As Nigeria enters a new phase in the battle against Boko Haram, President Muhammadu Buhari has alerted that misguided people have decided to take up arms against the country.
“These people must be brought to face the full weight of the law,’’ he warned.
In a new message on Sunday, Buhari urged Nigerians to be on the alert and watch out for strange figures settling in their communities, and report to the nearest security agencies.
Aside the remnants of Boko Haram fleeing from the captured Sambisa Forest to mix with public to inflict mayhem, other groups in states were fomenting trouble.
The ugly crises across some states, he said, could not be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness.
“In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country.
“We will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.
“The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed.’’
He advised that some sections of the press and some politicians should avoid provocative and inflammatory statements, and promised that the government was painstakingly trying to find solutions to national challenges.
“I want to remind you on the first day of this New Year of an African proverb that says “it is easy to break a broomstick but not a bunch”.
He said that Nigeria was a bunch and more than equal to troublemakers.
“I have interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerians, the old and the young, and they have told me unequivocally that they believe in the unity and stability of Nigeria.
Nigerians should support security agencies to enable them successfully execute their mandate of effectively securing the country.
“The year 2017 provides an opportunity for us to build on those aspects of our national life that unite us. We are courageous, hardworking, hospitable, steadfast and resilient people, even in the face of difficulties.
“These are the attributes that define us and have for years confounded the pessimists who do not believe in our continued existence as a united and indivisible nation.’’
He said that Nigerians should continue to support and tolerate one another and live together as one.
Buhari promised to continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta and appealed to the oil rich region against taking to violence, disruptions of economic infrastructure and to embrace dialogue.
“As for our brothers and sisters of the Shia Community, we urge them, too, to embrace peace. They must accept the laws of the country they live in.
“They cannot be islands by themselves. At the same time, the law enforcement agencies must treat them humanely and according to the rule of law.’’
He said that the government, had since inauguration on May 29, 2015 focused energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation.
“I am encouraged that we are getting things right.
“The agricultural revolution has begun. Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning.
“ I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.’’