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Nigeria’s Unity Not Negotiable, Says Buhari |The Republican News

President-Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki, Agaju Madugba, Katsina, Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja and Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those trying to foment trouble in the country, saying Nigerian’s unity not negotiable.

He declared that Nigerians have the right to live and do business in any part of the country without let or hindrance.

In a national broadcast this morning, President Buhari, who returned to the country on Saturday, after 104 days in London, United Kingdom, for medical treatment, said the country was better staying together.

He ordered security agencies to step up the fight against insurgency so that the gains of the past 18 months will not be lost.

The president enjoined Nigerians to play down on petty differences and come together to face economic, security, environmental and other challenges facing the country.

President Buhari’s speech reads: “I am very grateful to God and to all Nigerians for their prayers. I am pleased to be back on home soil among my brothers and sisters.

“In the course of my stay in the United Kingdom, I have been kept in daily touch with events at home. Nigerians are robust and lively in discussing their affairs, but I was distressed to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media have crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. This is a step too far.

“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.

“Every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance. I believe the very vast majority of Nigerians share this view.

“This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation are that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence.

“The National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse.

“The national consensus is that it is better to live together than to live apart.

“Furthermore, I am charging the security agencies not to let the successes achieved in the last 18 months be a sign to relax.  Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety. Therefore,  we are going to reinforce and reinvigorate the fight not only against elements of Boko Haram, which are attempting a new series of attacks on soft targets; kidnappings, farmers versus herdsmen clashes; in addition to ethnic violence fuelled by political mischief makers. We shall tackle them all.

“Finally, dear Nigerians, our collective interest now is to eschew petty differences and come together to face common challenges of economic security, political evolution and integration as well as lasting peace among all Nigerians.

“I remain resolutely committed to ensuring that these goals are achieved and maintained. I am so glad to be home.”

Earlier yesterday, there was a celebration at the Aso Villa chapel, where Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and several worshippers sang various songs in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages to thank God for Buhari’s safe return.

Speaking at the service, the Aso Villa Chapel’s Administrator, Rev. Isaac Ambi, said: “We want to rejoice with our father, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, for the safe return of our President and our father, Muhammadu Buhari. And we also want to thank God on how he has used you in piloting the affairs of Nigeria while the president was away.”

Also speaking, Prof. Durosinmi Etti, who urged the worshipers to celebrate the Lord for what he had done in the president’s life, led the church to sing: “What shall we say unto the Lord, All we have to say is thank you, Lord.”

A special ministration with the title: “All Things are working for my good” was also rendered by the choir to honour the Lord for spearing the president’s life.

In his sermon entitled: “What is new for a Christian,” Ambi, using John 15:1-11 and Psalm 23, as anchor texts, urged everyone who had accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour to continue to live life according to the dictate of Christ.

“A Christian life is a matter of relationship; knowing the rules and the regulation. So, what is your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? We are supposed to have a kind of relationship that draws our strength from Jesus Christ,” he remarked.

According to him, one of the new things a Christian has to include is a new position, a new possession, a new product and new focus.

“As soon as we receive Christ, we will experience the great exchange according to 2 Corinthians 32. So, you have a new position because Jesus has taken the centre stage in your life and that is why a Christian must not engage in shady deals. Second Corinthians 5:17 says if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature,” he said.

Individuals and groups, including the South East Governors Forum (SEGF), governors Aminu Masari and Abiola Ajimobi of Katsina and Oyo respectively, have reacted to Buhari’s return.

Chairman of the SEGF and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, described the recovery of Mr President as great work of God and wished him total recovery as he assumes duty.

The forum thanked Nigerians for praying for his speedy recovery, adding that it showed that the people were becoming more patriotic despite the varying political lines.

It called for more prayers and dedication to service by every Nigerian, noting that it was only through the unity of purpose that the country could achieve greatness.

Masari in a statement also commended Nigerians for their steadfastness in prayers and moral support to the president while Buhari was away.

“God has answered the prayers of Nigerians and friends of Nigerians across the globe by healing and returning President Buhari home in better health,” Masari said in a statement sign by his Senior Special Adviser, Abdu Labaran Malumfashi.

Governor Ajimobi, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Mr Yomi Layinka, expressed delight in the renewed vigour of the president, which he said should reinforce the people’s belief in the awesome powers of God.

He called for continued prayers for the well being of Buhari and leaders at all levels for the country to remain cohesive and return to prosperity and abundance.

Meanwhile, Kogi State government has declared today as a public holiday and Thanksgiving Day.

Governor Yahaya Bello said the gesture was in line with the “support of the Kogi people for the renaissance of our nation by Mr President.

He enjoined the people of Kogi to also use the occasion to pray for the president, as he resumes his responsibilities of repositioning Nigeria.

Similarly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State said with his return, the challenge for the delivery of dividends of democracy has been reactivated and expectations from the citizenry rekindled.

