President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration is ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or actions.
He said his government’s resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remained resolute and unwavering.
In a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary on Friday in Abuja, the Nigerian leader vowed to continue to ensure the welfare and security of lives and properties of all citizens in line with the nation’s constitution.
The president advised all citizens to always avoid violence while trying to settle grievances or socio-political misunderstandings, saying grievances could be settled peacefully.
“In line with Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the security and welfare of Nigerians continue to be the prime focus on which programmes and projects of our government revolve.
“Therefore, as a government, we are ready to arrest and prosecute all persons inciting violence through words or action. Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.
“That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.
“I will, therefore, take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances.
“The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words. Reckless utterances of a few have led to the loss of many innocent lives and the destruction of properties.
“Such unfiltered and unsubstantiated lies and hate speeches by a few evil persons must be stopped,’’ he maintained.
President Buhari also enjoined media houses and commentators to always move away from merely reporting irresponsible remarks to investigating the truth behind all statements and presenting the facts to readers.
“We must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled.
“At this point, I would want to sincerely appreciate the large number of our traditional, religious and community leaders, as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, in their various fora, are openly spreading the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities.
“Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation,’’ he said.
He reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances.