By Shola Oshunkeye
President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, told the nation that his administration had identified, and was vigorously pursuing alleged financiers of leaders of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, and Yoruba Nation secession agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho.
The President also fingered a member of the National Assembly as a prominent member of the alleged secession financing cartel among those on the administration’s radar.
Buhari dropped the bombshell in his Independence Day nationwide broadcast, Friday morning, during which he assured that his government would use every fibre of its being to keep Nigeria as on indivisible entity.
“The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted,” Buhari announced, “have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly.”
Although he didn’t name the serving member of the National Assembly suspected of involvement in terror financing, Buhari declared that the involvement of the individuals was “a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
“As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.”
The President restated his steely resolve to never allow anything to disrupt Nigeria’s unity, which he said was non-negotiable, even as he emphasised that Nigeria was for all Nigerians.
“Nigeria is for all of us,” he said. “Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.”
He, however, assured that his administration shall “continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.”
“Government,” Buhari assured, “will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing.”
Although the President was excited at the way the economy was opening up despite the vagaries of the COVID-19 pandemic, he lamented the resurgence of insecurity in virtually every part of the country.
But he assured his weary compatriots that his administration had made tremendous progress in tackling the new security challenges. “We are taking the fight to our enemies from all angles and we are winning,” he enthused.
Buhari recalled that he, early this year, launched the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, tagged the Deep Blue Project, designed to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. He expressed happiness that Nigeria had taken delivery of key assets for the project and the impact would be felt very soon.
On the war against insurgency, the President announced that over 8,000 Boko Haram terrorists had surrendered in the North East alone. And to sustain the tempo of the fight against banditry and sundry crimes, not only in the North West but also in the other parts of the country, the military had recruited over 17,000 personnel across all ranks.
And while the Nigeria Police Force had been given approval to recruit 10,000 police officers annually over the next six years, Buhari confirmed that “most of the Air Force platforms we acquired over the past three years have started to arrive in Nigeria.” And they will positively impact security operations in all parts of the country.
Reiterating that the security and welfare of all Nigerians shall continue to be the prime focus of his government, the President declared that “as a Government, we are ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or action. Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.”
Stating that it was not his administration’s hope to fight for peace as “we can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood,” he appealed to all Nigerians, in the spirit of the nation’s 61st independence anniversary, to embrace peace and dialogue, regardless of their grievances.
Noting that “The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words,” Buhari lamented that the “Reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and destruction of properties.”
He, therefore, warned that “unfiltered and unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches by a few evil persons must be stopped.”
The President counselled media houses and commentators to “move away from just reporting irresponsible remarks to investigating the truth behind all statements and presenting the facts to readers.”
“We must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled,” he appealed.
President Buhari expressed gratitude to the country’s traditional, religious and community leaders, as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, he said, used their various platforms and fora to spread the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities.
He also spoke extensively on other burning issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and Nigeria’s strides at launching Nigeria on the journey to pharmaceutical independence.
Though the journey might take years to achieve, the President assured that it will “ultimately result in Nigerian based companies developing the Active Pharmaceutical substances and competence needed for us to make our own drugs and vaccines.”
- Full text of the broadcast follows.