To those issuing ultimatum to other ethnic groups living in their community, President Muhammadu Buhari this morning issued a stern warning.
Every Nigerian has a right to live anywhere in the country.
The President, who returned from 103-day medical vacation in London on Saturday, told Nigerians in a broadcast that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.
While he was away, a group of Arewa youths issued an October 1 ultimatum to southeasterners living in the North to quit or face eviction.
The President said this morning: “Every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance.
“I believe the very vast majority of Nigerians share this view.
“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.”
He added: “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 President said: “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.”
He recalled his encounter with the leader of the failed Biafra Republic, the late Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in 2003. “After I joined partisan politics, the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown Daura. Over two days we discussed in great depth till late into the night and analysed the problems of Nigeria. We both came to the conclusion that the country must remain one and united.”
Buhari went on: “I am charging the security agencies not to let the successes achieved in the last 18 months be a sign to relax.
“Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety.
“Therefore we are going to reinforce and reinvigorate the fight not only against;
“Elements of Boko Haram which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets
“.Kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes, in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers. We shall tackle them all.
“Finally, dear Nigerians, our collective interest now is to eschew petty differences and come together to face common challenges of; economic security, political evolution and integration as well as lasting peace among all Nigerians.
“I remain resolutely committed to ensuring that these goals are achieved and maintained. I am so glad to be home.”
The President thanked Nigerians for the support and prayers.
“I am very grateful to God and to all Nigerians for their prayers. I am pleased to be back on home soil among my brothers and sisters.
“In the course of my stay in the United Kingdom, I have been kept in daily touch with events at home. Nigerians are robust and lively in discussing their affairs, but 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.”