…As DSS warns hate campaigners
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has warned that persons agitating for secession and the northern groups that issued ultimatum to Ndigbo risked jail terms as they violated Nigeria’s laws, adding that the Federal Government would not tolerate any act that could drag in the direction of another civil conflict.
Osinbajo gave the warning at a consultative meeting with traditional rulers from the South-East at the Presidential Banquet Hall, Abuja, on Sunday.
He said that the manner of the agitations, method and objective were wrong, unlawful and clearly violated the nation’s Constitution.
He said: “I want to repeat that both the agitations for secession and the ultimatum to leave the northern states are wrong and a violation of our Constitution.
“Our Constitution says in Section 2 that Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name `The Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
“That is the law of our country. Let us not be in any doubt about the fact that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that our country remains united.
“And, anyone who violates the law in the manner such as we are seeing all over the place will be met with the full force of the law.
“The reason why it is so is because for Nigeria’s unity, enough blood has been spilled and many hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost.’’
The acting president recalled that many Nigerians had paid the supreme price to keep the country united, saying that “it will be wrong for men and women of goodwill in this generation to toy with those sacrifices that had been made’’.
He, therefore, maintained that men of goodwill must not tolerate any tendency that would drag the nation in the direction of yet another civil conflict.
He, however, said that the government and people “must be sensitive to the reasons why there are agitations by the various young men across the various zones of this country.
“Many have to do with perceived marginalization; some have argued that safety in the different zones has been compromised.
“But I want to say the only way to make things right is to do things right. And, it will be wrong of us to approach even our grievances by threatening to disobey the laws or by threatening the integrity of our nation,’’ he added.
Osinbajo reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to listening to “all the reasons, the various suggestions and the various agitations and the reasons for those agitations and to ensure that we do justice to all persons regardless of where you are from in this country.
“That is the commitment of Federal Government which I am able to make to you today.
“Our greatness lies in our being together and I believe very strongly that as our royal fathers you will ensure the message is clear to all.’’
He added that the greatness of any people lay in their ability to work together in spite of their differences and the types of offence that had been caused between each other.
The acting president expressed the hope that royal fathers would continue to offer useful suggestions and the right advice to ensure that the country remained united.
Osinbajo will meet with the traditional rulers from the northern part of the country on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Department of State Services (DSS) has warned Arewa Youths, Niger Delta Watchdogs and other groups who are stroking the drum beat of war through hate campaigns to desist from such acts or be prepared to face the full weight of the law.
The DSS gave the warning on Sunday in a statement signed by Tony Opuiyo, adding that it has commenced investigation to get the perpetrators of these hate campaigns as well as their sponsors.
The statement further went on to state that at the appropriate time all those involved in these condemnable acts will be unmasked and decisively dealt with in line with the laws of the land.
The agency said “it will stop at nothing to deploy all resources at its disposal to identify and deal with all those culpable, as well as maintain peace and order in every length and breadth of the Nation.”
The statement reads: “The Department of State Services (DSS) has watched with keen interest the disturbing trend desperate and mischievous elements have tended to steer the ship of our nationhood to calamity and irretrievable destruction.
“Only recently, the Arewa Youths in a press statement called for the relocation of the Igbos from the North.
“Unfortunately, this development has been followed by a release from an unknown source styled, Niger Delta Watchdogs, threatening all Northerners to quit Niger Delta region.
“Meanwhile, another group went to the extent of harvesting from the internet, a horrific accident scene, for the purpose of making it look like a site of massacre of Igbo ethnic group by Northern youths.
“However, the Service has been able to establish that the purported murder scene being depicted as a field of massacre was a high casualty accident scene which occurred along Owo-Akure road, Ondo State, on 3rd March, 2016.
“Those involved in these misleading and despicable acts have since been warned to desist from anything capable of causing disaffection and stoking nationwide tensions.
“Consequently, the Service, in line with its statutory mandate of ensuring the internal security of the country, wishes to inform the public that it will stop at nothing to deploy all resources at its disposal to identify and deal with all those culpable, as well as maintain peace and order in every length and breadth of the Nation.
“To this effect, it warns, in very clear terms, all those who are charting the course of disunity among Nigerians to desist from their divisive actions. The Service is also not oblivious of the efforts of some miscreants to ignite fear and cause ethnic tensions across the country. It strongly condemns in its entirety the call for relocation of anyone to places against their wishes. Such relocation order is not only illegal, but it is strongly viewed to be against the spirit of our Constitution which allows for freedoms of movement and association among others.
“The DSS, therefore, frowns at the tendency some ethnic chauvinists easily and cheaply resort to hate speeches, misinformation and total manipulation of information especially on the social media simply to fan the embers of discord and subvert the efforts of government in implementing its policies for the good of everyone.
“Well-meaning and law-abiding citizens and residents are enjoined to disregard persuasions by these tribal jingoists to make our beloved country a theatre of the absurd and bloodletting. It is time for us, Nigerians, to show our humanness and patriotism which have been our defining strength as one united indivisible nation.
“The Service has already commenced a detailed investigation to get the perpetrators of these hate campaigns as well as their sponsors. At the appropriate time, all those involved in these condemnable acts will be unmasked and decisively dealt with in line with the laws of the land.
“The Service wants to reassure the entire populace that it will not leave any stone unturned to ensure that those who are bent on causing a breakdown of law and order are not spared”.