Quit notice: Stop playing politics with national security, Osinbajo warns govs - Trends and Politics


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Quit notice: Stop playing politics with national security, Osinbajo warns govs

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has warned state governors against playing politics with national security especially over the quit notice given to the Igbo living in the 19 states of the north by a coalition northern groups.
Osinbajo reiterated that Nigeria's Constitution guaranteed all Nigerians to live in any parts of the country without molestations, just as he warned people talking carelessly in a way that would threaten the unity of the country.
He gave the warning when he met with the 36 governors at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, further noted that the Constitution guarantees freedom of expressions but he said that it must be done in a decent way.
He said, “There is a part of all of these agitations and statements that are made that is fair and may well be considered as freedom of expression. Clearly, we are all allowed to express our views and there is a part of this that is expected in any healthy and robust democracy, people arguing and disagreeing sometimes even silently.
But borderline has to be drawn and that is when conversations or agitations degenerate into hateful rhetoric where the narratives degenerate to pejorative name-calling, expressions of outright prejudice and hatred.

We must sometimes ensure that even in the use of words, we are careful essentially because the kinds of problems that we have seen, the kinds of conflagration that we have seen all over the world even in our own society…..the use of words. Some words can carry a lot of weights and so important that responsible use of words, the responsible expression of dissent is taken as priority.
We must not allow the careless use of words, the careless expressions that may degenerate into conflicts and may degenerate into crisis.
As I said, our constitution guarantee freedom of expression and we are a people who like to talk and we talk and we express ourselves very loudly, we express ourselves in an agitated fashion in some cases but it is important for us to recognize that it is those same words that can cause conflagration, can cause alarm and can ultimately lead to calamity
We must be careful with how we express ourselves. What we have seen in recent times and this is what has brought a lot of the concern because what have seen in recent times is that some of the languages that have been used and some of the expressions have tended to degenerate badly and I think that we must begin to speak up against some of these things and ensure that we protect our democracy and protect our nation from the kinds of rhetoric that may not just divide us but ultimately result in a great deal of trouble.
From all of the consultations, we have all agreed on certain principles. The first is that we have all agreed that Nigeria’s unity should never be taken for granted and that no one wants to see us go done the path of bloodshed or war.
We also agreed on the primacy of the Nigerian constitution, that 1999 constitution is the basis for our unity. It is the basis for the legal contract that exists between all of us as citizens of this country.
The constitution guarantees equality of all Nigerians before the law and the freedom to live and work anywhere in the country in peace and safety without any fear of discrimination or prejudice. That is the guarantee of our constitution and that is the reason why the federal government and state government must be committed to ensuring that every Nigerian citizens lives and works wherever he pleases peacefully and securely.
Our meetings were frank and open as I hope we will able to agree on most of the critical issues that were discussed and in most cases changed perceptions that may have been long embedded in their minds.
We also agreed that under no circumstances should we condone hateful speeches and that government should take all steps necessary to bring to book all those who preach violence, in particular the kind of expressions of dissent that can cause violence.
We also agreed that we need to do more to engage our youth productively, create some jobs,
multiply the economic opportunities available.
More importantly we agreed on the need for leaders to speak out forcefully to counter divisive speech or any kind of war mongering , we agreed that leaders at all levels speak out forcefully against any kind of divisiveness or divisive speech.
And we expect that our political leaders will do so without waiting to be prompted. All of those we spoke to felt that sometimes when leaders do not speak up promptly it always results in degeneration no matter what the problem may be.
This applied to both the statement made by the young people in the South East as well as the youth in the Northern states. We discovered there was a need for much greater resonance in the way that these things are done and for the leaders to speak up more forcefully.
We believe that if the leaders do not speak up forcefully enough if for any reason matters are allowed to degenerate, not only does leadership lose their legitimacy, they run the risk of things going completely out of control.
He commended the leaders from the North and South for their openness at the consultations stating “that they were extremely responsible even in their criticisms of what they felt were issues that should have been better handled.
I think that their criticisms were fair and balanced. I must commend them for their sense of responsibility and their leadership.”
The Acting President further said, “Going back to some of what was said, some of the issues that came up and I hope that we will discuss in greater details are the issues around the herdsmen and farmers crisis, especially the way that some of these have resulted in flashpoint across the country.
We started those discussions during the consultations we had and I believe that we will be able to deepen those discussions in our meeting and possibly hold a more expanded meeting where we will be to take a closer look at it.
It is absolutely important that we are able to make lasting and satisfactory solutions to these problems. Of course the problems are multidimensional but the states have a very important role to play especially because they are in control of land in their territories.
I must say that I trust that all of us appreciate the need to show greater unity of purpose and the determination to work together to resolve various challenges that arise on a constant basis for the benefit of all Nigerians regardless of party affiliations.
We must resist the temptation to play politics especially with matters of security, but to reach for simplistic narratives that might be originally expedient and satisfying but false, deceiving and sometimes unhealthy to proper understanding of the issues.
Sometimes intensions are perceived on the account of the fact that they have wrong

perception about a particular thing. I think it is in our place to ensure that we dig down the fact and ensure that people are given the fact and ensure that we don't colour them with politics.”

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