The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF) on Monday hit back at the presidency over its response to the growing call for restructuring.
The forum expressed dismay over what it called “the very uncouth and rude warning” issued by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu to groups and individuals including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye calling for restructuring.
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Shehu had issued a statement on Sunday warning that the presidency would not succumb to threat by groups saying Nigeria would break up without restructuring.
“The Presidency responds to the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to do one thing or another or else, in their language, “the nation will break up.”
“This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the Covid-19 health crisis,” the presidential spokesperson had said on Sunday.
But the SMBLF in a joint statement endorsed by Yinka Odumakin (South West); Chief Guy Ikokwu (South East); Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt) said the Buhari’s administration cannot cow them to silence.
“We are perturbed that instead of giving assurances about rebuilding the country towards inclusivity, the regime is talking down on Nigeria in very intemperate language.
“We want to make it clear to the regime that it cannot cow us by using cantonment approach to national issues. We will not accept turning us to second class citizens on our land not even with threats of arrests or assassinations,” the group said.
The SMBLF added, “Therefore, let us restructure now and withdraw from the path of implosion forewarned by patriots at home and abroad.”