Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said there is urgent need to address the present agitations and proclamations in the country decisively because they cannot be tolerated.
He stated this at a meeting with leaders of thought from the South East at the Old Banquet Hall’s State House, Abuja, on Wednesday, which was part of the consultative meeting he started on Tuesday with leaders of thought from the North over the Arewa youths quit notice order for all Igbo in the North to vacate the region on or before October 1, 2017.
The northern youths claimed the order was in response to the sit-at-home order by separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other groups in the South-East, which Igbo people obeyed.
But speaking with the Igbo leaders, Osinbajo said the reason the proclamations and agitations will not be tolerated is that “the very many innocent men, women, children and the vulnerable amongst us deserves safety and security and our own emotions must not be allowed to run wild in such a way as to endanger the lives of so many”.
Osinbajo went further to say, “Yesterday I kicked off a series of consultations and engagements with Leaders of Thought from the northern states of Nigeria. It was a very useful meeting and today’s meeting is the second in the series with you, the Leaders of Thought from the Southeast.
“After this, I will meet with religious and traditional leaders again from the Southeast and on Monday I will be meeting with religious leaders also from the North. And then in the final consultations next week, I will be meeting both with state governors and finally with all of the groups that I have met with from the North, the South and we’ll be joined I hope then, by the governors also and we all hopefully be in the same room for further engagement and consultations.”
According to the acting president, the consultations are extremely necessary, and important, especially because of the recent events in “our country and I’m sure that most of us have followed this quite closely.”
He added, “You are all aware that there have been loud and sometimes hostile agitations by young people in the Southeast calling for secession from Nigeria. And then there was the recent ultimatum issued by a group of young people also from the North, asking all persons of Southeast origin living in the North to leave by October 1 this year.
“Both of these expressions and agitations from both sides, have been attended with some controversial and very hateful approach including patently illegal and violence-inducing remarks.
“I firmly believe that we ought to address these agitations and proclamations urgently and decisively. Burying our heads in the sand and expecting the storm to blow over of their own accord is not an option.”
He said falling for the temptation for any kind of tit-for-tat whether in the use of language or other kinds of gestures as being expressed will never lead to a peaceful or sensible resolution.
“In our bid, as government, to deal with these pressing issues and grievances, that we’ve convened these series of consultations, with various groups. It’s the right and responsible thing I think for us as leaders not to shy away from the responsibility to ensure and uphold peace and security in our country.
“And it’s my view that the responsible role of those of us who are privileged to be leaders in our society is to chart progressive and lofty courses for our people, for the ordinary people. As leaders, we carry the burden to secure the peace, progress and prosperity of our people. And that is why our voices ought to be heard and heard loud and clear at moments like this in the defense and articulation of what is truly beneficial to the nation and the people, and what is right and patriotic,” he said.
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