SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said governors of the 36 states of the federation have a huge role to play in ensuring peace and security in their respective domains.
Osinbajo spoke to the states chief executives at the State House Conference Centre in furtherance of his consultative meetings with various interest groups, following the three months ultimatum handed to Igbo by some groups in the North to relocate from the region.
The ultimate was in reaction to the agitation for a Biafran State by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Acting President had met separately with leaders of thought and traditional rulers from both the North and the South East in the past week.
Declaring that leaders in the country should show greater unity of purpose, Osinbajo warned them against playing politics with issues of security.
He said the Federal Government is committed to working with the states to ensure peace and security and to continuously assure Nigerians of the safety in all parts of the country.
He noted that the issues facing the country currently are centred on unity in diversity, adding that “we need to handle the issues carefully,” even as he pointed out that they have been occasionally exploited by politicians for selfish reasons.
Osinbajo emphasized the need for use of moderate language in expressing agitations and grievances, saying that freedom of expression is not tantamount to call to anarchy through careless utterances.
“There has been worrying agitations in recent weeks from IPOB and the Arewa Youth’s ultimatum
“Its important that the responses and counter responses are put in proper perspectives. Clearly, we are all allowed to express our views, but we must ensure that even in the use of words we are careful and responsible. We must not allow careless expressions that will degenerate into conflagration,” Osinbajo stated.
The Acting President announced to the governors that the consultative meetings earlier held had agreed that Nigeria’s unity should not be taken for granted.
He said there was also a unanimous agreement by stakeholders that the leadership of the country should do everything possible to avoid bloodshed and violence arising from the current agitations.
Osinbajo equally noted that there was consensus among participants that the constitutionally guaranteed freedom and equality of all citizens should be upheld and respected, and that any attempt to dislocate any Nigerian from any part of the country will not be tolerated, adding that the country’s sovereignty and insolubility is not negotiable.
Accordingly, he advised that leaders should not condone hateful or divisive speeches, even as government will do everything possible to productively engage the youths in the country to prevent them from being used as tools for perpetrating violence.
He urged them to also speak out forcefully and promptly against any kind of divisive speech without waiting to be prompted.
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