The Presidency has said the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would not allow the fundamental human right to freely express personal or regional views to be abused to the extent of sabotaging the unity of the country.
It also commended security and intelligence forces for their recent deft operations, which culminated in the arrest and extradition of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and the bursting of the ‘armoury’ of the lead proponent of the Yoruba Nation protests, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency said the Buhari administration respects the right of citizens to freely express their views and opinions, noting that it is a tenet of democracy.
It, however, charged security and intelligence agencies to sustain their speed and level of professionalism to stamp out the growing incidences of the kidnapping of school children and other cities in the Northwestern part of the country.
The statement reads: “Last week, we saw the enhanced collaboration of the Nigerian Law Enforcement Agencies, as they executed with great synchronization arrests of individuals who had inflicted pain and hardships on fellow citizens.
“The subversive leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a group known for its murderous actions and virulent messaging was detained as a result of cross-border cooperation.
“This international operation was executed in a closely coordinated fashion following which he was handed over to our National Intelligence Agency, and then returned to Nigeria to face the Law.
“The violence inspired by IPOB has led to hundreds of fatalities, particularly targeted at government assets and law enforcement agents.
“Additionally, there have been at last count, fifty (55) separate violent attacks, heavily concentrated in the South-East, which heaped further hardship on our honest and hardworking citizens, preventing them from earning their livelihood and going about their normal lives.
“The government had long been monitoring the activities of IPOB and had strong cause to believe that their funding sources include proceeds of suspected illicit criminal activities. By this singular action of our security forces, sanity, calm and peace have been returned to our communities who previously lived in constant fear of these misguided elements.
“In furtherance of continued diligent work, the State Security Service on Thursday, 1st July raided the residence of a militant ethnic secessionist, who has also been conducting acts of terror and disturbing the peace under the guise of protecting fellow “kinsmen”.
“His seditious utterances and antics, which he is known to have publicly expressed, have over time morphed into very hateful and vile laden speeches.
“It must be highlighted that the government respects fundamental rights of citizens to express their views and recognizes this as a democratic tenet. However, any attempt to build an armoury, coupled with plans either subtle or expressed, to undermine our unity as a nation will not be condoned.
“Mr President’s directives to security services regarding anyone has seen to be carrying arms, particularly AK-47, are clear and require no further illumination. Assault weapons are not tools of peace-loving people and as such, regardless of who they are and where they are from, the security agencies should treat them all the same.
“The successes of our security agencies must be commended as they have demonstrated significant deftness, guile, and secrecy in carrying out these missions.
“This level of professionalism must be sustained and brought to bear as we focus on extracting from our society those who have found a new trade-in targeting students, rural dwellers, and our citizens in the Northwest. The nation recognizes their efforts and sacrifice.”