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Violent ethnic agitators will pay the price, says Tinubu

The President talked tough yesterday on violent ethnic agitation.

According to him, those who push for the balkanisation of the country violently will face the consequences.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said: “Those who think they can threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria will have themselves to blame.

“They have a price to pay and we are not going to relent.”

The President spoke against the backdrop of the weekend’s violent attempt to take over the seat of government in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, by some Yoruba Nation agitators.

The President opened up while receiving leaders of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, led by nonagenarian Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

Also on the delegation were some leaders of thought and traditional rulers in the Southwest.

Security men foiled the attack in Ibadan and arrested 21 members of the group.

Following more arrests, 29 people were arraigned by the police over the incident.

They were remanded in prison by the court.

The President warned those who think they can undermine the country’s unity and go scot-free to perish the thought as the consequences will be grave.

He told his audience that his administration had recorded significant progress against insurgency where it exists in the country.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, the President declared that his administration would not relent in its fight against criminals.

He assured that the menace of banditry and kidnapping is on the verge of defeat, especially with the ‘no ransom’ policy of the government.

He explained: “I am irrevocably committed to the unity of Nigeria and constitutional democracy.

“Constitutional democracy is reflected greatly here since we assumed office. What we face now is the challenge of terrorism.

“Security of life and property is very necessary for development. I can tell you we are achieving success.

“There’s an improvement from hoisting flags on the Nigerian properties and sovereignty.

“We have degraded terrorism to a level that they cannot threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria any longer.

“Banditry and kidnapping will be defeated and there is no payment of ransom whatsoever.

“We are taking the battle to them. We are getting results more rapidly than before.

“We are working hard on intelligence gathering.”

On the economy, he restated his administration’s commitment to the pursuit of comprehensive economic security for the country while tackling foundational challenges and creating a fair and equitable system for all Nigerians.

The President spoke of ongoing re-engineering of the nation’s finances, efforts at boosting the purchasing power of citizens and spreading prosperity down the line with the establishment of a credit system where the element of cash does not impede a significantly enhanced standard of living for all citizens.

According to him, Nigeria must secure itself economically first before it can achieve any of its more sophisticated objectives.

The President added: “We are committed to the economic survival of our country. To re-engineer the finances of our country, we must start in earnest.

“So, first, retool, revamp the economic opportunities available, and resolve to continue taking the firm and steady baby steps that are necessary.

“Education is a strong weapon against poverty. To empower the people, we must invest in the future of our youths.

“We have seen the problems parents face in training their children in school; it is the reason why we established the National Student Loan Scheme, which is taking off well.

“We are equally examining what to do with the high degree of unemployment. We must help vulnerable people by providing social security.

“We are looking at how to provide allowances for the unemployed, and we are developing ways to boost the purchasing power of citizens with the Consumer Credit Scheme.

“If we remove the cash upfront element to buy a car or a house, we will reduce the propensity for fraud and corruption across the land.”

The President thanked the Afenifere leaders for their prayers and support, assuring them that he would not relent in his resolve to advance Nigeria.

The Alabo of Ilu-Abo, Akure, Ondo State, Oba Olu Falae, who spoke for the delegation, commended the President for his courageous decisions and for the rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, as well as other critical ongoing projects.

He urged the President not to relent in ensuring fairness and equity for all Nigerians while noting the importance of a constitutional amendment to devolve more powers to the states.

Oba Falae, who was a career civil servant, served as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) under former military President, Gen.  Ibrahim Babangida.

He was also the Presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD)/All Peoples Party (APP) in the 1999 Presidential election.

He said: “We are delighted about what you are doing for our country, and we assure you of our continued support.

“We thank you for your visit to Akure in February 2024, and we believe it is proper to reciprocate your kind gesture. We appreciate this relationship, and we need to make it work in the interest of Nigeria.

“Mr. President, you are the leader of Nigeria now and the most important political figure in Africa.

“We expect you, given your legacy and pedigree, to lead our country with knowledge, courage, and integrity.

“We do not doubt that your tenure will mark a turning point in the history of our country. Under your leadership, Nigeria will be repositioned.

“We will stand by you as you make all efforts to change the Nigeria story for the better.

“Be assured Afenifere will not abandon you in fair or foul weather.

“As long as you remain faithful to the principles of fairness, integrity, and courage that are expected of you as the leader of Nigeria, we will stand by you.”

Other members of the delegation are Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, former governors Aremo Olusegun Osoba (Ogun), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Prince Tajudeen Olusi, Otunba Samuel Ibikunle, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, Korede Duyile,  Oba Solomon Dele Owoniyi and Chief Lekan Alabi.

Others are Otunba Kole Omololu, Basorun Demola Folarin, Dare Babarinsa, Dr Akin Onigbinde (SAN), Prince Alonge, Jare Ajayi, Capt. Adekunle Raji (rtd), Adedapo Abiola Adeyemi, Dr. Taiwo Fasoranti, Oba Francis Olusola Alao,  Olugbon of Orile Igbon Oba Francis Olusola Alao, Chief Deji Wellington, Chief Femi Aluko and Olayiwola Popoola.

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