As gathered on Thursday, President Buhari questioned why some Igbo men are calling for secession.
He said that any attempt by an Igbo man to leave the country, he described as “unthinkable.”
According to the president, Igbo people are important in Nigeria and they have successful businesses all over the country.
During his one-day official visit to Imo State, the President held a town hall meeting with South-East leaders.
Buhari’s visit to Imo State came less than two months after Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, was arrested abroad and extradited to Nigeria to stand trial.
To protest Buhari’s visit to Imo, the outlawed IPOB had called for people to stay at home and businesses to close.
Ejes Gist News reports that main roads in Owerri were deserted on Thursday, and markets and shops were closed.
With less than two years left in his eight-year presidency, the president said in a statement that security would remain a top priority for his administration.
On Thursday, Buhari’s media aide, Femi Adesina, issued a statement that read, “I want to be remembered as a president who stabilised Nigeria, President Buhari tells South-East leaders.”
“The fundamental thing about the Igbo people is that there is no town you will visit in Nigeria without seeing the Igbos in charge of either infrastructure or the pharmaceutical industry,” the President said, praising their resourcefulness and enterprising spirit.
“As a result, it is unthinkable to me that any Igbo man does not consider himself a Nigerian.
“Igbos are in charge of Nigeria’s economy, and the evidence is there for everyone to see.”
The president expressed regret that successive federal governments contributed to the deterioration of critical infrastructure in the country, noting that no country can make any meaningful progress without it.
He pledged that the Federal Government would finish key projects in the South East, such as the 2nd Niger Bridge and railway lines and routes connecting the region to the rest of the country.
“I am convinced that once infrastructure is in place, Nigerians will mind their own business,” he said, adding that the Igbos, as a group, stand to benefit more from the country’s ongoing infrastructure development because “they are more enterprising.”
Buhari had previously commissioned four projects, including the Naze/Ihiagwa/Nekede/Obinze link road, the Balloon Driven/Flood Control drainage at Dick Tiger Road, the Egbeada Bypass road, and the New Exco-Chambers, Government House, Owerri, which were all completed by Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The president told Imo residents at the commissioning of the Egbeada bypass, which was named after a prominent son of the state, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, that he was very impressed with the State government’s work.
“I am very pleased with what I have seen, and I assure you that I will continue to support Imo State within the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution,” he said.
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