Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Nigerian government is ready to deal with persons who promote hate speech and divisive comments.
Mr. Osinbajo stated this Tuesday while meeting with a cross section of leaders from northern Nigeria at the Aso Rock Villa Abuja.
The meeting came after some youth groups in the north gave all Igbo people three months to leave the region.
Mr. Osinbajo said the government was determined to ensure the unity of Nigeria “along the lines of our constitution”.
“And I want to say that hate and divisive speech or divisive behavior where it is illegal will be met with the full force of the law,” he said.
The acting president added: “I want to ensure that there is no doubt at all that it is the resolve of the government that none will be allowed to get away with making speeches that can cause sedition or that can cause violence especially because when we make these kinds of pronouncement and do things that can cause violence or destruction of lives and property we are no longer in control.
“Those who make those speeches are no longer in control.
“So I want to emphasise that government will take very seriously any attempts to cause violence or disrupt the peace of this country and that is very important because you cannot control violence once it begins,” he said.
He called on the northern leaders to take his message down to the people.
He said Nigerians will continue to live together, adding, “as part of living together I know that misunderstandings and frustrations will always arise and people will always want to get the best part of the deal but we must be careful to recognize that we can only begin to talk about any part of anything if we are together in peace.
“These days, wars do not end and I am sure that those who have seen or experienced war in any shape or form will not wish it on their worst enemies.”
“This is not a time to retreat behind ethnic lines, moments like this are not for isolating ourselves, I want to urge all of us here and the entire Nigerian populace to come together and work together,” Mr. Osinbajo said.
The acting president will also meet with leaders from the south east on Wednesday.
Those at Tuesday’s meeting include Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representative, Yakubu Dogara, Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olanishakin, chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum and former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie, Ango Abdullahi, former governor of Sokoto State and current Senator, Aliyu Wamako, former deputy governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen, Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Ndah-Isaiah, Paul Unongo, as well as the Chairman Liberty Radio/Television, Tijjani Ramalan and the Editor in Chief of Daily Trust newspapers, Mannir Dan Ali among others.