The Presidency said on Tuesday said on Tuesday President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would not allow the citizens’ right to freely express personal or regional views to undermine the country’s unity.
The presidency in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, commended security and intelligence forces over the recent arrest and extradition of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and recovery of cache of arms from the residence of Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho.
It said the Buhari administration respects the right of citizens to freely express their views and opinions on major national issues.
Kanu was arrested by security agents on June 27 while the Department of State Services (DSS) recovered seven AK-47 rifles and 5000 rounds of ammunition among others during an early morning raid on Igboho’s residence In Ibadan, Oyo State, last Thursday.
The agency had since declared the self-professed Yoruba freedom fighter wanted for alleged illegal possession of arms.
The statement read: “Last week, we saw the enhanced collaboration of the Nigerian Law Enforcement Agencies, as they executed with great synchronization arrests of individuals who had inflicted pain and hardships on fellow citizens.
“The subversive leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a group known for its murderous actions and virulent messaging was detained as a result of cross-border cooperation.
“This international operation was executed in a closely coordinated fashion following which he was handed over to our National Intelligence Agency, and then returned to Nigeria to face the law.
“The violence inspired by IPOB has led to hundreds of fatalities, particularly targeted at government assets and law enforcement agents.
“Additionally, there have been at last count, fifty five (55) separate violent attacks, heavily concentrated in the South-East, which heaped further hardship on our honest and hardworking citizens, preventing them from earning their livelihood and going about their normal lives.
“The government had long been monitoring the activities of IPOB and had strong cause to believe that their funding sources include proceeds of suspected illicit criminal activities. By this singular action of our security forces, sanity, calm and peace has been returned to our communities who previously lived in constant fear of these misguided elements.
“In furtherance of continued diligent work, the State Security Service on Thursday, 1st July raided the residence of a militant ethnic secessionist, who has also been conducting acts of terror and disturbing the peace under the guise of protecting fellow ‘kinsmen.’
“His seditious utterances and antics, which he is known to have publicly expressed, have overtime morphed into very hateful and vile laden speeches.
“It must be highlighted that the government respects fundamental rights of citizens to express their views and recognizes this as a democratic tenet. However, any attempt to build an armoury, coupled with plans either subtle or expressed, to undermine our unity as a nation will not be condoned.
“Mr. President’s directives to security services regarding anyone seen to be carrying arms, particularly AK-47, are clear and require no further illumination. Assault weapons are not tools of peace loving people and as such, regardless of who they are and where they are from, the security agencies should treat them all the same.
“The successes of our security agencies must be commended as they have demonstrated significant deftness, guile and secrecy in carrying out these missions.
“This level of professionalism must be sustained and brought to bear as we focus on extracting from our society those who have found a new trade in targeting students, rural dwellers and our citizens in the Northwest. The nation recognizes their efforts and sacrifice.”
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