No country in the world enjoys religious tolerance, freedom of speech and political association as much as Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, CESJET, has said.

The centre in a strategic report on the state of the nation on Thursday ranked Nigeria as the most tolerant amongst other nations across the world.

In the report signed by its executive secretary, Isaac Ikpa, the CESJET revealed that the level of religious tolerance in the country is unprecedented and an indication of the numerous efforts of the Buhari administration in creating the enabling environment for Nigerians of different faith to co-exist.

The centre, which based its report on primary sources of data from individuals, groups and associations in sectors critical to the research work, also noted that freedom of speech and political association has received a massive boost in recent time.

This, it said, is despite the grand plot by disgruntled politicians and their foreign collaborators to undermine the current administration.

The report, however, assured that the country is on the path of greatness thanks to the unalloyed commitment of President Buhari in formulating and implementing policies that translate the hopes and aspirations of the ordinary Nigerians on the streets into tangible realities.

“The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency in a bid to assess the state of the nation under the Muhammadu Buhari administration undertook a critical assessment of some key indicators of democratic ideals in the country.

“In this report, importance was given to facts on the ground derived from first hand and primary sources. Emphasis was also placed on geographical spread to make a balanced judgment in the final analysis.

This report is consequently the outcome of a detailed and rigorous assessment of the issues surrounding religious tolerance, freedom of speech, and political association in Nigeria.

“In a bid to have a detailed outcome that would stand the test of time and put issues in proper perspectives, a data collection method with multilayer mechanism for screening was deployed by the team of researchers’ that combed the nook and crannies of Nigeria.

“It relied on primary sources of data derived from individuals, groups and associations in sectors critical to the research work. Material evidence was also gathered from credible secondary sources and analyzed by an independent team for accuracy.

“In Nigeria, there have been widespread criticisms of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in its commitment towards sustaining the ideals of democracy such as religious tolerance, freedom of speech and political association. It must be noted that the bulk of the narrative has been centred on conjectures, which, to a large extent, has contributed to disquiet in the country,” the report said.

On religious tolerance, the centre observed the fact that the issue evokes sentiments across the country, and that there is mutual suspicion amongst the major religious groups in the country, but pointed out that the perceived tension is a function of political intrigues with religion identified as the basis for the settling of political scores.

“In our assessment of religious tolerance in the country, it was observed that under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, there had been series of attempts to attribute disagreements between the major religious bodies to President Buhari himself. It was observed that most times, these insinuations are not substantiated by any verifiable facts.

“Our assessment also revealed that since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, there have been concerted efforts to rebuild trust amongst the country’s major religious groups after decades of hostilities. This fact was buttressed through extensive interactions with religious leaders whose opinion supports the fact that under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, the country has witnessed religious tolerance and the indicators for rebuilding trust are high,” it said.

Appraising the status of freedom of speech in Nigeria, CESJET noted that such is guaranteed for every citizen in the nation’s constitution, and has as much been practised in Nigeria over the years, adding that in its analysis of the Buhari administration, such right has never been stifled as speculated by some segments in the country.

“From our analysis, Nigerians have indeed expressed themselves feely since the advent of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. The bulk of the misgivings are hinged on unsubstantiated cases that were best pushed in the public space for mischief purposes,” it concluded.

 


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