Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday called on northern traditional rulers to counsel their youths who see ethnic confrontation as a game.
The acting president said, “Let us continue to counsel the misguided elements among our youth, who think that ethnic confrontation is a game and that words can be thrown around carelessly without repercussion.”
Osinbajo made the call at the Presidential Villa in Abuja while meeting the monarchs in furtherance of his consultations with critical stakeholders over the agitation for Biafra and the October 1 eviction deadline given by some northern youths to Igbo residents in the region.
The acting president said the monarchs have a role to play in countering the voices of divisiveness and the elements seeking to take the nation down a bloody path.
He noted that the Federal Government was not deaf to the legitimate concerns and frustrations arising from around the country, stressing that “Every part of Nigeria has its own grievances. But these have to be expressed graciously and managed with mutuality rather than with scorn and disdain.”
Osinbajo described the place and role of traditional leaders as significant as they are the custodians of cultures and traditions, and living embodiments of the nation’s rich heritage.
“You are, by virtue of your vast knowledge, wisdom and experience, both a vital link with our past, and an important guarantee for the success of our future. This is why your role in national affairs is critical,” he said.
He said in all his previous engagements with northern and south-eastern leaders, there was a consensus that Nigeria is stronger and better together, “And that these hate-filled and divisive rhetoric and agitations are unjustifiable, unacceptable and often times illegal.
“Nigeria has seen enough violence and bloodshed in its history; the price of our unity has already been paid in the blood and lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians.”
The acting president reassured of the government’s commitment to the unity of Nigeria, “And that upon the foundation of that unity we can together build a prosperous and great country.”
The meeting was attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Sa’ad; the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi; Wazirin Katsina, Sani Luga; Etsu Nupe Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar; Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari; Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Mustapha Agwai II; representative of Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Kyari Umar El-Kanemi, Shehu of Bama; Gbong Gwon Jos, Jacob Buba Jang; Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Abubakar Shehu Abubakar and the Attah of Igala, Ndakwo Ameh Oboni 11.
Others were Emir of Fika, Alhaji Muhammadu Ibn Abali; Emir of Zamfara, Alhaji Attahiru Ahmed Muhammed; Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse; Emir of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Buba Baba Yinusa; Emir of Jama’a, Alhaji Muhammadu Isah Muhammadu; Emir of Gumi, Justice Lawal Hassan and Etsu Karu, Alhaji Emmanuel.
Others present were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonaya Onu; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.