———–By Shedrack Onitsha ————–
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his Monday address the nation, dashed the hopes of those agitating for the restructuring of the country, stressing that the unity of Nigeria is settled and not negotiable.
Buhari who returned from London on Saturday, against the expectations of many Nigerians warned against inflammatory statements, saying that the government would no longer tolerate hate speeches and inflammatory statements.
In what appears as shifting of his responsibilities, the President said that the National Assembly and the National Council of State were the appropriate bodies for national discourse and to chart a course for Nigerians.
Buhari, who described those agitating for equity and justice in the county as irresponsible elements, noted that they have crossed national red lines by daring to question the collective existence of Nigeria as a nation.
According to him; “I was distressed to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media, have crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. This is a step too far.’’
“Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable. We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood.
“Every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance.
“This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence.
‘The National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse.
“The national consensus is that, it is better to live together than to live apart.”
The President expressed dismay at the resurgence of Boko Haram after a successful 18 months battle against the insurgents.
He therefore, directed that terrorists and criminals should be fought and destroyed.
He said the government would reinforce and reinvigorate the fight against insurgents and other criminals and criminalities.
Buhari also scorned the high level of kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes, in addition to ethnic violence fueled by political mischief makers.
“We shall tackle them all,’’ he said.
He called on Nigerians to come together to face common challenges of economic, security, political evolution and integration and to build a lasting peace.