The Presidency on Tuesday said separatist agitators such as Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Sunday Igboho and Asari Dokubo are mercantile agents who are only out for pecuniary gains.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this on Tuesday while giving a scorecard of the Buhari administration at an event organised by the All Progressives Congress APC Professional Forum.
Igboho had recently unilaterally declared the South-West part was no longer part of Nigeria.
During his declaration, the self-acclaimed activist said the major resources of Nigeria were in the hands of Northerners, stressing that Yorubas were being killed and their land taken over.
Dokubo also announced establishment of Biafra Customary Government in which he incorporated some parts of the South-East and South-South as part of the territory.
Kanu has been demanding a separate state of Biafra.
Also, Professor Banji Akintoye, has insisted on the creation of a Yoruba Republic, saying that agitation for restructuring of Nigeria is too late for Yoruba people.
But Shehu said that the Buhari-led government cannot be intimidated or bullied into giving in to the threats of such agitators.
Describing them as mercantile agents who are only out for pecuniary gains, the presidency said Buhari would not open the vaults to share free money with anyone.
He said, “On the unity of this country and the calls for secession and the insinuation that the presidency is not talking, the presidency has been talking. And our position is clearly that this country is one, is united, and by the grace of God will continue to be united.
“Look, one thing with this President and the National Secretary of the party has said a bit of that, you cannot intimidate Buhari. You cannot bully him. A lot of these people who are calling for secession are the problem of this country and I am happy that reasonable opinion, reasonable voices are now rising. Is it not only yesterday we were reading Afenifere, the most credible faction of Afenifere saying they were not for secession?
“The Ohanaze Ndigbo has said this over and over again. So this thing about secession is, they had used it in the past. You create secession and break up Nigeria and then you intimidate the sitting leader and then he opens the vaults and he brings money to settle people. President Buhari will pay no one. He is not going to pay and now it is clear that having ignored all of that, reasonable opinions are coming from those States and from those regions.
“Now, the thing about the South-East is part of the earlier conversation we just had now. Criminals are fighting to gain the upper hand but I tell you that no criminal or terrorist is bigger than this country. None of them is mightier than our armed forces. This structure has been there. They were certificated and praised for World War I, World War II, they stabilise the entire West Africa region. Without Nigeria, would there be Liberia in its present form, would there be Sierra Leone in its present form, even Gambia? So just give it time and support and pray, we will win against these forces.
“The governors in the South-West, we have all heard them, they have denounced all of these things. So it is a sham. Nigerians want to be one, they want to continue. Yes, there are problems and we are hoping that as people united and loving of one another, we will come together and solve our problems and that leads me to the next question, whether there should be National Conference?
“What National Conference do more than a parliament? Anyone who is a democrat at heart, in practice in their beliefs they should believe in the tripartite structure of government. Governments that are democratic, there must be a parliament, the executive arm of the government and the judiciary, each one being independent and cooperating with the other. We have an elected parliament, which mandate is to be the custodian of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people.
“Look, a lot of these people who are crying for this secession, are unelectable. If you think you are electable, go around for a parliamentary seat whether House of Representatives or Senate and come and table an Amendment to the Constitution.
“The process is ongoing as we speak now under the Deputy Senate President. They are calling for Memoranda, why can’t you present what you want? So the issue is that people who are not democrats want a parallel parliament to be set up and this Constitution does not recognize two parliaments in this country. We have one parliament that is sovereign, that is the custodian of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people. If your member representing you has failed to present this request that you want whether it is a change of the structure at the state, local government or national level pull him out four years after, don’t vote for him. Put another representative who will do what you want. This is how democracy works, periodic elections.”
SaharaReporters, New York