Vice-President Kashim Shettima has apologised for asking lawmakers to elect a Christian Senate President for the 10th National Assembly.
Ahead of the election, Shettima said: “Under the current dispensation, the worst incompetent Southern Christian is better than the most puritanical Northern Muslim for the Presidency of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
His comments stirred up controversy and outrage, especially on social media and among the Muslim community.
However, speaking with BBC Hausa, Shettima insisted his comments were misinterpreted and that he had no intention of defaming his religion.
He said, “The comment I made is for the benefit of Nigeria but was misinterpreted. I received confidential intelligence reports that are not suitable for public disclosure.
“I sincerely did not have any intention to cause harm to any individual or the Islamic religion. However, being an imperfect human being, I seek forgiveness from the community and from my Lord. I pledge that I will never reiterate such words again, as I am a devout Muslim, and my family lineage has faithfully followed the path of Islam for more than 1,400 years.
“To anyone who was hurt by my statement, I apologise, as it was never my intention to disparage any religion.”
Godswill Akpabio, a Christian from Akwa-Ibom North-West, has since been elected as Senate President.