The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said the agitation for secession by groups in the South East and the ultimatum giving to Igbos to leave the North by Northern groups are in violation of Nigeria’s Constitution.
Professor Osinbajo said this on Sunday when he met with traditional rulers from the South East in continuation of his consultations with leaders of the North and South East following increased tension in both regions.
While assuring the traditional rulers that the Federal Government remained committed to the unity of the country, Osinbajo warned that it would be wrong to for people to threaten to disobey laws or the unity of the nation as a result of their grievances.
He also warned that the Federal Government would deal decisively with those who put the unity of the country at risk.
He said, “The manner of those agitations, the method and objectives are wrong, unlawful and in violation of the laws of Nigeria and the Constitution of Nigeria. I want to repeat that both the agitations for secession and the ultimatum to leave the Northern states are wrong and a violation of our Constitution.
“Our Constitution says in Section 2 that Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that is the law of our country.
“Let us not be in any doubt about the fact that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that our country remains united.
“And that anyone who violates the law in the manner such as we are seeing all over the place will be met with the full force of the law.”
Although he described the agitations as unlawful, the Acting President said the nation “must be sensitive to the reasons why there are agitations by the various young men and in fact several others across the various zones of this country”.
Noting that much of the agitations had to do with perceived marginalisation, he said, “I want to say the only way to make things right is to do things right. And it will be wrong of us to approach even our grievances by threatening to disobey the laws or by threatening the integrity of our nation.”
According to Professor Osinbajo, keeping the country united is vital because enough blood has been spilt by many and thousands of lives lost for that purpose.
“Many have paid for the unity of this country with their lives and it will be wrong of us as men and women of goodwill in this generation to toy with those sacrifices that have been made,” he said.
“This is the reason why men and women of goodwill in our generation must not tolerate any tendency that drags us in the direction of yet another civil conflict.”
He assured the traditional rulers that the Federal Government is committed to listening “to all the reasons, the various suggestions, the various agitations, and the reasons for those agitations and to ensure that we do justice by all persons regardless of where you are from in this country”.
“That is the commitment of Federal Government which I am able to make to you today,” he added.