The party, in a statement by the Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Steve Otaloro, praised the president for the confidence reposed in his Vice, Osinbajo by handing over the reins of power to him. It said the development demonstrated the belief in the political system of the country.

The crux of the overwhelming solidarity witnessed in the return of President Buhari is the total support for the president’s drive in the continued fight against treasury looters, recovery of national assets and funds as well as rebuilding the national economy, the statement said.

It urged the citizenry to continue to pray for the president to enable him to deliver good governance.

Also, reacting, an APC chieftain in Abia State and Board of Trustee (BoT) member, Prince Benjamin Benedict Apugo said the fact that Buhari came back not only alive but also fully recovered, was a thing of great joy for him, his family, APC members in the state and Abians in general.

He noted that the president’s return will oil and reinvigorate the machinery of government and called on him to re-jig his cabinet to inject fresh blood that would better the lots of the people.

Apugo condemned the activities of the group that campaigned that the president should either return home or resign, stressing that it was insensitive and out of place to force the president home when doctors had not satisfied him fit to resume duties.

“It is quite unfortunate that the group, whatever their name is, did not act wisely. When someone’s father is sick and went to the hospital for medical attention, you don’t force him back home, unless you don’t love him and want him dead.

“We know that those who embarked on the protest acted a script written by the opposition, but I’m happy that the president has returned not to the weight of the so-called protest, but based on his doctors’ advice.”

While the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, Chief Segun Oni described the home coming as a soothing balm on the tensed political atmosphere in Nigeria, a traditional leader and industrialist, Prince Olusegun Aderemi urged the president to apologise to Nigerians over his long absence.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr Steve Alabi in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, Oni said seeing Buhari in good health has put a lie to the wishes of those who don’t wish the nation well.

Oni advised some of the Buhari’s antagonists to stop playing politics with every issue, especially when it touched on health, saying, they were not God.

But Aderemi who spoke with newsmen in Aramoko Ekiti said Buhari should not blame anybody who was aggrieved and expressed his or her grievances over his long absence, noting that, it was their right to express their feeling. He said though it was not the wish of Buhari to stay away from the country for over 100 days, as a democrat he should apologise to those who felt strongly about his absence. (The Sun)

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Ojukwu Agreed With Me In 2003 That Nigeria Must Remain United, Says Buhari |RN

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed how the late Chukwuemka Odumegwu Ojukwu agreed with that the country must remain an indivisible entity.

The president said this in his nationwide broadcast on Monday morning. This came less than 48 hours after his return to the country from London, where he spent more than 100 days on medical vacation.

Recall that while the president was ways, the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had repeatedly insisted that the unity of the country was not negotiable.

Osinbajo’s comments had come amid agitations for secession in the South East, a quit notice to the Igbo in the North by some northern youths and repeated calls for the restructuring of the country.

President Buhari, in defending the government’s position on the unity of the country, recalled an encounter with the late General Chukwuemka Odumegwu Ojukwu in 2003.

According to the President, Ojukwu who led the ‘Republic of Biafra’ in its attempt to secede from Nigeria from 1967 to 1970 agreed with him that the country should remain united.

In his national broadcast this morning, President Buhari said, “In 2003 after I joined partisan politics, the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown in 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.”

Consequently, the President warned that secessionist agenda would not be tolerated and that all grievances must be channelled through legitimate means.

“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,” he said. (Channelstv)

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Another Nigerian Killed in South Africa

The Nigerian Union in South Africa yesterday said that another Nigerian, Mr Uchenna Eloh, was killed in the Western Cape Province of that country.

Kanayo Onwumelu, Chairman, Western Cape chapter of the union, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the telephone from Cape Town that Eloh was strangled to death by South African policemen. NAN reported that Eloh hailed from Eziagu in Eziagu Local Government Area of Enugu State.

“ We want to call the attention of Nigerian Government to the senseless killing of innocent Nigerians by the police in South Africa. At about 11.00 a.m. South African time on Wednesday, a Nigerian, Uchenna Emmanuel Eloh, popularly known as “Monkey’’, was killed by a South African police officer.

He was walking out of his house toward the bus station when a police van stopped to search him, suspecting that he might be in possession of illegal substance. “Three policemen accosted Eloh, one of them, by the name Williams, held him on the neck suspecting that he swallowed a substance, while another police officer held him by the legs,’’ he said. The union official alleged that the policemen dragged Eloh on the ground until he started foaming and suffocated to death on the spot.

“This is not the first time such senseless killing of innocent Nigerians was carried out by South African police officers. We have reported similar killings to the South African Government and Nigeria High Commission in South Africa and nothing was done to bring the culprits to book.

“We want the Nigerian Government to intervene to stop this brutality against innocent Nigerians and stop killing Nigerians out of hatred, racism or xenophobia,’’ he said.

