President Muhammadu Buhari says if Nigeria ceases to exist, nobody will take another general to preside over his country.
Addressing the troops on the frontline of insurgency in the north-east, Buhari said complete loyalty was expected from the armed forces in the face of agitations from various sections of the county.
He visited soldiers in Maiduguri, Borno state, on Sunday, as part activities marking th e nation’s 57th independence anniversary.
“I thought the only honour I can present to the military and other stakeholders on this great day is to come and address you, who are on the frontline. I am pleased with the nation and responsible opinions from all over the world, congratulating this administration for the progress we have made,” he said.
“Even for selfish reasons, your loyalty ought to be to the centre, first the security of this nation is in the hands of God and in the hands of the security.
“If you don’t stand firm, I assure you if Nigeria doesn’t exist, the first to be insecure are the security agencies because no matter how many parts Nigeria will be divided, nobody will take another general to preside over his country.”
Buhari dismissed those agitating for separation as noisemakers, saying having participated in the 30-month civil war, he knew much about the nation.
“I was involved in the civil war for 30 months, I know much about this country,” he said.
“Those making noise about the stability of this country were not born then. They don’t know what it means to be a nationalist.”
The president gave the assurance that under his leadership resources would be made available to support the armed forces.
He said unless the nation is secure nobody would be able to pursue his or her business.
“I expect in return from you to be loyal and loyalty is from the bottom upward, from private to lance corporal, corporal, up to sergeant, generals, service chiefs, otherwise the centre will not hold.
“But this centre is determined to hold.”