President Bola Tinubu on Thursday met with Islamic leaders under the auspices of the Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) at the Council Chambers of the State House.
The President while addressing the Islamic leaders said the coup in Gabon on Wednesday has confirmed his fear about Niger Republic.
Naija News recalls that military officers on Wednesday took over power from President Ali Bongo in Gabon.
President Tinubu in his address to the religious leaders led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III said all diplomatic options will be exhausted with the military junta in Niger Republic before any last resort of military intervention comes into the picture.
He insisted that any forceful removal of a democratic government remains “wholly unacceptable.”
Tinubu said, “I must thank you for your several visits to Niger Republic, Your Eminence, but you will still have to go back. My fear has been confirmed in Gabon that copycats will start doing the same thing until it is stopped. We are neighbours with Niger Republic, and what has joined Nigerians together with their great people cannot be broken. Nobody is interested in a war. We have seen the devastation in Ukraine and Sudan. But, if we don’t wield the big stick, we will all suffer the consequences together.”
Tinubu noted that Nigeria, under General Abdulsalami Abubakar, instituted a nine-month transition programme in 1998, and it proved very successful, leading the country into a new era of democratic governance.
The President sees no reason why such can not be replicated in Niger, If Niger’s military authorities are sincere.
He further stated, “Your Eminence, please don’t get tired, you will still go back there. The soldiers’ action is unacceptable. The earlier they make positive adjustments, the quicker we will dial back the sanctions to alleviate the sufferings we are seeing in Niger.”
Speaking on the hardship faced by many Nigerians following the removal of fuel subsidy, the President assured that all ongoing reforms will liberate and reposition the economy, which will benefit the majority of the population in terms of opportunities, infrastructure, healthcare and education.
Tinubu added, “Nigeria is headed for a promise. Our diversity will turn into prosperity, not adversity. We will build a country that our children will be proud of.”
The President told the delegation that the Federal Government had opened talks with State Governments to provide land for the proper sustenance of animals with a view to developing pan-national animal husbandry and agro-allied production and processing facilities for mass export, job creation and revenue generation.
He said, “If Nigeria is still looking for vaccines for basic health issues; if infant and maternal mortality is rampant, then we should examine ourselves. I will commit to consulting with other leaders, like the NSCIA, and we will meet the needs of our people.”
The Vice President, Kashim Shettima while speaking at the meeting said the President had budgeted N50 billion to support the ongoing rebuilding of lives and property in the North West and North East, and with a new focus on dialogue to address security challenges.
The Sultan of Sokoto reportedly pledged loyalty to the President, affirming that a leader can only reach a position by the will of God, and not man.
He assured the President that the NSCIA would be available to advise and support President Tinubu to realize his dream for the country, adding that “God will hold all leaders to account, in justice and fairness.”
He suggested that the distribution of palliatives across the country should be monitored and augmented, where it fails to reach some of the people who remain in dire need.
The Sultan said, “I honestly believe we will come out of the challenges stronger.”
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