The Nigeria Presidency, on Friday, declared separatist agitators such as Sunday Igboho and Asari Dokubo as charlatans sponsored to bully the President Muhammadu Buhari, thinking he will cower or panic.
Igboho had recently unilaterally declared that the South-West 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 Yoruba people were being killed and their land taken over.
Dokubo also announced the establishment of Biafra Customary Government in which he incorporated some parts of the South-East and South-South as part of the territory.
But speaking on Friday on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the Buhari-led government will not be kicked out of power by any group through blackmail.
The presidential aide urged people with “strong ambitions” to wait for another two years to contest in the 2023 presidential election.
He said, “I want to assure Nigerians that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is addressing multiple challenges that are facing the country, especially in dealing with security and yet we are still making progress in agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, which are the key policies that brought the party and the government to office.
“It is sad for the country that opposition is exploiting some of these things. It is quite unfortunate and I want to assure that the president remains focused in preserving the security and unity of this country.
“It is an established fact that all nations of the world face problems and what is expected of all well-meaning members of the society is that they should team up with the government so that together we will all fight criminality and insurgency and all that.
“We accept that dissent is allowed, this is a democracy and people have a right to tell truth to government but we must be careful in doing that. Nobody can bring down the government because this is a government elected democratically.
“Governments in a democracy come through periodic elections and if we have a government in office as we have, sponsored by political parties to win the elections, it is telling you that that confidence of the public is still there.”
Yoruba nation: UK-based group warns against crackdown on Akintoye, Igboho
A United Kingdom-based self-determination group, Yoruba Voice of Liberation, has warned the Federal Government against any attempt to arrest Yoruba people agitating for self-determination within Nigeria.
In a statement on Friday, the group said “self-determination through a referendum is legal and constitutional”.
The statement was signed by the President and Secretary-General of YOVOL respectively, Ayo Faleti and Ademola Adekunle, respectively.
While quoting several Charters of the United Nations and African Union Declaration on Human Rights, including the agitations of the people of Ambazonia and Scotland, the group said any attempt to brutalise the leading agitators, especially, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye and Chief Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Igboho would be taken as “a declaration of war against Yoruba people”.
The statement read, “The Federal Government of Nigeria has a bad case against the call for referendum and the Yoruba people consider the threat issued by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru on Mr Sunday Adeyemo as drumming up war; indeed on all ethnic nationalities.
“The evidence of oppression and suppression in the Nigerian state is everywhere for everyone to see, including conscious effort by a sitting President to use the power of the office to suppress all other ethnic groups. Considering all the above, it is evident that the notion of ‘indivisible Nigeria’ is baseless and non-factual. Any use of force will worsen the situation.
“Even self-determination remains the right of all peoples, including entitlement to secede from an existing state. United Nations Article 2(4) permits self-defence if an armed attack occurs before the Security Council takes necessary measures. The concerns in UK/EU or Scotland/UK relationship were far lesser than the deaths and poverty the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria are forced to bear.
“Yet Britain gave people the choice. In Nigeria, leaders who agreed they have failed the country, driving it to the brink are insisting on forcing the next way of life on the people they agreed they already led wrongly. It is untenable and at the best can be described as rape and abuse of people of various ethnic nationalities.
“The former Prime Minister of United Kingdom, David Cameron called BREXIT referendum, though he voted NO to BREXIT. The same principle applied when referendum was called on relationship of Scotland with the rest of the United Kingdom in which, eventually Scotland voted to stay in the UK. The referendum allows people who desire Nigeria to campaign for their position. The referendum allows those who want Yoruba nation or whatever is applicable to different ethnic nationalities to campaign for what they believe in.”