Osinbajo Talks Tough

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has read the riot act to trouble makers, warning that any attempt to disrupt the peace in the country would be met with the full wrath of the law.

Osinbajo spoke, yesterday, shortly after he went into a closed-door meeting with foremost leaders of thought from the north against the backdrop of the three-month-quit notice handed to South-Easterners by Arewa youths to ship out of their region, and other secessionists agitations across the country.

“As a government, we are determined to ensure the unity of the country along the lines of our constitution, and I want to say that hate and divisive speeches or divisive behaviours will be met with the full force of the law.

“And I want to ensure that there is no doubt at all that it is the resolve of the government that none will be allowed to get away with making speeches that can cause sedition or violence, especially because when we make these kinds of pronouncement and do things that can cause violence or destruction of lives and property, we are no longer in control. Those who make those speeches are no longer in control.

“So, I want to emphasise that government will take very seriously, any attempt to cause violence or disrupt the peace of this country. And that is very important because you cannot control violence once it begins.”

The Acting President said some Nigerians might think that the statement by the youths should be ignored, “but I think it should be addressed quickly, especially from leaders of thoughts who have seen it all.

“Every form of violence, every form of hate speech, any stone that is thrown in the market place, will hit targets that are going to be deadly. So, I need us to be fully conscious of that, and the Nigerian people must be made to be fully conscious of that so that we do not create a crisis that is not intended.

“As part of living together, I know that misunderstandings and frustrations will always arise and people will always want to get the best part of the deal, but we must be careful to recognise that we can only begin to talk about any part of anything if we are together in peace. These days, wars do not end and I am sure that those who have seen or experienced war in any shape or form will not wish it on their worst enemies.

“This is not a time to retreat behind ethnic lines. Moments like these are not for isolating ourselves. I want to urge all of us here and the entire Nigerian populace to come together and work together,” he declared.

Present at the meeting which started at 5p.m. were Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martins Luther Agwai and former IGP, Ibrahim Coomassie.

Also in attendance were Prof. Ango Abdullahi, former governor, Sokoto State, Aliyu Wammako, former deputy governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen, publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Ndah-Isaiah, Paul Unongo, AVM Murkar, chairman, Liberty Radio/Television, Tijani Ramalan, and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust, Dan Ali among others.

The meeting was the first in a series of consultations with leaders from both the northern and southern regions.
Presidency media aide, Laolu Akande, through his twitter handle, said Osinbajo was expected to first meet each group separately on different days this week and then meet them together afterwards.

Osinbajo, who expressed his gratitude to the elders for the impressive response despite the fact that it was an emergency meeting, disclosed that similar meetings have been scheduled with Igbo leaders today (Wednesday), that of leaders from the South-West has been scheduled for Friday and that of traditional leaders from north on Sunday.
He explained that those invited have witnessed landmark milestones in the country – some tragic and some joyous moments – and government was interested in getting the way forward from their suggestions.

Arewa youths group under the aegis of that Coalition of Northern Youths (CNY) had issued a three-month eviction notice to Igbo living in the 19 northern states. It was a response to the sit-at-home order enforced by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) on May 30, which the five South-east states complied with.
Osinbajo Talks Tough Osinbajo Talks Tough Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 Rating: 5

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