The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, held a meeting April 11 with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon. The two Anglican leaders were received by the president at Abuja House in London, Nigeria’s High Commission. A presidency spokesperson had earlier said that the president would be discussing “inter-religious harmony in Nigeria and the world” with the Archbishop, who was described as the president’s “good friend.”
Last month, Archbishop Justin offered to do what he could top contribute towards any peace negotiations in Nigeria as violence rises in parts of the country. And last year, Idowu-Fearon was chosen to lead a peace commission in Nigeria’s northwestern Kaduna State.
Speaking after the meeting, Archbishop Justin said: “It was an honour to meet President Buhari. We discussed the complex security situation in Nigeria and their government’s efforts to address it, and I offered support in seeking a sustainable solution to the herder-farmer conflict.
“I expressed deep concern about the suffering resulting from raids on Christian communities and villages as far south as Delta State. 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.
“I also raised the urgent situation of Leah Sharibu—the 14-year-old Dapchi Christian school girl still held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam—and urged the president to do everything possible to secure her release.
“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 the release of those still in captivity.
“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.
“Please join me in standing prayerfully with those suffering from the herder-farmer conflict, Boko Haram insurgency, and all those mourning the loss of loved ones. It’s so important that we pray for the peace and progress of Nigeria—and particularly for the liberating peace of Jesus to be with all those held in captivity.”
The meeting was one of several that Buhari will have in London ahead of next week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).