Nigeria’s unity not negotiable, Buhari insists


Following insecurity and other challenges in the nation’s polity, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable, urging Nigerians to go about their lawful businesses without fear of the unknown.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said President Buhari gave the charge yesterday, after his Chief of Staff (COS), Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, led him to brief the President on suspension of the strike and supply of foodstuffs and cattle to the South by the Amalgamated Union of Food and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AFUCDN).

Speaking with newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, Bello, who commended efforts to resolve the crisis said: “Mr. President expressed concern over insecurity in the land. As the Commander-in-Chief, he assured that Nigeria would be secured, safe and prosperous.

“He urged Nigerians to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation and that the country’s unity is non-negotiable, that Nigeria must be united, peaceful and prosperous.”

On the likelihood that other parts of the country could tow the line of AFUCDN and make similar demands, Bello said: “As regards the strike and efforts to ensure that it does not happen again, the union made demands, which have to do with compensation for life and property lost.

“Because these people never requested that government should give them subvention for their personal wealth and income and they are doing their lawful businesses. But some criminal elements took it upon themselves to hijack the process, kill them and destroyed their property worth billions of naira.

“They demanded that the Federal Government should do something and remember they have gone round the country, met various groups and they never received any attention. Hence, they embarked on the strike.

“They are demanding that the extortions on the roads, starting from law enforcement agencies and touts be stopped. And Mr. President has directed that all law enforcement agencies should ensure that traders should not be extorted on the road again.”

Bello said President Buhari stressed that the Federal Government could not afford to allow the country to snowball into civil war again, as Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe and tongue were interwoven and inseparable through marriages, business, politics, and other creeds.

“Nigeria is so interconnected that we shouldn’t allow a few bad elements, however, lowly or highly placed to divide us again, it is not possible.

“So, I think, if the Federal Government takes responsibility and attend to it, such strikes will not take place again,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Bello declared that he would not hesitate to take up higher responsibility whenever the opportunity presented itself, adding that those urging him to contest the Presidency in 2023 were exercising their constitutional rights.

He refuted claims that that he was co-opted to mediate in the crisis following the food embargo by aggrieved northern traders under the auspices of AFUCDN, to oil his Presidential ambition and give him mileage ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The Guardian recalled that Bello and former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode led the union to request for President Buhari’s intervention on the issues leading to the recent food blockage imposed on the South.

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