President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed most of Nigeria's inter-communal and inter-religious violence on political, ethnic and religious leaders in the country.

While delivering his Democracy Day speech at the Eagle Square, Abuja on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, President Buhari said Nigerians desire to be united and live in peace and harmony but are exploited by leaders seeking personal gains.

He said, "Before and during my time in the Armed Forces and in government, I've interacted with Nigerians of all ages and persuasions and different shapes of opinions over a period of more than 50 years.

"And my firm belief is that our people, above all, want to live in peace and harmony with their fellow Nigerians. They desire opportunity to better themselves in a safe environment.

"Most of the instances of inter-communal and inter-religious strife and violence were and still are a result of sponsorship or incitement by ethnic, political, or religious leaders often to benefit by exploiting our divisions and fault lines, thereby weakening our country."

The president, who was sworn in for a second term last month, said his administration has made significant progress in fighting corruption, boosting the economy and securing the nation.

He noted that Nigeria possesses all the ingredients of a major economic power on the world stage and should be able to realise that potential as soon as it works up the will to get its acts together.