President Muhammadu Buhari has given security chiefs a directive on ongoing agitations in the country, saying they must ensure that Nigeria remains one.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin, stated this on Tuesday in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting Buhari held with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Olonisakin said the agitation by a “secessionist group” in the South-East, the Independent People of Biafra, was among security issues the President discussed with the security chiefs.
He said the President asked them to ensure that his directive that Nigeria must remain one was carried out to the letter.
Buhari had, in his broadcast to the nation, said, “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.”
Olonishakin said Buhari was specific in his directive that security chiefs must ensure that the lives and property of Nigerians were protected.
He said, “The President talked about the unity of the nation, which is non-negotiable. We have all been fully instructed to ensure that the directive is carried out to the letter.”
The CDS said they were also directed to ensure that they secure the nation, while troops that were outside the country carried out their jobs effectively.
He said security chiefs updated Buhari on security issues within and outside the country where the nation’s troops were during the meeting that lasted over three hours.
He said after the briefing, the President gave orders on some areas they should look at in order to enhance their operations.
When asked what the President told them about the Indigenous People of Biafra’s secret service, Olonishakin said, “All security threats were treated one after another, ranging from terrorism to kidnapping; and herdsmen/farmers clash to IPOB issue. They were all treated; suggestions were made as to what to do as regards the issues.”
The defence chief parried a question on whether he would mobilise forces to the South-East.
“Every security issue, like I said, has been treated and we are going to enhance our operations in all the areas we need to do that. Like I said, he (Buhari) has given the necessary directive which will be carried out by the military and security agencies,” he said.
Olonishakin said despite the recent attacks carried out by Boko Haram, it would be wrong to believe that members of the sect have stepped up their game.
“On Boko Haram issue, you all know it is an asymmetric warfare. It is not that the Boko Haram members have stepped up their game. It is just the issue of suicide bombing that has been the problem; and of course we also working with security agencies and the intelligence agencies to make sure that we address the menace,” he said.
‘Secessionists are wasting their time’
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Tuesday said President Buhari would keep Nigeria one despite various agitations in parts of the country.
Adesina said this while receiving members of the Coalition of South-East Youths for Buhari, who marched to the main gate of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to declare their support for Buhari.
The presidential spokesman said anybody working towards the disintegration of the country was beating a dead horse, which he described as a waste of energy.
He said, “You must have heard our President yesterday (Monday) in his nationwide address saying whatever it takes, Nigeria will be kept together. I tell you, this President will keep the country together.
“Therefore, anybody who is planning something else should know that it is a waste of time. Nigeria will remain one; President Muhammadu Buhari will keep the country together.
“As we speak, he is meeting with service chiefs on how to enhance security in the country. You know that when there is security, there will be development. When there is security, you can guarantee that the economy will grow; when there is security, we can face our business and businesses can strive.
“So, whatever it will take to secure the country, President Muhammadu Buhari will do it along with other people in government.”
Adesina promised the youths that the South-East would get its due under Buhari’s leadership.
“I want to promise on his behalf that the South-East will get its due during the time of President Muhammadu Okechukwu Buhari.
“The roads in the region will be fixed and the second Niger Bridge will be constructed. In everything, the South-East region will get its own fair share,” he said.
Adesina noted that the rally organised by the youths was significant because some people he described as mischief-makers would always say that the region was not with the President.
While debunking the assertion, the Presidential spokesman said it was in the region that Buhari was christened Okechukwu during electioneering.
“Last week, youths from the South-South region were here to show solidarity with him. This gives us the confidence that no matter what anybody does, Nigeria will remain one,” he added.
The group’s convener, Mr. Steve Anyata, said the rally was intended to “counter the inhumane demonstrations by a handful of sponsored elements” calling for the return or resignation of the President when he was in London.
Anyata said the rally was also meant to drum up support for Buhari in the South-East.
He said, “Mr. President, it is noteworthy to inform you that while you were away, a lot took place.
“One of them was the quit notice issued to Igbo in northern Nigeria by a group of Arewa youths.
“But we are glad to say that the Vice- President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, made attempts to elicit concrete commitments from parties concerned and to douse heightening tensions. We therefore believe that with your return, this issue and others will receive your attention.
“Already, progressive impacts of your change administration are here for all to see. We have seen an impressive stability in foreign exchange, we have seen a serious drop in corruption, we have seen a rise in our foreign reserves and the moves for the rehabilitation of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, as well as the construction of the Second Niger Bridge.
“It is no longer news that we are leaving recession behind us. Surely, things are looking up and youths of the South-East will stand with you until you achieve your vision for the country.”