BusinessDay

Presidency warns Northern Elders Forum against inciting statement

…says no group can expel any part of Nigeria

The presidency has condemned a reported call by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) asking a section of the country to be excluded from Nigeria.

In a statement on Tuesday signed by Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, on media and publicity, the presidency warned that no group has the right to threaten any other group or call for the expulsion of any section of the country.

According to the statement, it is a delusional arrogance that will lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of Nigeria.

“We are aware of the latest statement from the so-called “Northern Elders Forum. We wish to reassure Nigerians that it remains their democratically elected leadership which takes the decisions that steer our nation – and no one else.

“No self-appointed and unelected group can take this right from Nigerians – no matter how much coverage they may enjoy in the media. Nigerians listen to elected leaders, not opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.

“It is a delusional arrogance that will lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of our nation.

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“Who gave them the right to ask for the exclusion, or expulsion of any one, group or section of the country from the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

“The Nigerian government does not take guidance or invitations from such groups – only from the Nigerian people who put the government in office.

“Any group can refer to themselves as “leaders”, but in Nigeria, if you have not been elected by Nigerians to a leadership role, then you are not – and the government certainly doesn’t recognise you as such.”

The statement further noted that like many other countries around the world, Nigeria feels the strain of the current period of volatility and uncertainty.

“Now is not the time to seek to exacerbate divisions amongst Nigerians. Rather, we call on all Nigerians to come together and work to overcome the challenges we face as one nation, one people.’’

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