Nigeria’s Unity Not Negotiable, Buhari Tells Biafra Agitators
• Warns Against Divisive Protests
IN apparent reference to various agitations for dismemberment of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that his government would not fold its arms and watch some individuals or groups threaten the unity of Nigeria.
The President used the occasions of the investiture of the Obi of Onitsha, Dr. Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, as Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and graduation ceremony at the Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos to make his feelings public.
He noted that despite challenges posed by insurgency and economic downturn, Nigeria is on the rise again, warning that the sanctity of the unity of the country will not be a subject of debate and will not be compromised.
While maintaining that his government is already tackling the several security challenges that have hindered the progress and overall national development of the country, Buhari noted that protests and agitations must follow due process, if they are patriotic and reasonable.
“I, therefore, sound a note of warning that the corporate existence of Nigeria is not negotiable,” he declared, assuring that the current security situation in the country, occasioned by the activities of insurgents in northern parts of the country will soon be a thing of the past.
Buhari, who admitted the numerous challenges facing Nigerian universities, said his administration would surmount them. The problems would be addressed, he stressed, with the coming on board of the new Minister of Education.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the President told the gathering at Kuru that sustainable security and the socio-economic well being of Nigerians will continue to be among his administration’s priorities.
“Boko Haram’s terrorism, as well as their ideology, will soon be defeated and consigned to history. This is both fact and the moral logic of history that good will ultimately be victorious over evil. We are rapidly degrading their defensive and offensive capabilities and their end is near,” he said.
To those agitating for the dismemberment of the country, the President urged them to submit to peaceful and democratic means of expressing themselves saying, “your right to protest is limited by the rights of others to safety and peaceful existence. We can offer our contrary opinions without violating the law of the land or threatening law and order.”
Chancellor of ABU, Zaria, Achebe, in his address at the investiture said Nigeria, as a nation, has lost its bearing, noting: “If not changed, our mindset will frustrate every measure by the present administration to redress the economic decline.”
The Chancellor explained that the current situation facing Nigeria as a country calls for a serious and radical approach towards putting the country on the right path.
“The current efforts by the present administration to reset our economic bearings and improve on our wellbeing must be accompanied by a national crusade at restoring and reasserting our core value as a nation,” Achebe said.
The monarch pointed out that “road construction in Nigeria today is more expensive than most parts of the world, yet the roads are breaking down faster than we build them because the traditional mode of heavy haulage, namely railway, pipelines and waterways are comatose.”
He disclosed that “a trailer load of petroleum product from Mushin in Lagos to Maiduguri causes more damage to our roads than the value of the product being transported”, even as he lamented that the diversion of the so-called bailout loans for recurrent expenditure means that future generations are being inflicted with the burden of the profligacy of the current generation.
The Obi of Onitsha challenged universities in the country as centers of learning “to engage our national challenges and be sufficiently strong and dynamic to effectively do so”, since according to him, “education and learning are not an end but a means to achieving a better world and future for our children.”
Earlier, the ABU Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba, said that by the investiture of the Obi of Onitsha as seventh Chancellor of ABU, Zaria, the institution has gone further “to deepen this unique character of the university as a symbol of peaceful coexistence and unity of Nigerians despite our contemporary challenges.”