Buhari addresses the nation during which he makes it clear that Nigeria's unity is non-negotiable

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has addressed the nation on the current challenges facing it following his recent return from the UK where he spent 105 days receiving medical treatment during which he made it explicitly clear that Nigeria's unity is non-negotiable.


Speaking to Nigerians for the first time since he left for London on May 7, President Buhari, who returned to the country on Saturday, delivered a 20-minute speech, during which he sought to address growing concerns over the balkanisation of the country. He made it clear his government would look into issues dividing the country including Boko Haram, the Fulani herdsmen saga and calls for the recreation of Biafra.


While President Buhari has been away, a coalition of Arewa youths have given all Igbos living in northern Nigeria up until October 1 to leave the region, while a group of Niger Delta youths also have all northerners and south westerners a quit notice to leave their region. Members of the National Assembly also rejected a bill calling for the restructuring of the country, all heating up the political atmosphere.


Seeking to allay these fears and restore some degree of calm, President Buhari said his government will do all it can to keep Nigeria one. He added that his government would also protect the lives and properties of everyone in the country.


President Buhari said: "Nigerians are robust and lively in discussing their affairs but I was distressed to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media have crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. This is a step too far.


"In 2003 after I joined partisan politics, the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown Daura. Over two days we discussed in great depth till late into the night and analyzed the problems of Nigeria and we both came to the conclusion that the country must remain one and united.


"Nigeria’s unity is settled and not negotiable. We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood."


He added that every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance, pointing out that the vast majority of Nigerians share this view. According to President Buhari, the national consensus is that, it is better to live together than to live apart.


He added: "This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns, as e4very group has a grievance but the beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence. The National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse.


"Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety. Therefore we are going to reinforce and reinvigorate the fight not only against elements of Boko Haram which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets, kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes, in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers."


According to President Buhari, our collective interest now is to eschew petty differences and come together to face common challenges of economic security, political evolution and integration as well as lasting peace among all Nigerians. He added that he remains resolutely committed to ensuring that these goals are achieved and maintained.