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.
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.”
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
FEATURE: Ogun residents, waste collectors trade blames, as refuse litter environment
TIJANI ABDULKABEER, a journalist from the University of Ibadan, during a recent trip to Sango Otta, Ogun State took a look...
INVESTIGATION: How online fraudsters siphon victims’ funds through ‘SportyBet’ platform
As Nigeria transits into a cashless society, the evolution also creates opportunities for internet scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting...
SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu govt watches as waste takes over state, threatens public health, environment
In this report, Arinze Chijioke looks at how delays in evacuation of waste in Enugu State encourages indiscriminate waste disposal, its health implications, and how...
SPECIAL REPORT: Illegal miners degrade Ekiti community, engage in child labour
The activities of illegal miners in a community in Ekiti State have caused degradation of the environment, as miners engage...
SPECIAL REPORT: Inside the illegal trading of forest woods in Cross River community
“With a N20,000 bribe, an external buyer can influence the youth in host communities , Cross River State, to cut...