President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, promised harsh consequences for persons who pit themselves against Nigeria’s sovereignty and security.

He also said his administration had made considerable gains against banditry and kidnapping through intensified campaigns buoyed by intelligence gathering.

“Those who think they can threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria will have themselves to blame. They have a price to pay. And we are not going to relent,” Tinubu said when he received leaders of the Yoruba socio-political Organisation, Afenifere, at the State House in Abuja on Wednesday.

The delegation was led by the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, Oba Olu Falae, and other eminent citizens.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed the details of Wednesday’s talks in a statement titled, ‘President Tinubu receives leaders of Afenifere, says the administration is resolute in achieving economic security in a fair and equitable system for all Nigerians.’

Speaking on security, the President declared that those who threatened the sovereignty of Nigeria would pay a heavy price.

The declaration by Tinubu came days after Yoruba Nation agitators, dressed in military camouflage and armed with guns, stormed the Oyo State Government Secretariat, attempting to hoist the Yoruba Nation flag on the premises of the Oyo State House of Assembly.

The Yoruba Nation promoters are seeking the breakaway of the Yoruba people from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

They contended that the interest of the Yoruba people had not been adequately protected in Nigeria, saying their welfare would be better taken care of under a separate sovereign entity to be known as Yoruba Nation.

But Tinubu speaking on Wednesday, vowed to keep Nigeria as one.

The President said, “I am irrevocably committed to the unity of Nigeria and constitutional democracy. Constitutional democracy has been reflected greatly here since we assumed office. What we face now is the challenge of terrorism.

“Security of life and property is necessary for development. I can tell you we are achieving success. We have degraded terrorism to a level that it can no longer threaten Nigeria’s sovereignty.

“Banditry and kidnapping will be defeated. And there is no payment of ransom whatsoever. We are taking the battle to them. We are getting results more rapidly than before. We are working hard on intelligence gathering.”

The President said his administration was re-engineering Nigeria’s finances and seeking to boost citizens’ purchasing power and spread prosperity by instituting a credit system where the element of cash does not impede a significantly enhanced standard of living for all citizens.

He argued that Nigeria must first secure itself economically before achieving its more sophisticated objectives.

“We are committed to our country’s economic survival. To re-engineer our country’s finances, we must start in earnest,” he explained.

According to Tinubu, this will require first retooling, revamping the economic opportunities available, and continuing to take the necessary firm, steady baby steps.

“Education is a strong weapon against poverty. To empower the people, we must invest in the future of our youths.

“We have seen the problems parents face in training their children in school; it is why we established the National Student Loan Programme, which is taking off well,” he explained.

He assured the Yoruba leaders that his administration would emphasise the Consumer Credit Scheme and provide allowances for the unemployed to reduce the high unemployment rate.

“We must help vulnerable people by providing social security.

“We are looking at how to provide allowances for the unemployed, and we are developing ways to boost the purchasing power of citizens with the Consumer Credit Scheme.

“If we remove the cash upfront element to buy a car or a house, we will reduce the propensity for fraud and corruption across the land,” President Tinubu said.

He thanked the delegation for their prayers and support and assured them he would not relent in his resolve to advance Nigeria.

“God bless Nigeria. God bless our unity; our diversity must bring prosperity for all for the sake of Nigeria,” Tinubu concluded.

Earlier in his remarks, Oba Olu Falae commended the President for his courageous decisions, the rehabilitation of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, and other critical ongoing projects.

Oba Falae urged the President not to relent in ensuring fairness and equity for all Nigerians while noting the importance of a constitutional amendment to devolve more powers to the states.

He said, “We are delighted about what you are doing for our country, and we assure you of our continued support.

“We thank you for visiting Akure in February 2024 and believe it is proper to reciprocate your kind gesture.

“We appreciate this relationship, and we need to make it work in the interest of Nigeria.”

Describing President Tinubu as the most important political figure in Africa, the monarch conveyed the elders’ expectations of him to lead the country with knowledge, courage and integrity.

“We have no doubt that your tenure will mark a turning point in our country’s history. Under your leadership, Nigeria will be repositioned,” he said.

The Afenifere Chief also promised firm support for the President, saying, “We will stand by you as you make all efforts to improve the Nigeria story. Be assured that Afenifere will not abandon you in fair or foul weather. As long as you remain faithful to the principles of fairness, integrity, and courage expected of you as the leader of Nigeria, we will stand by you.”


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