President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall, referred to him as “Baba.”

Buhari, according to a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this while receiving the Tijjaniyya Muslim Religious Movement at the State House, Abuja.

President Buhari told leaders of the delegation, mostly Senegalese, to convey his best wishes to their President who fondly referred to him as “baba.”

The term “baba” is used in southwest Nigeria for an elderly man old enough to be one’s father.

He said: “Convey his best wishes to the Senegalese President, Macky Sall. I assure you that I am very close to your President. He addresses me as ‘Baba.’

He lauded the mutual understanding among Muslims and Christians in the country, saying his administration is determined to forge a strong, united nation from the diverse religious and ethnic communities in the country.

President Buhari said the Tijjaniyya religious order was not new to him or Nigerians and cited specific communities around him who practised its ways and commended them for being orderly, peaceful and constructive in their approach.

He added: “It is generally said that differences divide people. We in Nigeria understand that there is no way a misunderstanding can cause division among us. We are one people.

“The requirements of our people, whatever religion they follow, and to whatever the ethnic group they belong in Nigeria is the same.

‘‘They need security, education, and participation in an inclusive economy. On this, we are being very fair to all Nigerians.”

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