Abuja — Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Tuesday met with some Northern leaders in the Presidential Villa, Abuja and strongly warned against making hate and divisive speeches capable of snowballing into a conflagration.
The acting president, who said the federal government was committed to the course of unity and peace of Nigeria, said anyone caught in the web of offensive and divisive speech would be made to feel the full weight of the law.
The meeting, which was a follow-up to his earlier meeting at the weekend with service chiefs when he instructed them to ensure adequate protection of lives and property of Nigerians, was attended by Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
Also present at the meeting were the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin; Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Comassie; a member of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi; and a former Sokoto State governor, Aliyu Wamako.
Others were a former deputy governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen; Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Ndah-Isaiah; a Northern elder, Paul Unongo; Air Vice Marshall Muktar Ahmad; Chairman, Liberty Radio/ Television, Tijani Ramalan; and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust Newspaper, Dan Ali, among others.
The meeting marked the beginning of the acting president’s scheduled separate meetings with Northern and South- eastern leaders over the recent ultimatum issued by a coalition of Northern youths to the people of South-east to vacate the North by October 1 or face dire consequences, and the equally divisive response by groups in the South- east region, including pro-Biafra agitators.
Osinbajo will meet with South-east leaders Wednesday and Northern emirs over the matter on Friday.
The acting president, who said he knew that misunderstandings and frustrations might arise among the people, was swift to add that such situations must be carefully managed to ensure they don’t degenerate into a monumental crisis.
He said those who had witnessed war in the past would dread the same experience, even for their worst enemies, insisting that this was not the time for anyone to play the ethnic card.
Noting that hate and divisive statements could lead to violence and destruction of human lives and property, the acting president vowed that anyone who resorts to making volatile speeches capable of plunging the nation into sedition or violence would be adequately dealt with.
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