The Presidency yesterday reacted to the growing wave of secessionist agitations in some parts of the country, stating that President Muhammadu Buhari can neither be intimidated nor bullied into giving in to the threats of such agitators.
But the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, in a swift reaction, said continued separatist agitations by various ethnic groups under Buhari’s administration had never been this loud, compared with previous administrations that had governed the country.
Similarly, the Middle Belt Forum said secessionist agitations in the country were not intended to bully or intimidate President Buhari, but to ask him to change his ways and style of governance in order to keep the country united.
However, describing the secessionists as mercantile agents who were only out for pecuniary gains, the Presidency said President Buhari will not open the vaults to share free money with anyone.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated the government’s position yesterday in Abuja while giving a scorecard of the Buhari administration at an event organised by the All Progressives Congress, APC, Professional Forum at the national secretariat of the party.
He also dismissed calls for the convocation of a national conference, saying with an elected parliament in place, having such a conference was a non-issue. Shehu added that the Boko Haram terrorists are currently fighting for survival as the Federal Government had cut their supply chain.
“On the unity of this country and the calls for secession and the insinuation that the Presidency is not talking, the Presidency has been talking. And our position is that this country is one, is united, and by the grace of God will continue to be united.
“Look, one thing with this President and the National Secretary of the party has said a bit of that, you cannot intimidate Buhari; you cannot bully him.
A lot of these people who are calling for secession are the problem of this country and I am happy that reasonable opinion, reasonable voices are now rising. Is it not only yesterday we were reading Afenifere, the most credible faction of Afenifere saying they were not for secession? “Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said this over and over again. So this thing about secession is, they had used it in the past.
You create secession and break up Nigeria and then you intimidate the sitting leader and then he opens the vaults and brings money to settle people. “President Buhari will pay no one.
He is not going to pay and now, it is clear that having ignored all of that, reasonable opinions are coming from those states and from those regions. “Now, the thing about the South-East is part of the earlier conversation we just had now.
Criminals are fighting to gain the upper hand but I tell you that no criminal or terrorist is bigger than this country. None of them is mightier than our armed forces. “This structure has been there. They were certificated and praised for World War One, World War Two, they stabilized the entire West Africa region.
Without Nigeria, would there be Liberia in its present form? Would there be Sierra Leone in its present form, even Gambia? So just give it time and support and pray, we will win against these forces.
“The governors in the South-West, we have all heard them, they have denounced all of these things. So, it is a sham, Nigerians want to be one, they want to continue. Yes, there are problems and we are hoping that as people united and loving of one another, we will come together and solve our problem.