The Presidency has appealed to prominent Nigerians, who have national influence, to desist from making inciting statements but rather use their influence wisely.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made the appeal in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday.
The presidential aide said the appeal became necessary to caution Nigerians against engaging in public declarations that were likely to inflame emotional passions and threaten national security.
He said: “The Presidency is very worried that criminal gangs will feel justified in defying legal governing and democratic institutions, and authority of legitimately elected democratic government if unrestrained pronouncements are made.
“Silence can be dignified, but sometimes it can be misinterpreted and exploited. It is both shocking and scary to hear the recent comments by a senior citizen calling for Nigerians to defend themselves.
“The Presidency commends the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability, despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilize the country and government for their selfish reasons.
“What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organized, trained and equipped military?’’
Shehu, therefore, advised former leaders to use the various fora where people with a history of national security could offer advice to the government without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments.
“The civil war motto: “TO KEEP NIGERIA ONE IS A TASK THAT MUST BE DONE” rings very timely at this time in our nation’s history. We must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia,’’ he concluded.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the statement by a former minister of defence, retired Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, that the military was failing to protect Nigerians from attacks had continued to attract reactions from prominent Nigerians.
The latest of such reactions came from the Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which raised concerns that security agencies in the country may have been corrupted ahead of the 2019 general elections.
A spokesman for the group, Mr Akin Osuntokun, who stated this in an interview with a national newspaper, said the statement credited to TY Danjuma that the security agencies were allegedly failing in their duties should not be dismissed.
Gov. Darius Ishaku of Taraba had on Tuesday also blamed the nation’s security heads for allegedly doing nothing to check security threats in the state. (NAN)