Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has told secessionist militants operating in oil-rich Niger Delta region that the unity of the country remains non-negotiable on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo payed homage to him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari regretted that while the anti-terrorism war was being won, the restiveness in the Niger Delta region has resurfaced. The leading group is the Niger Delta Avengers and the group is demanding the implementation of the 2014 Confab Report and a free Niger Delta Republic.
General Buhari, however, expressed delight that his government had “made a lot of progress” in fighting terrorism in the north eastern part of Nigeria.
He said that his government had commenced the process of identifying the number of groups involved in militancy in the oil-rich region with a view to getting their leaders and appealing to them to give peace a chance.
Buhari rehashed a civil war time phrase by former military head of state, Yakubu Gowon, saying that to “keep Nigeria one is a task that must be accomplished”.
“Please, pass the message to the militants that one Nigeria is not negotiable. They better accept this fact. The Nigerian constitution is clear as to what they should get and I assure them that there will be justice,” the president said.
The president did not fail to bring up the matter of looters saying, “Please tell those with plenty of money, which does not belong to them, to try and negotiate and return it in peace so that both they and us will be in peace, otherwise we will continue to look for them.”
Buhari also admitted that despite the change in name and form of the defunct state-owned monopoly, National Electric Power Authority, the power situation in the country had remained unreliable.
“Those who watch television are at the mercy of what is used to be called NEPA. Whichever form it (NEPA) has taken now, it has maintained the tradition of unreliability. It is not every day that the people get the news,” he said.
Buhari also disclosed the the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh were “working hard” to address food production shortages in the country. He said that the CBN was lending money to the agricultural ministry, “outside the budget” to fund rice production in 13 states. The states were not disclosed.
Professor Osinbajo took a swipe at President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration saying the Buhari inherited a “huge financial mess”. He said the journey was tough for Buhari but that the “clean-up exercise” was on course. “But things are looking up,” he said. “We will place the country on a strong footing”.
Osinbajo prayed for Buhari that as he continued to grow older, he would be stronger in strength, adding that the President would have enough strength to be victorious no matter the challenges facing him and the country.
The minister of the federal capital territory, Muhammed Bello, accompanied the vice president to the Presidential Villa for the Sallah Day visit where he presented a giant season’s card to General Buhari while representatives of the Aso Villa Chapel presented him with a big mirror and a giant season’s card.