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In what appears a clear effort to douse the agitation for Biafra, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday made reference to the late Biafran leader, Emeka Ojukwu, saying both of them agreed on the indivisibility of Nigeria.
Mr. Ojukwu led a breakaway Biafran nation into a civil war with the Nigerian government, between 1967 and 1970. Although the secession failed and Mr. Ojukwu would later contest to be president of Nigeria, there have been renewed agitations for a Biafran nation, particularly led by pan-Igbo groups like IPOB and MASSOB.
In his broadcast to Nigerians on Monday, Mr. Buhari warned that the country will no longer tolerate comments and actions that threaten the collective existence of Nigeria.
“Some of the comments especially on the social media have crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence. This is a step too far,” he said.
“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 analysed the problems of Nigeria. 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.”
The president also spoke on the quit order by some Northern youth to Igbos to leave northern Nigeria before October 1.
“Every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance,” the president said.
Mr. Buhari added that, “This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every 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.”
He added that the National Assembly and the National Council of States are the best fora for such discussion stressing that going forward, Nigeria will wage a strong war both on terrorism and on individuals threatening the nation’s unity.