The President, in a nationwide broadcast on Monday in Abuja, said: “I am very grateful to God and to all Nigerians for their prayers. I am pleased to be back on home soil among my brothers and sisters,’’ he said.
According to him, during the course of his stay in the UK, he had kept in touch daily with events at home.
However, he frowned at some “ugly” incidences that were reported in the social media during his absence from the country.
In June, there had been calls for secession by youths from different ethnic groups in the country, a situation which resulted in some Nigerians issuing “quit notices” from their part of the country to their fellow countrymen.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo met with traditional leaders and other stakeholders from the north and the south-east and agreed that Nigeria’s unity should not be taken for granted.
Osinbajo warned that persons agitating for secession and the northern groups that had issued the ultimatum to Igbos risked jail terms as they violated Nigeria’s laws.
“Nigerians are robust and lively in discussing their affairs, but I was distressed to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media, have crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. This is a step too far,” Buhari said.
“In 2003, after I joined partisan politics, the late Chief Emeka Ojukwu came and stayed as my guest in my hometown, Daura. Over two days, we discussed issues in great depth till late into the night and analysed the problems of Nigeria. We both came to the conclusion that the country must remain one and united.”
Buhari reiterated the determination of his administration to continue to ensure that Nigeria remained one geo-political entity.
“We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble. When things get bad, they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order – if necessary, with their blood,” he said.
He further stressed that every Nigerian had the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in the country without hindrance.
“I believe the very vast majority of Nigerians share this view. This is not to deny that there are legitimate concerns. Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence.’’
The President, who left Nigeria on 7 May for London to receive medical care, arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Saturday to face a mammoth welcoming party.
Vice-President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who acted as President during his absence, led the delegation that received him at the crowded airport.
Others who were at the airport to receive him were the leadership of the National Assembly, service chiefs and members of the Federal Executive Council, as well as some Governors and Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Barnabas Bala.
Buhari’s return has been greeted with jubilation by thousands of citizens, especially youths across the country, who sang and danced to welcome the President after 103 days of medical vacation in London.
– News Agency of Nigeria