Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari declared, Wednesday that he was not only fully committed to the unity of Nigeria, but would also devote all his time and energy in promoting it for the benefit of Nigerians.
The president made the pledge while receiving a delegation of Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers led by the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, at the State House.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said the president called for better appreciation of the historical relationships among various communities with a view to sustaining the nation’s unity.
According to the statement, the president observed that the ties between the Tiv and his own ethnic Fulani stock predated him and the current generation, saying they helped in ensuring peaceful and harmonious co-existence among the people.
Buhari also expressed optimism that such cordial bonds would continue to endure among various groups as well as serve as a strong unifying force in the country.
“President Buhari decried the misunderstanding of internal conflicts by many people at home and abroad, citing the farmer-herders clashes which in several places had been misconstrued as religious, when in fact they arose from social and cultural factors.
“He restated his appeal for better understanding of the nation’s diverse cultures in order to engender a healthier co-existence among the people, while fortifying and strengthening the unity of the country.
“Responding to the narration of the Tor Tiv on the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the recent conflicts in the State, the President said he was aware of that, and all that obtains in the Northeast, the Northwest and the South-South,” the statement said.
Buhari noted that it was in realisation of the foregoing and the urgent need to ameliorate the plight of the IDPs that he created the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, “so that we have a ministry that coordinates their demands, and we avoid duplication of resources.”
The president expressed delight with the leadership of the Tor Tiv and other traditional rulers in their various communities as well as for their strong support for his administration.
The president promised to look into the “long list” of the delegation’s demands, and thanked the royal fathers for showing appreciation for what his administration has done in the state in terms of projects’ execution and appointments.
Earlier, the Tor Tiv had described the recent triumph of the president at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal as “God-given victory and mandate to reconstruct, rebuild and unify the country and take it to the Next Level of socio-economic development.
“We are here to pledge our support and encouragement to your administration and its laudable programmes.”