Apparently referring to the recent comment of the former Minister of Defence, Gen Theophilus Danjuma, asking Nigerians to defend themselves on the ground of alleged complicity of the military in the killings of Nigerians, the Presidency has appealed to prominent Nigerians, who have national influence, to use their influence wisely and not continue to engage in public declarations that are likely to inflame emotional passions and threaten national security.
According to the Presidency, the development is capable of encouraging criminal gangs to feel justified in defying legal governing and democratic institutions, and authority of legitimately elected democratic government if unrestrained pronouncements are made.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated this in a statement made available on Saturday.
He added that though silence could be dignified, it could be misinterpreted and exploited.
Citing the comment of Danjuma on the need for Nigerians to defend themselves, Shehu said, “It is both shocking and scary to hear the recent comments by a senior citizen calling for Nigerians to defend themselves.
The Presidency further commended the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability, despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilize the country and government for their selfish reasons.
The statement reads in part, “What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organized, trained and equipped military?
“We advise former leaders to take advantage of the various fora where people with a history of national security can offer advice to the government without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments.
The civil war motto: “To Keep Nigeria One Is A Task a That Must Be Done” , rings very timely at this time in our nation’s history. We must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia.”