The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has criticized the presidency over what it described as ‘fictitious monologue’ by Malam Garba Shehu, the Special Assistant to the President on Media, over the allegation that it called for some sections of the country to secede.
The presidency had in a statement on Tuesday, accused the elders forum of asking the people of the southeast to leave the north over Biafra agitation.
But NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement on Wednesday, insisted that they made no such call, and advised leaders to note the very sensitive times in the country.
The statement was titled “Statement By Northern Elders Forum on False Claim By the Presidency”
It read, “The attention of Northern Elders Forum has been drawn to a Statement by Malam Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President on Media, claiming that the Forum has released a Statement instigating a section of Nigeria to leave the country.
“Malam Garba Shehu’s Statement did not quote single word in the “Statement”, did not mention its signatory or its date. As a former journalist, he must know that no self-respecting journalist will take this Statement seriously. His statement was entirely a monologue castigating the Forum over fiction which only he can understand.
“The Forum believes in the rights of all Nigerians to live in peace and aspire to their dreams. It believes in the utility and desirability of a united and strong Nigeria which will meet the aspirations of all citizens. When the Forum made comments in the past about the challenges to our union, security or governance, it always did so openly and in a responsible manner.
“It is baffling to see this unfair attribution from the Presidency, at a time when calm nerves are needed, and statesmanship should be in display.
“Northern Elders Forum restates that it made no such release, and advises leaders to note the very sensitive times in which we live at the moment.”