Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has suggested that Nigeria be divided into separate Muslim and Christian states to prevent future sectarian violence.
Libya's JANA news agency reported Tuesday that Mr. Gadhafi made the remarks at a meeting in Tripoli with African student leaders, some of them from Nigeria.
He said a partition of Nigeria would save the lives of Muslims and Christians and prevent the destruction of mosques and churches.
Nigeria has experienced periodic bouts of Muslim-Christian violence, most often in the central city of Jos. The most recent incident occurred March 7, when Muslim herders killed hundreds of people in mainly Christian villages.
The country of about 150 million is split almost evenly between the two religions.
Mr. Gadhafi recently completed a year-long term as head of the African Union and frequently portrays himself as a leader and adviser of the continent.
He says Nigeria's situation resembles that of the Indian peninsula before 1947, at which point that region was split into predominantly Muslim Pakistan and mainly Hindu India.
The Libyan leader suggested northern Nigeria be a Muslim state with Abuja as the capital, while southern Nigeria be a Christian state with a capital of Lagos. He urged former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to lead efforts for a Christian state.
Mr. Gadhafi said any partition of land and resources should happen through agreement, not bloodshed.