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Letter to Nigerian president-elect Muhammadu Buhari

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit's letter to Nigerian president-elect Muhammadu Buhari congratulating him.

21 April 2015

Your Excellency

I send you my congratulations and good wishes on your recent election as President of Nigeria. I was greatly relieved that the election was able to take place without major incidents of violence, and I hope that the period of transition and your taking up your new office will remain similarly peaceful.

As general secretary of the World Council of Churches I am in regular contact with our member churches in Nigeria (Church of Nigeria [Anglican Communion]; Church of the Brethren in Nigeria; Church of the Lord Aladura; Methodist Church Nigeria; Nigerian Baptist Convention; Presbyterian Church of Nigeria; Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria; the African Church). We also work closely with the Christian Council of Nigeria, and its general secretary Rev. Yusuf Ibrahim Wushishi. I know that our member churches will strive alongside you for the good of the Nigerian people and society, particularly over issues such as fighting corruption and insecurity. I share their belief that you, as President, will work for the good of all Nigerians, irrespective of religion or tribe.

One particular issue we, at the World Council of Churches, are deeply committed to is that of freedom of religion or belief, as a basic human right. I was grateful that earlier this year you spoke specifically on this subject and talked of the importance of all Nigerians having the freedom to worship God according to their wish. You also mentioned how important it was that religion was not used as an excuse to divide or oppress the Nigerian people. I found these comments very helpful and reassuring. In 2012, along with HRH Prince Ghazi of Jordan, I co-led a joint Christian-Muslim delegation to visit your country in which we saw and heard for ourselves the effect that religious-based violence was having on the lives of people.

I hope that I may have the honour of meeting you one day in the not too distant future.

I offer you my prayers and good wishes as you prepare to take up your new responsibilities.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary