President Bola Tinubu on Thursday said all diplomatic options would be exhausted with the military junta in Niger Republic before any military intervention.
A statement on Thursday in Abuja by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said Mr Tinubu also reiterated the non-acceptance of forceful removal of a democratic government.
Mr Tinubu stated this when he received the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, at the State House.
“I must thank you for your several visits to Niger Republic, Your Eminence, but you will still have to go back. My fear has been confirmed in Gabon that copy cats will start doing the same thing until it is stopped.
‘’We are neighbours with Niger Republic, and what has joined Nigerians together with their great people cannot be broken. Nobody is interested in a war. We have seen the devastation in Ukraine and Sudan. But, if we don’t wield the big stick, we will all suffer the consequences together,” the president said.
Mr Tinubu noted that Nigeria, under former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, instituted a nine-month transition programme in 1998 that led the country into a new era of democratic governance.
The president said that such action can be replicated in Niger Republic if the military authorities are sincere.
“Your Eminence, please don’t get tired, you will still go back there. The soldiers’ action is unacceptable. The earlier they make positive adjustments, the quicker we will dial back the sanctions to alleviate the sufferings we are seeing in Niger,” the president said.
On the hardship faced by many Nigerians post-fuel subsidy removal, the president assured that all ongoing reforms would reposition the economy and benefit the majority of the population in terms of opportunities, infrastructure, healthcare and education.
“Nigeria is headed for a promise. Our diversity will turn into prosperity, not adversity. We will build a country that our children will be proud of,” the president assured.
He told the delegation that the federal government was collaborating with state governments for provision of land for pan-national animal husbandry and agro-allied production as well as processing facilities for mass export, job creation and revenue generation.
“If Nigeria is still looking for vaccines for basic health issues; if infant and maternal mortality is rampant, then we should examine ourselves. I will commit to consulting with other leaders, like the NSCIA, and we will meet the needs of our people,” he said.
Vice President Kashim Shettima also said that the president had budgeted N50 billion to support the ongoing rebuilding of lives and property in the North-west West and North-east.
He said that this gesture was with a new focus on dialogue to address security challenges and complement the kinetic efforts.
The Sultan of Sokoto pledged “one hundred per cent loyalty” to the president, affirming that a leader can only reach a position by the will of God, and not man.
The sultan assured the president that the NSCIA would be available for advice and support toward realising his dream for the country, adding that “God will hold all leaders to account, in justice and fairness.”
He suggested that the distribution of palliatives across the country should be monitored and augmented, where it fails to reach some of the people who remain in dire need.
“I honestly believe we will come out of the challenges stronger,” the Sultan said .
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