Ikechukwu Anyene, President of Nigerian Union in South Africa, who also confirmed the incident, called for an end to the incessant killing of Nigerians in South Africa. “Our government needs to do something urgently to make it clear that Nigerian lives matter. We have made suggestions on what can be done, but it is now clear to us that the endless talks cannot yield any positive result,’’ Anyene said.

He said that the union had engaged a lawyer to take up the case against South African Police Service. “But, this kind of legal service should form part of consular services to provide legal services to victimised Nigerians,’’ Anyene said.

The union said that the police have opened an inquest into the case. NAN recalled that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had in February said that a total 116 Nigerians have been killed in South Africa through extrajudicial means in the last two years.

The presidential aide had said during a meeting with the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni in Abuja that nearly seven in 10 of the killings were carried out by the South African police.  (The Sun)

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Anambra Guber: Immigration Seizes Voter Cards From Foreigners |RN

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Non-Nigerians barred from voting – NIS boss

From: Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

Comptroller of Immigration, Anambra State Command, Ekpedeme King, on Thursday, announced that his command had retrieved several voter cards, National Identity Cards and Anambra State Identity Cards from some foreigners’ in the state.

King, who disclosed this while addressing officers of the command and leaders of various associations of ECOWAS nationals in the state, banned foreigners from participating in the forthcoming Anambra November 18 gubernatorial poll, adding that anyone caught would be prosecuted according to electoral laws before being repatriated to his country.

According to him, “The foreign holders of these documents have been repatriated and the retrieved documents will be forwarded to the Immigration Service Headquarters for further action. The Command wishes to state it clear that no foreigner should allow himself or herself to be used to meddle in the forthcoming electoral process in the state through persuasion, coercion, harassment, intimidation duress, inducement or outright bribery.

“Such meddlesomeness is not acceptable in any part of the world and therefore the associations have been requested to warn their compatriots that any foreigner that is caught subverting the electoral process will not just be deported but will be tried according to the country’s electoral laws, if convicted, jailed then deported after serving his or her sentence.

He further advised associations to be actively involved in migration management by encouraging their compatriots to document their stay at the Immigration offices in the 21 Local Government areas, collaborate with Divisional Immigration Officers (DIO) in monitoring immigrants and intelligence gathering in the national interest, as well as respect the host country’s laws, culture and tradition.

“The objective of this meeting is in consonance with the new direction of the Comptroller-General of Immigration, CGI Muhammad Babandede in the realisation that Nigeria remains the preferred destination in the ECOWAS sub-region and the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to the ECOWAS protocols on free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment. The Command is exploring the promotion of regional integration and growth through community citizens.”

He further commended the IMS headquarters and Anambra State government for providing motorcycles they would use for close monitoring of the activities of foreigners across 21 local government areas in the state as election approaches.  (The Sun)

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Southern Leaders Forum Insist On Restructuring, Seek With Northern Leaders

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Archive photo: Southern Leaders Forum Summit 2015

Southern leaders under the aegis of Southern Leaders Forum on Sunday called on their colleagues from the North to renegotiate Nigeria.

The Southern leaders, drawn from three geopolitical zones of the south, made their position known after a meeting in Lagos.

The leaders, according to Vanguard newspaper, said Nigeria was approaching a terminal crisis from which it cannot recover unless it is restructured along the paths of the 1963 Constitution.

The southern leaders included Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; former Director General of the State Security Service, A.K Horsfall; former president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Joe Irukwu; Ike Nwachukwu; Secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Kunle Olajide; Afenifere chieftain, Amos Akingba; former chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, and Vanguard Publisher, Sam Amuka, among others.

The leaders said the National Assembly’s rejection of the proposal for devolution was against popular demand, vowing that they will press on with their demand until the issue was brought to a conclusion.

They also berated security agencies for threatening to deal with agitators of the country’s restructuring, describing it as empty and ineffective threats.

Mr Adebanjo, on his part, specifically flayed Acting President Yemi Osinbajo over his reported comment that agitators for restructuring were those looking for appointments.

“That is a very unfortunate statement. I would not like it to appear that we are attacking our acting president. The Acting President was born on the principle of restructuring. I and his father were followers of Awolowo since the 1950s,” he said.

Speaking further, the Afenifere chieftain said: “He cannot say we are looking for appointment; Is it me or Horsfall or Gen. Ike Nwachukwu? It just shows someone in a position but does not understand the problem of the people he is leading. It is an unfortunate statement to make, I am not going to engage in brickbats with him, it shows the limit of his knowledge of how the country came together. I think he should know better. He is not only a lawyer, he has been an Attorney-General and Vice President.”

Afenifere Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, who read the communiqué of the forum, said: “We do not want a Nigeria where any section will live as slaves of another, but rather we want a Nigeria where all citizens irrespective of their ethnic or religious affiliation are able to live their lives to the fullest and in happiness without let or hindrance.

