The Federal Government of Nigeria has accused some clerics of tactically encouraging the ouster of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement on Saturday, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, urged religious leaders to refrain from stoking the embers of hatred.
Mohammed warned that resorting to scorched-earth rhetoric could trigger unintended consequences.
“While religious leaders have a responsibility to speak truth to power, such truth must not come wrapped in anger, hatred, disunity and religious disharmony”, he noted.
The minister stressed that it is graceless and impious for any religious leader to use the period of Christmas to preach sectarian strife and national disunity.
“Calling for a violent overthrow of a democratically-elected government, no matter how disguised such a call is, and casting a particular religion as violent is not what any religious leader should engage in, and certainly not in a season of peace”, he said.
Mohammed added that instigating regime change outside the ballot box is not only unconstitutional but also an open call to anarchy.
He said while some religious leaders may not be able to disguise their national leadership preference, “they should refrain from stigmatizing the leader they have never supported anyway, using well-worn and disproved allegations of nepotism or whatever”.