President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians, particularly Muslim faithful to follow" shining examples of non-violence, peaceful disposition and remarkable virtues of patience" exhibited by Prophet Muhammed.
A statement issued on Sunday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said the President stated this in his Eid-el-Maulud message to Nigerians.
President Buhari said: "Putting into practice the great virtues for which the Holy Prophet Muhammad is historically famous and revered would have a far greater impact on changing our attitudes and behaviour than the best sermons.
"The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, the kidnapping of female students and forcing them into marriage and conversion is contrary to 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.
"There is an urgent need for increased vigilance by Muslims in order to frustrate and stop the spread of violent ideologies that are causing human havocs and tragedies around the world.
"Extremism is like cancer that needs to be attacked in its early stages before it grows malignantly out of control and harms the society."
The President also advised Muslims not to allow their children to be lured and recruited by extremists who would ultimately destroy their lives and future. (NAN)