Ismaila Chafe, NAN: Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday met with Southeast governors and other leaders of thought from the region and urged them not to be tempted into a tit-for-tat amid hate speeches across the country.
In his opening remarks at the meeting with the leaders of thought held at the old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo urged them to always speak out against hate speeches and comments capable of polarising the country along ethnic, sectional and religious lines.
He stated that the meeting was “very urgent and crucial’’ because of the current loud voices of hate speeches and divisive comments resonating across the country, stressing that the situation required urgent attention from all concerned.
According to him, this is not the time to hide under any ethnic or religious platform to support comments that divide rather than unite us as a nation.
He, therefore, urged leaders to raise their voices against the present strident divisive speeches in the country, saying that “violence pays no one.
“Violence and war are not going to do anyone any good. Wars today hardly end. No one who has seen the face of wars even on television who wish it for anyone.
“We should not tolerate hate speeches or divisive comments.’’
The acting president reiterated the Federal Government’s resolve to deal with any troublemaker who threatens the peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.
“There is no doubt on the resolve the of government to allow anyone get away with hate speeches and divisive words.
“Our emotion should not be allowed to run wide so as to threaten the existence of anyone anywhere in Nigeria.
“We will do everything within our power to protect the lives of every citizen anywhere and in any part of the country.’’
He thanked the leaders for their prompt response to the consultative meeting.
Those who attended the meeting included the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Gov. Willy Obiano of Anambra and Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo.
Others included Chief of staff to the president Abba Kyari, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, NSA, chief of defence staff, service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and ministers.
Former Senate President Ken Namani, Senator Eyinaya Abaribe, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Catholic Awka Bishop Okoye, Igwebike Onah Catholic archbishop of Nssuka, Senator Joy Emordi, Prof. Viola Nwuleri also attended the meeting.
It would be recalled that the Acting President on Tuesday began consultations with leaders of thought from the North and warned that the government would deal decisively with persons who make hate speeches or attempt to disrupt the peace of the country.
The meeting was a sequel to the calls for secession by youth from different ethnic groups in the country resulting in some asking others to vacate their enclave before Oct. 1.
The Acting President noted that that was not what the country desired at this time and urged those involved to desist or face the full weight of law.