Friday, 19 January 2018

Fed Govt to address agitation, says Osinbajo

Posted On Wednesday, 28 June 2017 01:22 Written by
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Yemi Osinbajo Yemi Osinbajo

There is a ray of hope for agitators as the federal government assured Nigerians last night that it would immediately address their grievances.

But it will be within the confines of the constitution, which the government swore to uphold.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo engaged in a series of consultations between June 13 and 22 with leaders of thought, traditional rulers and political leaders in the North and the Southeast. He also met with governors.

This followed the continuous agitation for secession by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the East and the October 1 quit order given to Igbo resident in the North by a coalition of youth groups.

A statement yesterday by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Laolu Akande on the highlights of the meetings, emphasised the affirmation of “the necessity of confronting all grievances and frustrations head-on, however uncomfortable that might seem now; instead of ignoring issues and allowing them to fester.”

The acting president urged that such grievances be expressed with grace. He condemned hate speeches.

The meeting “affirmed the need to draw a line between the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and the degeneration of such expression into hateful rhetoric, prejudice and hatred.

“Under no circumstances will Government condone or tolerate hate speech in any way or form.”

There was also the affirmation on “the need for all leaders and elders, regardless of political or ideological persuasion, to speak out more forcefully to counter divisive and hate speech and any form of warmongering”.

The meetings were convened “to provide a platform for frank and open discussions between the concerned stakeholders and by extension the Nigerian public on issues relating to the unity, peace and security of country.”

The Presidency said it would continue to actively engage with various segments of the population.

Other common grounds established at the meetings according to the statement are:  • condemnnation of hateful and divisive rhetoric by the concerned groups of Northern and Southeastern youths; and

  • affirmation of the primacy of the Constitution, the ultimate basis for the unity of Nigeria. That Constitution guarantees freedom of residence and of movement for all Nigerians anywhere in the country, without fear of discrimination or prejudice.
  • The Acting President thanked all the leaders for their time and commitment to the unity, peace and progress of Nigeria. He also assured the people of the resolve of the Buhari administration to ensure their well-being and security at all times.
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