Secession Agitators Will be Punished – Osinbajo
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said those pushing for disintegration of Nigeria by issuing quit notice to other Nigerians in their domain would face the full wrath of the law.
He said the government would not fold its hands and watch disruption of peace and order in any part of the country.
Osinbajo stated these during a closed door meeting with some leaders from the North, including some members of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.
Those at the meeting were – the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin, Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum and former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Comassie, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamako, former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen, Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Ndah-Isaiah, Paul Unongo, AVM Murkar and Chairman Liberty Radio/Television, Tijani Ramalan and the Editor- in -Chief of Daily Trust, Dan Ali, among others.
The meeting was aimed at checking any crisis that may arise from recent quit notice issued by Arewa youths to Igbos in northern part of the country.
Osinbajo said: “Every form of violence, every form of hate speech, any stone that is thrown in the market place will hit targets and that could be deadly. So I need us to be fully conscious of that and the Nigerian people must be made to be fully conscious of that so that we do not create a crisis that is not intended.
“In the course of living together I know that misunderstandings and frustrations will always arise and people will always want to get the best part of the deal. But we must be careful to recognize that we can only begin to talk about any part of anything if we are together in peace.
“These days, wars do not end and I am sure those that had seen or experienced war in any shape or form will not wish it on their worst enemies.
“This is not a time to retreat behind ethnic lines, moments like this are not for isolating ourselves. I want to urge all of us here and the entire Nigerian populace to come together and work together.
“As a government we are determined to ensure the unity of the country along the lines of our constitution and I want to say that hate and divisive speech or divisive behavior where it is illegal will be met with the full force of the law.”
“And I want to ensure that there is no doubt at all that it is the resolve of the government that none will be allowed to get away with speeches that can cause sedition or that can cause violence. This is because when we make these kinds of pronouncement and do things that can cause violence or destruction of lives and property we are no longer in control.
“Those who make those speeches are no longer in control.
“So I want to emphasize that government will take very seriously any attempts to cause violence or disrupt the peace of this country. And that is very important because you cannot control violence once it begins.”