Two main religious coalitions in Nigeria have called for prayers for President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, JNI, made the calls in separate statements on Thursday.
In its statement, signed by Kwamkur Samuel, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, CAN said it “is deeply concerned about the ongoing national conversation on the absence of the President due to ill- health.”
“We wish to call on all Nigerians to join hands in prayers for the quick and full recovery of Mr. President and his safe return to Nigeria instead of dwelling on the needless rumour mongering on the President’s health.”
The coalition of Nigerian Churches said “it is very clear that our leader is passing through health challenges.”
It asked the presidency to “update Nigerians on how he is fairing and the full progress of his recovery.”
“We call on all Christians and indeed all God-fearing Nigerians to dedicate time of prayers for our President and the nation. We owe our leaders prayers and support at all times while shunning divisive opinions that only generate strive,” Mr. Samuel said.
In its statement, the JNI called on Muslim clerics to lead special prayers for the health of President Muhammadu Buhari at Friday Jumaat prayers,
“We call on all Jumu’ah Imams to include the matter in their respective Friday sermons tomorrow and beyond. Because in prayers we find consolation,” the organisation said in a statement on Thursday from Kaduna by its Secretary General, Abubakar Khalid.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had reiterated the federal government’s stance that President Buhari is not sick, despite seeking an extended medical vacation.
The presidency and Senate President Bukola Saraki had also dismissed rumours that some governors were mounting pressure on Mr. Osinbajo to step down as acting president.
The JNI condemned any call for the resignation of Mr. Osinbajo, saying “whatever the intent may be, we see such calls as callous, mischievous and unpatriotic.
“Moreover, why must that vacuum be created now, if not for sinister motives?” the group said in the statement by Mr. Khalid.
CAN had also called on Nigerians to give Mr. Osinbajo full support and prayers to lead well.
“We acknowledge that government is a continuum, hence, we call on Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to be bold in handling critical state matters and not to be distracted by those who do not wish Nigeria well,” the Christian body said.
In its statement, the JNI cautioned Muslims against joining the bandwagon of “rumour mongers and unpatriotic elements wishing the President dead”.
“Interestingly, those who wish him death will certainly not live till eternity. Aren’t we supposed to wish each other well-being, let alone, the President of the country?”
Describing as unnecessary the controversy over the delay in Mr. Buhari’s return to Nigeria, the group implored Nigerians, “particularly Muslims to persistently supplicate on daily basis for his safe return, restoration of good health and piloting Nigeria to greater heights with his team.
“It should, however, be noted that as with every mortal, illness is inevitable, likewise life and death. Thus, JNI is very concerned about the pandemonium over the President and the dimension it is unfortunately taking. Does that mean he can no longer get ill?
“We must as patriots be cautioned on spreading inaccurate information”, the JNI stated.
President Buhari had on Sunday written to the Senate to extend his 10-day medical vacation. The Senate later confirmed to reporters the extension was indefinite as the president did not indicate his return date.