“We hold dearly that anyone who is opposed to this vision is an enemy of Nigeria of our dream,” the statement said.

Flaying the decision of the National Assembly to shoot down the proposal on the devolution of powers during the recent Constitution alteration exercise, he said: “Their decision reflects the deepest disregard for the popular demand for the freeing of more powers to the federating units from our shocking central government. Instead of devolving power, the National Assembly has now given us a stronger centre that will now conduct elections in local governments against extant provisions of the federalism.

“It is obvious that the National Assembly has taken itself out of the resolution of the Nigerian crisis by foreclosing devolution of power. Unknown to the lawmakers, they have unwittingly given more ammunition to self-determination forces by attempting to collapse the restructuring column in the battle for the soul of Nigeria.

“It would, however, be short-sighted for the National Assembly and their sympathisers to think this is the end of the matter. The demand for restructuring cannot end with their decisions as Nigeria has reached a terminal crisis from which it cannot recover except it is restructured.”

Vowing to continue on its insistence for the restructuring of Nigeria, the leaders said, “for emphasis, the restructuring we demand is a return to principles of federalism in Nigeria as obtained in the 1963 Constitution, which allowed the federating units to have autonomy over their local affairs to create a Nigeria that sustains the principles of fairness, equity, respect for all constituent units of Nigeria.

“We restate in clear terms that this country has gone through war once and it is not likely to survive another one. The only way therefore to have a peaceful Nigeria is to have a country based on justice and equity for all Nigerians. In order to achieve the above, there is a need for sacrifices on all sides as the only insurance for peace and justice is equity.

“We, therefore, call for immediate meeting of well-meaning leaders from the South and the North to find a way to save Nigeria from destruction and crisis. An urgent return to the principles our founding fathers agreed as the basis for our independence is the only way out for Nigeria as most sectors of our country have lost faith in the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.”

Commenting on the threat to deal with agitators of the country’s restructuring, the forum faulted the security operatives, saying: “Lastly, we are aware of the threat issued from the recent security meeting in Abuja where operatives of the government were issuing threats against agitators for renegotiation of the polity.

“We, therefore, say that such threats are not taking into account the realities on the ground,” the forum said.

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Boko Haram War Is Far From Being Over, Buratai Warns Troops |The Republican News

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Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen.Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has warned troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists in North-East Nigeria to remain steadfast and be more proactive.

The army chief gave the warning, on Wednesday, while addressing officers and men of the Nigeria Army in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

Although he commended the soldiers for the successes recorded so far in the fight against the insurgents, he asked them to remain resolute as the war is not yet over.

“The war has not yet been won and all is not over until it is over. Hence, I congratulate you on the progress made so far but we must do more.”

Buratai also asked them to work in harmony with other security operatives, saying no meaningful progress would be made without their cooperation.

“Let me urge you to partner with other security agents in prosecuting the war and anything less will jeopardise the efforts of the security forces as a whole.

“I want to assure you that the highest military hierarchy will continue to give you all the necessary support in the fight,” he added.

Elsewhere, the army chief visited the Emir of Damaturu, Shehu Hashimi II Ibn Umar El Kanemi, at his palace where he called for his support and the people in the fight against terrorism.

He thanked the traditional ruler for the support the soldiers had received over the years and solicited for more collaboration between security forces and the people.

In his response, the Emir commended the military for the role it has played over the years in ensuring peace returns to the community and other parts in the North-East.assured that the people of his jurisdiction will continue to partner security operatives in the fight against the insurgents.

He further assured General Burai that the people would continue to partner with security operatives in the fight against the insurgents. (Channelstv)

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Southern Kaduna Will Join Biafra If Nigeria Breaks Up, Says Dr Danfulani |RN

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                            Nnamdi Kanu with Dr. John Danfulani 

Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia

The Coordinator of the Centrum Initiative for Development and Fundamental Rights Advocacy,  Dr John Danfulani, has said the people of Southern Kaduna would prefer to go with the Biafra Republic in the eventuality of Nigeria’s disintegration.

Danfulani spoke in Umuahia, Abia State when he paid a solidarity visit to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

He said the people of Southern Kaduna “share a lot of values in common with Biafrans,” and would not hesitate to follow them “if Nigeria breaks up.”

He bemoaned the fate of minority ethnic nationalities in Southern Kaduna who are mostly Christians, condemning what he called “government’s  indifference” to their ordeals following incessant “unprovoked attacks by herdsmen.”

He said, “If Nigeria breaks up, we won’t go with the North. Certainly, we will go with Biafra because we share a lot in common.

“We can form a confederation based on an agreement. It is better for us because we are safer in Biafra.

“In the North, they don’t like us because we don’t pray like them. So, it is better we follow those who share the same faith and values with us.” (Punchng.com)

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