â€¢ Assures southerners living in the north of safety â€¢Insists Nigeriaâ€™s unity not negotiable
B yGboyega Akinsanmi
The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday lamented the recent attacks on northerners in Abia and Rivers States, noting that the agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was designed to undermine the anti-graft crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, the ruling party appealed to all citizens across the federation to remain calm and peaceful while specifically assuring all southerners living in all northern states of safety and security.
The partyâ€™s Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, gave the assurance in a statement he issued yesterday, reaffirming the stand of the party that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable.
Shuaibu lamented that the upheaval as orchestrated by the separatist group â€œis already threatening the APC-led government promise and resolve to guarantee security of life and property.â€
He therefore likened the IPOB agitation â€œto a deceitful attempt at providing cover for corruption. The IPOB resurgence is deliberate. It has to do with the stand of President Muhammadu Buhari on corruption.
â€œNaturally, when you fight corruption, it fights back and it does so dirty. Corruption targets all angles of governance, with the aim of a suicide bomber not minding who could be a victim or even threatens the countryâ€™s nationhood,â€ the deputy national chairman said.
Shuaibu assured all southerners living in the North of safety and security, noting that the safety of southerners, particularly of Igbo extraction, â€œis not under threat anywhere in the North.â€
He noted that the APC reaffirmed its stand on the sanctity of Nigeriaâ€™s unity, saying it would not support attempts by groups and individuals to disintegrate and break up Nigeria.
While not interfering with the statutory works of the security agencies, Shuaibu said the party would continue to do everything possible to guarantee security of life and property in all parts of the country.Â
In complimenting the works of the security agencies, the deputy national chairman urged all citizens â€œto support and cooperate with the agencies. Security is everyoneâ€™s business. Every citizen must, as a matter of fact, cooperate with all our security agencies.
â€œAs of today, I can assure Nigerians that traditional rulers, religious leaders, youth groups and opinion moulders in the North are busy sensitising the northern populace to maintain restraint and avoid any sort of reprisal arising from the attacks on northerners in Abia and Rivers States.
â€œWe assure all Igbo communities living in the North of safety. We assure you all to go about your normal businesses.Â What the APC will not give assurance is any discussion challenging the corporate existence of the country as one indissoluble entity,â€ Shuaibu explained.
He added that the issue of security of life and property â€œhas always been one of the main agenda of the APC. I am bold to say that we are succeeding. In spite of current security challenges, you will agree with me that it is not the same as when we took over government.
â€œWe can always negotiate every aspect of the nationâ€™s resources aimed at improved unity. But what is non-negotiable is the oneness of Nigeria. The indivisibility of Nigeria is sacrosanct. Nigeria, as a multiethnic and multicultural nation, is bound to accept changes in our constitution to reflect various genuine agitations that could further foster unity,â€ he explained.
He warned the IPOB against its threat that the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra would not hold, insisting that that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in conjunction with the security agencies could determine the fate of the poll in the state.
Shuaibu explained that the INEC â€œhas the responsibility to determine, in collaboration with security agencies, whether an election is possible in a crisis ridden part of the country or not.â€
According to him, political parties are only invited by INEC and briefed not because there is much choice left for parties. So, the APC is set for Anambra State election in November except where INEC directs otherwise.