Acknowledging this reality, President Muhammadu Buhari in his Independence Day broadcast, today, said “the past 18 months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria. Since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period.
“Our original priorities for 2020 were to continue stabilising our economy following the deep recession while restoring peace in areas confronted with security challenges, but the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on all nations meant we needed to shift gears and re-strategise.
“Despite the global inequity in access to vaccines, the government has continued to explore all available options to ensure Nigerians have free access to safe and effective vaccines.
“But as our economy continues to open after the COVID-19-related lockdowns, we have also seen the resurgence of insecurity in certain parts of the country.”
Reeling out steps taken to address the problem, President Buhari said the government was ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or action.
“Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering. I use this day to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever their grievances.
“The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words. Reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and the destruction of properties.
“Such unfiltered and unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches by a few evil persons must be stopped. Our media houses and commentators must move away from just reporting irresponsible remarks to investigating the truth behind all statements and presenting the facts to readers.
“We shall continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.
“The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly.”
Speaking on the suspension of Twitter in the country now nearing its fourth month, the President said: “Social media is a very useful platform that has enabled millions of Nigerians to connect with loved ones, promote their businesses, socialise, and access news and other information.
“However, recent events have shown that the platform is not just an innocuous platform for information dissemination. Rather some users have misused the platform to organise, coordinate, and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.