President Muhammadu Buhari has said while his administration shall continue to work on dialogue based solutions to address legitimate grievances, it will not hesitate to
take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten national security.
Buhari stated this on Friday morning in his nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 61 Independence anniversary.
The President also disclosed that sponsors of secession agitators and including a serving member of the National Assembly were being currently investigated by the security agencies.
He said: “In line with section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the security and welfare of Nigerians continue to be the prime focus on which programmes and projects of our government revolves.
“Therefore, as a Government, we are ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or action. Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.
“That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.
“I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances.
“The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words. Reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and destruction of properties.
“Such unfiltered and unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches by a few evil persons must be stopped. Our media houses and commentators must move away from just reporting irresponsible remarks to investigating the truth behind all statements and presenting the facts to readers.
“We must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled. At this point, I would want to sincerely appreciate the large number of our Traditional, Religious and Community leaders as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, in their various fora are openly spreading the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities.
“Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.
“We shall continue to work on dialogue based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.
“The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly.
“This is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
“As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.
“Government will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing.”
According to the President also, the past 18 months has been the most difficult in the nation’s history.
President Buhari also painted out that even the 30 months civil war the country experienced, perhaps did not pose as much challenged to the country.
“Fellow Nigerians, the past eighteen months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria. Since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period.
“Our original priorities for 2020 were to continue stabilising our economy following the deep recession while restoring peace in areas confronted with security challenges. But the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on all nations meant we needed to shift gears and re-strategise.
“Nigerians came together as one to fight against COVID-19. It is this attitude and by the special grace of God, we continue to survive the pandemic as a nation and indeed, provide leadership and example at regional and international levels.
“The doomsday scenario predicted for our country never came. Even as the Delta variant continues to spread, we have built the capacity we need to respond now and into the future,” he said.
On the ban on Twitter in the country by the federal government, the president disclosed this he has directed the lifting of the suspension but bemoaned the negative use into which the social media has been put by youths of the country.
“Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.
“As a country, we are committed to ensuring that digital companies use their platform to enhance the lives of our citizens, respect Nigeria’s sovereignty, cultural values and promote online safety,” the President said.
Buhari also expressed worry over the rising cost of good items in the country, saying he has directed the relevant ministries to take actions to halt the trend.q
He said: “@The Agricultural sector remains key to our economic diversification efforts as the sector has been a consistent driver of the non-oil sector contributing 22.35% and 23.78% to the overall GDP in the first and second quarter of 2021.
“@We have seen significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agricultural value chain. And these have continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.
“To address this, I am hereby directing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies, the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, and the National Assembly to find a lasting solution to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities.”