President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said the government has identified a lawmaker in the National Assembly as one of the high-profile financiers of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho.
Buhari disclosed this in his nationwide broadcast to Nigerians to mark the nation’s 61st independence anniversary.
Though he refused to name the alleged sponsors, according to him, his regime is vigorously pursuing the financiers.
He added that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.
He said, “Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.
“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.
“This is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youths to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
“As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.”
Buhari threatened to arrest and prosecute people sponsoring violence and making hate speeches.
“As a government, we are 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.
“That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.
“I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your 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 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 must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled. At this point, I would want to sincerely appreciate the large number of our traditional, religious, and community leaders as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, in their various fora are openly spreading the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities.”
Describing the past 18 months as probably Nigeria’s toughest period since the civil war of 1967-1970, Buhari 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.”