As the Federal Government tries to find a lasting solution to the hate speech threatening to tear the nation apart, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo yesterday warned those threatening the unity of the country to be mindful of their actions, saying that they should not misuse their democratic right of freedom of speech to endanger the entire democratic enterprise. Professor Osinbajo gave the warning on a day the Defence Headquarters asked Nigerians not to panic over their security wherever they reside in the country, saying it was on top of the nation’s security situation. It then advised the general public to immediately report cases of threats to security of lives and property by individuals or group of persons in any part of the country.
The Acting President who spoke at the graduation ceremony of the 2017 class of Senior Course 39 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna state said that Nigeria could build a new nation that is based on trust, consensus and love for one another where every Nigerian is safe, live and work in any part of the country. He accused the elite of being behind the recent ethnic uprising in the country and the influence of the social media. He said that the great challenge and opportunity before the present generation of Nigeria elite was on how to build a new nation out of the rubble of cynicism, division and suspicions According to him, “We can build a new nation; a new nation built on trust, consensus and love for one another and love for our country . A nation where the rulers do not steal the commonwealth, where every Nigerian is safe to live and work, where the state takes responsibility for the security of each and every Nigerian, where the state knows every Nigerian by name and can find and locate each one of us.” Delivering a speech that hinged on the current hate-filled agitations being witnessed in the polity, the Acting President observed that the elites were largely to be blamed for the festering negative narratives, saying “I would like to emphasize the fact that this was essentially an elite phenomenon, unity and disunity are promoted by the elite which the vast majority of the Nigerian people are only later conscripted.” He cautioned against the misuse of democratic right of freedom of speech saying, “While we must remain irrevocably committed to freedom of expression and the tenets of a free press, we must draw the line between freedom that conduces to healthy democracy and that which threatens and endangers the entire democratic enterprise. It is an important balance that we must strike. Failure in any way will be tragic.”
Quit notice: Don’t panic—DHQ tells Nigerians
Meanwhile, the military said its reassurance to Nigerians over safety to their lives and property came against the backdrop of series of enquiries from some members of the general public following recent threats to the country’s corporate existence. In a statement, released to the media by the Director, Defence Information, Major General John Enenche,the DHQ asked people to go about their normal life wherever they are living without fear or intimidation. The seven-paragraph statement read thus:”There has been so many requests in the recent past, to know from the Military about the safety of Nigerians living in parts of the country, other than their aboriginal habitats.