Mohammed

Fed Govt Cautions Elites Promoting Disintegration

The Federal Government has urged Nigerian elites to stop fanning the embers of disintegration.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, who gave the admonition in Abuja yesterday, said they would bear the brunt more if the country breaks up.

He spoke when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship interview programme, NAN Forum to discuss the fallouts from the Town Hall Meeting on National Security organised by the Federal Government on April 8 in Kaduna.

The minister said one of the resolutions at the event was the need to build elite consensus on peace, unity and the indivisibility of Nigeria,

“Our challenge is more with the elites, not with the common people. “Go to the remotest part of Nigeria today, you will see Nigerians from different tribes, culture and religion living together peacefully.

“Elites ought to take the lead in cementing the unity of the country, but when the elites start preaching tribal hatred, people believe them because they think they know better,’’ he said.

According to Mohammed, it is in the interest of the elites to ensure that Nigeria remains as one country because they will suffer the consequences of disintegration more.

“Nigeria accounts for 70 per cent of West Africa’s population and if Nigeria should disintegrate today, we are going to overrun Benin Republic, Togo, Niger and other neighbouring countries.

“The elites will suffer more because some professors could be working in bakeries in Togo just to survive.

“We saw it happened when the Liberians came here during their civil war.

“It is in their own enlightened interest that they should work to fix Nigeria,’’ he said.

Mohammed said the elites should take a cue from the likes of a renowned historian, Prof. Ade Ajayi, who posited that “you need more energy to break Nigeria than to fix it.”

To buttress his position on religious tolerance, unity and indivisibility of the nation, the minister gave two instances of his personal experience.

“I have been living in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, for almost 25 years and during annual Eid-el-Fitr and Eid-el-Kabir, we, the Muslims always have our open prayers at Arch Bishop Vining Memorial Church belonging to Anglican Communion.

“There was a particular year, Eid-el-Kabir fell on a Sunday when the venue will also be used for the usual Christian service.

“With this development, we all agreed that we should come very early to pray so as not to disrupt the church service.

“To our surprise, the management of Vining Memorial Cathedral rescheduled their own Sunday service to 12 noon after we would have left the place.

“I have not seen a better example of religious tolerance in Nigeria,” he said.

The minister stressed that ethnicity and religion were being exploited by elites and some criminal elements to destroy the peace and unity in the country

He challenged Nigerians not to allow the elites to set the country on fire.

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