President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday fired back at advocates of secession, saying they are desperate in their quest for political power and are seeking to achieve it through blackmail.
He however called for unity and oneness among Nigerians, noting that it is the way they can overcome present challenges and achieve the lofty dreams of the nation’s founding fathers.
In his Sallah message yesterday, the president sent his best wishes to all Nigerians and Muslims across the globe as they mark the Eid el-Fitr celebration following the completion of a month of fasting.
On those calling for secession, Buhari said, “We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.
“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”
In a message signed by him, President Buhari expressed hope the Eid festival would bring with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.
He noted: “Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians, are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.
“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.
According to the president, it is noteworthy and delightful to see Christians breaking fast and, in some instances, extending goodwill and gifts to Muslim faithful during the Ramadan.
“This model also shone through with Muslim groups joining Christian festivities. These are practices that promote brotherhood and forgiveness,” he said.
President Buhari also urged Nigerians to continue to observe all COVID-19 prevention measures and celebrate responsibly during the holidays.