Nigeria’s unity not negotiable – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday condemned recent comments and discussions, especially in the social media, which questioned Nigeria’s existence as a united country.

He said that such comments had “crossed our national red lines’’.

In a nationwide broadcast following his return, on Saturday, from a medical vacation in London, Buhari said that he was distressed by the comments while abroad, saying “this is a step too far.’’

“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.

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“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 analyzed the problems of Nigeria.

“We both came to the conclusion that the country must remain one and united.”

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Buhari said this did not, however, mean that there were no legitimate concerns among different groups in the country, adding that the beauty and attraction of a federation was that it allowed groups to air their grievances.

He stated that Nigerians, irrespective of their ethno-religious backgrounds, must shun all divisive tendencies to enable the nation tackle the challenges of economic security, political evolution, integration and lasting peace among all Nigerians.

The president charged Nigerians with genuine grievances to always channel them through proper and legally acceptable bodies for possible solutions.

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“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.’’