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Northern Elders blasts presidency’s reaction to ‘fake news’, of call for secession

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has slammed the Presidency’s claims that it is pressuring a section of Nigerians to leave the country as false.

According to the organization, all Nigerians have the right to pursue their ambitions.

In a statement released Tuesday night, NEF spokesperson Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed clarified the situation.

He said, “The attention of Northern Elders Forum has been drawn to a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President on Media, claiming that the Forum has released a statement instigating a section of Nigeria to leave the country.

“Malam Garba Shehu’s statement did not quote a single word in the ‘statement’, and did not mention its signatory or its date.

“As a former journalist, he must know that no self-respecting journalist will take this statement seriously. His statement was entirely a monologue castigating the Forum over fiction which only he can understand.

“The Forum believes in the rights of all Nigerians to live in peace and aspire to their dreams.It believes in the utility and desirability of a united and strong Nigeria which will meet the aspirations of all citizens.

“When the Forum made comments in the past about the challenges to our union, security or governance, it always did so openly and in a responsible manner.

“It is baffling to see this unfair attribution from the Presidency, at a time when calm nerves are needed, and statesmanship should be on display.

“The Northern Elders Forum restates that it made no such release, and advises leaders to note the very sensitive times in which we live at the moment.”

Earlier, the Presidency condemned the reported call by Northern Elders Forum asking a section of the country to be excluded from Nigeria.

Read also: ‘Your opposition to zoning in 2023 may kill Nigeria,’ Southern and Middle Belt leaders warn Northern elders

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made the condemnation in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, it was a delusional arrogance that will lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of Nigeria.

The statement read in part: “We are aware of the latest statement from the so-called “Northern Elders Forum.”

He said: “We wish to reassure Nigerians that it remains their democratically elected leadership which takes the decisions that steer our nation – and no one else.

“No self-appointed and unelected group can take this right from Nigerians – no matter how much coverage they may enjoy in the media. Nigerians listen to elected leaders, not opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.”

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