The Nigerian Bar Association, on Wednesday, expressed concern on the rising agitation for the break-up of Nigeria, hate speeches, including the recent three-month notice to the Igbo to leave the North issued by some northern youths.
In a statement by its President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, the association said the problems were contributing to the nation’s slow economic development.
The NBA, however, added that the ugly developments had been allowed to persist and were now creating fears in the citizens, sending panic signals to the nation’s neighbours and shaking the confidence of investors in the country.
It stated that the threat to the confidence of investors in the country was contributing to the nation’s slow economic development.
The statement partly read, “The Nigerian Bar Association is deeply concerned at the recent heightened agitation by individuals, groups and organisations calling for the violent break-up of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Some have advocated secession of certain parts from the country; others have called for some ethnicities to be excised and some others have even gone to the extent of issuing what they call ‘quit notice’ against some ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
“These advocacies have been characterised by deeply hateful and hurtful speeches on all sides, incitement, tendentious and unguarded comments and warmongering, all designed to attack the resolve of the Nigerian people to live in peace, mutual respect and harmony.
“These acts of hate and incitement have been disseminated through print, electronic, digital and social media platforms.
“The Nigerian Bar Association rejects these tendencies unequivocally and condemns all such threats to the sovereign existence of Nigeria and the peaceful coexistence of our communities.
“The NBA is concerned, nevertheless, that these acts of hate speech, threatening secession, war and violent break-up of the country, have been allowed to persist to the point where they are now creating fear and anxiety amongst the people of Nigeria and sending panic signals to our neighbours and the international community.
“They have, in addition, shaken investors’ confidence in our country, contributing to slowing down economic and social activities.”
The NBA acknowledged that Nigeria was going through difficult economic times, which, it said, were “a direct product of the failure of successive governments to diligently tackle the myriad challenges bedevilling our country.”
The NBA, nevertheless, commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for the steps taken so far to douse tension in the land and restore public confidence.
The association urged government at all levels, to respect rule of law and enforce the laws of the country without fear, favour or discrimination.
The association said it would, through its relevant organs, monitor and liaise with security agencies to ensure accountability for hate speech and incitement in the country.
On the ‘quit notice’ issued to the Igbo in the North, the NBA stated that all Nigerians had legal rights to live and to travel to and own or acquire property in any part of the country..