causes of such depredations, which have led to very many deaths and threaten an escalation of violence.

“I urged measures to restore confidence in the neutrality of the state, and spoke of the suffering of the poor in such tragedies.”

He also urged Buhari to “do everything possible” to secure the release Leah Sharibu – the 14-year-old Dapchi schoolgirl still held captive by Boko Haram for “refusing to convert to Islam”.

Welby said: “I briefed president Buhari about my pastoral visit to Nigeria in 2014 following the abduction of the Chibok girls, and assured him of my continued prayers for the release of all those still in captivity.

“The president promised that the government would do all in its power to secure their release.

“No country or society can flourish without excellent education – so it was good to speak with the president about how education helps tackle poverty. I highlighted the vital role that churches in England play not just in educating a million children, but in providing them with values, identity and purpose.”

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