The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has begun his two-day working visit to Nigeria, going first to Sokoto State, where he praised the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, for his efforts at promoting religious tolerance and understanding.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reported Kerry as saying that the Sultanate Council was building a community of tolerance for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Kerry promised that the United States would continue to identify itself with the Sultan in strengthening religious understanding and tolerance among Nigerians.
He also talked about the fight against corruption and terrorism, saying both require international collaboration to overcome.
Delivering a speech on Resilient Communities and Religious Tolerance in Countering Violent Extremism, Secretary Kerry said extremists do not only kill people but also turn the most vulnerable among the society into killers.
Secretary Kerry, told northern religious leaders, tertiary and secondary schools students that terrorism can be eliminated if the society put hands together.
He maintained that Nigerians must do more than just denounce Boko Haram, adding that they also must act right from the grassroots level.
“We also know that beating Boko Haram on the battlefield is only the beginning of what we must do.
“Building public trust in government also requires cooperation from the military and law enforcement. Extremism can’t be defeated through repression or fear,” he said.
The elated Sultan expressed delight at the visit, saying that the council would continue to promote peaceful coexistence among Nigerians for the overall political growth of the country.
Abubakar said the principal objective of the Sultanate remains the promotion of religious tolerance and understanding among Nigerians and getting citizens to tolerate one another for peace, progress and political stability of the country.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who accompanied Kerry to the palace, also stated that the state government would continue to strengthen peaceful coexistence among the people, irrespective of religious, tribal and political differences.
“We don’t discriminate on religious, tribal, ethnic or political affiliations as we accommodate all for peace and harmony,” he said.
NAN reported that Kerry had a closed-door meeting with Sultan Abubakar and some leaders of the two major religions.
Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara and Deputy National Chairman of APC North West, Inuwa Abdulkadir, were present during the courtesy visit on the Sultan.