By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the essence of the unity of Nigeria, urging those contemplating its break-up to have a rethink.
The President said this at a meeting with the Council of South-East Traditional Rulers at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
In a statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, the President warned that the question of having another country out of Nigeria was misplaced.
“The question of having another country out of Nigeria is going to be very difficult.
“From 1914, we have more than 200 cultures living with one another. God had endowed this country with natural resources and talented people.
“We should concentrate on these and be very productive,” he said.
Addressing specific issues raised by the traditional rulers, the President assured that the South-East would also benefit from the new railway architecture being put in place by his administration.
On their request for more representation for the South-East in his government, Buhari said that he was “very conscious of the sensitivities of the South East”, on account of which, he gave the region’s four out of five states senior ranking ministers in the federal cabinet.
He appreciated the good work of the ministers from the region in the federal government, saying that “they are doing very well for the country”.
He appealed to the traditional rulers from the South East to persuade their people to give his government a chance and to continue to serve as beacons of culture and traditions of their people.
The president assured the delegation that kidnapping and cattle rustling, which he described as “unfortunate” would be the government’s next target “now that we have managed to calm down the North-East”.
In taking note of the profuse commendation for his administration’s war against corruption and insecurity by the traditional rulers, Buhari frowned at the endless nature of some ongoing trials, citing some of the cases as going far back to the tenure of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
“We are asking the judiciary to clean itself. Nigerians are tired of waiting. They want some actions,” he said.
The president said he hoped that the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria and Attorney-General of the Federation would come to “some form of agreement by which specially designated courts will give accelerated hearing to some corruption cases that are pending.
“We want Nigerians to know we are serious”.
Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Dr Eberechi Dick, had made requests for roads and other projects, among other issues, even as he assured the President of their support for his leadership and programmes.