Bello Matawalle, the governor of the state of Zamfara, described the protests against the medical holiday of President Muhammad Bukhari in London in the UK as an attack on the north.
In March, the president traveled from Nigeria to London for a medical examination.
Bukhari’s trip to the UK for medical reasons is an annual ritual since he became president in 2015.
Some Nigerians have protested against the president’s stay in London while doctors are on strike in Nigeria.
In a statement issued Thursday, Matawalle described the protests as “sponsored” and their organizers “uncivilized”.
He also warned against attacks on northerners and their businesses in the south.
Below is the statement in full.
A LOT OF ATTACKS ON NORTHERN AND THEIR ECONOMIC INTERESTS – GOV MATAWALLE
… WHY WE ALL MUST CONDEMN THE SPONSORED ATTEMPT TO OVERTHROW PRESIDENT BUHARI IN LONDON
Recent events in the country have made it useful for me, as a political leader and a proud northerner, to make this important statement. It is not a time to play politics or play in the gallery, but a time to tell ourselves the real truth, in favor of peace and progress of our country, and to prevent the coming anarchy that some disgruntled, unpatriotic Nigerians want to drag the nation into.
Given the way we play politics in Nigeria – politics without conscience – the public can expect such a statement to come from the governor or leader of the APC, but I decided to make the following statement even though I am still a proud member of the opposition PDP, for our sake nations; that peace reigns and in the general interest of the north.
So much is happening to the north and northerners as individuals. Today, their lives, dignity and property are threatened by the increasingly hostile South, even as we try as northern leaders to always calm the situation and protect the interests, business and dignity of all Southerners living in the North.
Despite what Northerners are experiencing today in many parts of the Southwest and Southeast, all we hear is a conspiracy of silence by northern leaders and elites who should stand firm, the way other South leaders would go even when they know their people are to blame. This must not continue.
As northern leaders, our dignified silence in the face of constant provocations and attacks, because of our desire for peace, MUST NOT be taken as a sign of weakness. In fact, no community or region has a monopoly on violence. If northerners and their livelihoods will not be protected, housed, and dignified anywhere they choose to reside in any part of the south, southerners MUST NOT expect protection from the north because the north has more than what it takes to respond to any kind of aggression and hatred.
We have recently seen the devastation, killings and destruction at Sasha Market against the Northmen and their economic interests. Billions of Nair’s assets have been lost alongside human lives, but some leaders in the Southwest downplay the atrocities committed or, worse, justify them. Some of them went so shamefully that they distributed the blame to the victims and the victims of their aggression.
The killings of innocent northerners in Imo last week are too many and no matter how much we love peace, leaders with a conscience and fear of God MUST speak out against this ongoing barbarism and hatred. We will not do it again because NO human life is more valuable than another. No business interest is better than another. In fact, in a crisis situation the South must lose more in terms of its business interests in the north and the strategic nature they have established in the north than northerners living in the south.
The North is well aware of such weaknesses and shortcomings to which the South is exposed whenever such a crisis occurs, but we always choose the path of peace and nurture peace beyond any act of lawlessness and hatred. Simple statistics on cases of unprovoked attacks on Northerners and their economic interests in the South in recent times can tell who is more tolerant, adaptable and peaceful between criminal elements and their supporters who are well known for sponsoring such hatred and attacks on Northerners in the South and our people. .
Unfortunately, we can all identify the perpetrators, the instigators of such xenophobic attacks. They are very well known and courageous in spreading their messages of hatred, incitement and provocation, but unfortunately they and their leaders have continued to blackmail the federal government, while the government seems to be subject to such blackmail, allowing them to live like kings and even openly rejecting legitimate police call. Nigeria is ONE. Whoever does not want to believe in the current constitution, which is so far the legal and legitimate instrument behind our existence, should wait to challenge it by established legal and legitimate means or pack up and leave the country. We will no longer tolerate any form of intimidation.
Although I am the governor of the PDP serving my first term, I do not believe that seeking the position of government or trying to keep it is a “do or die” affair or something that will silence us to ignore reality and not stand by our people in the face of constant provocations and attacks.
As a northerner, I strongly condemn how the so-called protesters who could not hide their contempt and hatred of the north were treated in the same way by hatred of President Muhammad Bukhari. Their action, notwithstanding their complaints, is uncivilized, utterly irresponsible, unpatriotic, and disrespectful of the person and office of the president, and has shown a growing hatred of anything in the north. This is certainly NOT a way to express dissatisfaction, but an act of humiliation and hatred in line with the Southern agenda, as promoters and sponsors are well known and seek only opportunities and the slightest excuse. A responsible and civilized protest should only deal with problems, but to reduce such sponsored protests to the abuse of the president, his family or parents as we have seen in London is the most deplorable, uncivilized and condemning. I am sure they would not have done so for Bukhari had he been from the South, as we have already seen in matters of their interest and agenda. The real motive and program of the so-called protest is not Nigeria, but the humiliation of the president, which is why the number of protesters, given the large number of Nigerians living in London, is so negligible that they could easily be counted.
In order for the North to survive and defend its interests, our leaders MUST have the courage to always speak out against such aggression and protect the North’s interests, as our contemporaries in the South do, even when there is no justification for it. WE MUST NOT be ashamed to defend our people and protect our interests the way they do. But in doing so, we must not be blind, as they often are, to overlook the shortcomings or shortcomings of our people whenever they exist. Nigeria is for all of us. Peace or peacekeeping MUST be reciprocal and in the absence of this we demand that we no longer tolerate what has been happening to northerners in different parts of the South in recent months.
Alloji Dr. Bello Mohammed,