The Presidency has said President Muhammadu Buhari can neither be intimidated nor bullied into giving in to the threats of secessionists in the country.
The statement is sequel to the growing wave of secessionist agitations in some parts of the country.
Describing the secessionists as mercantile agents who were only out for pecuniary gains, the Presidency said Buhari will not open the vaults to share free money to anyone.
This was stated by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, yesterday in Abuja while giving a scorecard of the Buhari administration at an event organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Professional Forum at the national secretariat of the party.
According to Shehu, there was no need for calls for the convocation of a national conference, saying with an elected parliament in place, having such a conference was a non-issue.
He added that the Boko Haram terrorists are currently fighting for survival as the Federal Government had cut their supply chain.
Shehu said, “On the unity of this country and the calls for secession and the insinuation that the Presidency is not talking, the Presidency has been talking. And our position is that this country is one, is united, and by the grace of God will continue to be united.
“Look, one thing with this President and the National Secretary of the party has said a bit of that, you cannot intimidate Buhari; you cannot bully him. A lot of these people who are calling for secession are the problem of this country and I am happy that reasonable opinion, reasonable voices are now rising. Is it not only yesterday we were reading Afenifere, the most credible faction of Afenifere saying they were not for secession?
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said this over and over again. So this thing about secession is, they had used it in the past. You create secession and break up Nigeria and then you intimidate the sitting leader and then he opens the vaults and brings money to settle people.
“President Buhari will pay no one. He is not going to pay and and now, it is clear that having ignored all of that, reasonable opinions are coming from those states and from those regions.
“Now, the thing about the South-East is part of the earlier conversation we just had now. Criminals are fighting to gain the upper hand but I tell you that no criminal or terrorist is bigger than this country. None of them is mightier than our armed forces.
“This structure has been there. They were certificated and praised for World War One, World War Two, they stabilized the entire West Africa region. Without Nigeria, would there be Liberia in its present form? Would there be Sierra Leone in its present form, even Gambia? So just give it time and support and pray, we will win against these forces.
“The governors in the South-West, we have all heard them, they have denounced all of these things. So, it is a sham, Nigerians want to be one, they want to continue. Yes, there are problems and we are hoping that as people united and loving of one another, we will come together and solve our problems and that leads me to the next question, whether there should be national conference?
“What will national conference do more than a parliament? Anyone who is a democrat at heart, in practice in their beliefs, should believe in the tripartite structure of government. In governments that are democratic, there must be a parliament, the executive arm of the government and the judiciary, each one being independent and cooperating with the other.
‘’We have an elected parliament, which mandate is to be the custodian of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people.
“Look, a lot of these people who are crying for this secession are unelectable. If you think you are electable, go around for a parliamentary seat, whether House of Representatives or Senate, and come and table an amendment to the constitution.
‘’The process is on-going as we speak now under the Deputy Senate President. They are calling for memoranda; why can’t you present what you want? So the issue is that people who are not democrats want a parallel parliament to be set up and this constitution does not recognize two parliaments in this country.
“We have one parliament that is sovereign, that is the custodian of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people. If your member representing you has failed to present this request that you want, whether it is change of structure at state, local government or national level, pull him out four years after, don’t vote for him. Put another representative who will do what you want. This is how democracy works — periodic elections.”
He also described President Buhari’s onslaught against corruption and other social vices as total and unsparing, saying not even his family members who run foul of the law would be spared.