The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday again assured Nigerians that the present administration was not deaf to grievances in parts of the country.
While urging that such grievances should be expressed with grace, he said the Federal Government would address all of them.
The assurance was contained in a statement made available to journalists by the Senior Special Assistant to the acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.
Akande, while summing up the series of consultations Osinbajo had with critical stakeholders on the agitations in parts of the country, said the acting President assured his guests that the government would address their grievances.
He said while the consultations were concluded last week, the Presidency would continue to actively engage with different segments of the Nigerian population at different stages and format in the near future.
He explained that the consultations were meant to provide a platform for frank and open discussions between the concerned stakeholders and by extension the Nigerian public on issues relating to the unity, peace and security of the country.
He disclosed that the meetings touched on various issues relating to the ethnic agitations that had manifested most recently in a call for secession by some youth groups from the South-East and the ultimatum given by northern youths to south-easterners living in the North to leave the region by October 1.
Akande said the meetings condemned all the hate and divisive rhetoric by the concerned groups; affirmed the primacy of the nation’s constitution, which guarantees freedom of residence and of movement for all Nigerians anywhere in the country, without fear of discrimination or prejudice; and affirmed the need to draw a line between the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution and the degeneration of such expression into hateful rhetoric, prejudice and hatred.
He said under no circumstances would government condone or tolerate hate speech in any way or form.
He added, “The meetings also affirmed the necessity of confronting all grievances and frustrations head-on, however uncomfortable that might seem now; instead of ignoring issues and allowing them to fester.
“The meetings affirmed the need for all leaders and elders, regardless of political or ideological persuasion, to speak out more forcefully to counter divisive and hate speeches and any form of warmongering.
“The acting President expresses appreciation to all the leaders for their time and commitment to the unity, peace and progress of the Nigerian nation.
“He also assures the Nigerian people of the determination and resolve of the Buhari administration to ensure their well-being and security at all times.
“The Federal Government will continue to actively engage with Nigerians of all shades and opinions in its bid to move the country forward on a path of socio-economic development and ultimate greatness.”