Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday urged Muslims in the country to shun violent extremism by following the peaceful examples laid down by Prophet Muhammad.

President Buhari’s call was contained in his Eid el-Maulud message released through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu.

According to the statement, Buhari cited the killing of innocent people, kidnapping of female students and forcing young women into forced marriages as some of the extremist behaviour that the Muslim Ummah must end.

“The greatest honour Muslims could do the Prophet Muhammad is to follow his shining examples of non-violence, peaceful disposition and remarkable virtues of patience”, the statement quoted the President as saying.

“The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, the kidnapping of female students and forcing them into marriage and conversion is contrary to the teachings and personal examples of the Prophet Muhammad.

“Violent extremism is the single biggest challenge facing the image of Islam today which has been hijacked by a minority of misguided elements, who are using religion to cover-up their criminal agenda.

“Extremism is like a cancer that needs to be attacked in its early stages before it grows malignantly out of control and harm society,” the statement read.