Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari who returned to the country at the weekend says he is back to tackle forces threatening the country’s unity as this is not negotiable.
The 74-year-old Former Military ruler, read the riot act in his Monday morning broadcast to the nation on what to expect going forward, stating that his government will deal with those fuelling calls for the disintegration of the country.
In his broadcast, the President also said since the national consensus is that it is better to live together than to live apart he has
ordered the security agencies to be on the alert to handle not just the activities of terrorists and criminal or elements of Boko Haram but issues of ethnic violence fuelled by mischief makers.
“Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable. We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood.
“Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety. Therefore we are going to reinforce and reinvigorate the fight not only against; elements of Boko Haram which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets; kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes; in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers. We shall tackle them all” Buhari who is known for his military stance to issues said.
Buhari returned to the country on Saturday from a medical vacation in London where he spent 104 days receiving treatment for a yet to be disclosed ailment. In his absence, agitations for secession by parts of the country and restructuring heightened. The Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu, have also been agitating for a secession despite having been released after almost two years of incarceration for the same reason.
“In the course of my stay in the United Kingdom, I have been kept in daily touch with events at home. Nigerians are robust and lively in discussing their affairs, but I was distressed to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media have crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. This is a step too far” he said.
He recalled discussions with the late Emeka Ojukwu who visited him in his hometown of Daura in 2003 after he joined partisan politics. He said for over two days they discussed and analyzed in great depth the problems of Nigeria and came to the conclusion that “the country must remain one and united”.
In an obvious response to calls by the Arewa Youth group asking Igbos to leave the North by October 1st and counter call by groups in the South East, Buhari clearly stated that every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without any hindrance.
“I believe the very vast majority of Nigerians share this view,” he said adding that though there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation are that it allows different groups to air their grievances and workout a mode of co-existence.
“The National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse” he added urging Nigerians to eschew petty differences and come together to face common challenges of; economic security, political evolution, and integration as well as lasting peace among all Nigerians”.
Thanking Nigerians for their prayers he said he was pleased to be back home and will remain committed to ensuring that “these goals are achieved and maintained. I am so glad to be home”.
Buhari returned to a rousing welcome on Saturday even as expectations for him to quickly settle down and tackle issues on the ground, especially those capable of throwing the country into political or economic crisis, peaked.
Elizabeth Archibong, Abuja