From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda, making a passionate appeal afterwards to Nigerians to be tolerant and embrace peace.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari toured the permanent exhibitions at the Memorial and laid a wreath at the mass graves where more than 250,000 victims of the genocide were buried.
He also paid tribute to the memory of the victims and prayed for healing for the survivors.
After the historic visit, he told journalists that the lessons from his visit were the need for Nigerians to continue to be tolerant of one another, and for the nation to also preserve its own historical antecedents from the Nigeria Civil War (1967-1970).
‘‘I went through all the experiences from 15 January 1966 to date. I was a Governor, Minister, and Head of State and went through detention. I returned to partisan politics and will finish my two terms as constitutionally allowed.
‘‘We fought a 30-month bitter civil war and we killed about a million of each other. Nigeria went through this kind of terrible development process,’’ he said.
Before departing, the President also wrote in the visitors’ book: “Remembering the victims of this dark history of the Rwanda Genocide, we pray that humanity will never experience this kind of hatred, wickedness and violence to others because of their ethnic background, religion and beliefs.
‘‘Nigeria is strongly committed to the prevention of mass atrocity anywhere in the world and believes that perpetrators of such crimes; and their enablers, anywhere in the world must be held accountable.”
President Buhari is in Kigali, Rwanda to participate in the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
He will hold bilateral talks with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson on Thursday and attend the official opening of CHOGM on Friday, followed by high-level meetings of Heads of State and Government.