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Nigeria’s unity non-negotiable, President Buhari tells militants

By Mohammed Abubakar (Abuja) and Chido Okafor (Warri)
07 July 2016   |   2:08 am
President Muhammadu Buhari went down memory lane yesterday, recalling former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon’s statement when he told the militant Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) that Nigeria’s unity was not negotiable.
President Muhammadu Buhari  PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

President Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

President Muhammadu Buhari went down memory lane yesterday, recalling former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon’s statement when he told the militant Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) that Nigeria’s unity was not negotiable.

The President spoke when a delegation of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents came to pay him the traditional Sallah homage and barely 48 hours after the militants resumed bombing of oil facilities.

He, however, renewed his plea to the NDA to embrace dialogue and the reality of the existence of the country.The delegation was led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Malam Muhammad Musa Bello.

Buhari had earlier in the day broken the age-long tradition of Nigerian leaders offering the Eid-el-Fitri prayers at the National Praying Ground along Airport Road in the FCT, by going to pray at the Mambilla Military Cantonment Praying Ground.

On their part, the insurgents are worried about possible infiltration and hijack of their activities by agents of government and unknown persons now operating with Twitter accounts similar to theirs.

The President said: “We are now concentrating on the militants to know how many they are, especially in terms of groupings, leadership and to plead with them to try and give Nigeria a chance.

“I assure them that the saying by Gen. Yakubu Gowon that ‘to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done’ still stands. “In those days we never thought of oil all we were concerned about was one Nigeria.

“So please pass this message to the militants, that one Nigeria is not negotiable and they had better accept it. The Nigerian Constitution is clear as to what they should get and I assure them, there will be justice.”

The President also said the drop in the price of crude oil at the international market ought to spur every Nigerian to return to farming, at least to save the country from losing foreign exchange.

His words: “I know that there are lots of problem in the country, but the Minister of Agriculture with help from the Governor of Central Bank are hard at work to access funds outside the budget, so that he can assist especially those13 states that have been identified as being capable to produce rice and wheat in large quantities.”

Yesterday, the NDA which claimed it bombed Chevron’s Otunana facility, warned via their Facebook page that the following Twitter accounts: @Real_Ndavengers and @NDAvengers1 were all the handiwork of imposters and enemies of the Niger Delta region.

They urged the general public not listen to those handles because they were government agents working against their struggle. The spokesman of the Avengers, Mudoch Agbinibo, said yesterday: “@NDAvengers is our only Twitter account and it’s under suspension from Twitter because we breached their policy.”

The Avengers had earlier, alleged attempts to infiltrate the group by the Department of State Security Services, saying that the two persons, Mr. Christian Oluba alias Sensor and Selky Kile Torughedi arrested by the security agency “are sleeper agents of the DSS sent after the Niger Delta Avengers.”

If DSS are denying this, let them allow the suspects to speak to the press. We Niger Delta Avengers don’t have any connection with those boys. We dare the DSS to allow the boys to tell the world their side of the story. “DSS and Nigeria Army can’t win the Niger Delta war by feeding their President with false information about situation of things in the region.”

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