MEMBERS of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) are billed to meet in Abuja today, to discuss the growing tension associated with the 10-day annual leave of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Sources in the polity told the Nigerian Tribune that the governors had been asked to arrive in Abuja on Wednesday, while the meeting would take place today.

The rumour mill had indicated on Wednesday that the president’s health might have deteriorated, following an alleged move by some forces to get Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to resign.

But the Presidency denied the information on Wednesday, adding that no one was prevailing on the acting president to resign.

Also, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, threatened action against originators of death rumour of the president, insisting that President Buhari was hale and hearty.

According to the information, some governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had visited the Presidential Villa to compel Vice-President Osinbajo to resign the position of acting president, but the Presidency also dispelled the rumour.

Sources close to the APC told the Nigerian Tribune that the governors had started arriving in Abuja, in readiness for the meeting scheduled for today.

It was also gathered that governors of the APC met in Abuja on Wednesday night. The agenda of the meeting was, however, not known as of press time.

A source also said the meeting would discuss the possibility of sending a delegation to visit the president in London, United Kingdom (UK).

Zamfara State governor and chairman of the forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, is expected to preside over the meeting which sources said was called to dispel the growing tension and avail the governors the opportunity of the true situation of things as regards the president and the Presidential Villa.

“A number of our colleagues have been bombarded with calls by concerned citizens about what they are reading on the social media about the president. It is incumbent on the NGF to take concrete steps to stabilise the situation. Remember that the forum did the same during the tenure of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua,” a source said.

“The situation needs clarifications. We can’t afford our citizens to be in the dark that is why we are meeting on Thursday,” a source said.

Speaking on plans by some governors to force Osinbajo to resign, the Presidency, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Femi Ojudu, said it was not true.

In the statement entitled: “State of the Nation,” the presidential aide assured that Osinbajo was behind his desk in his office and performing his routine functions, having earlier presided over a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

He said the claim was ridiculous and urged people to desist from carrying fake news.

“I have read many ridiculous stories saying the Vice President, Professr Yemi Osinbajo, is being held hostage by some governors who are trying to compel him to resign.

“I have equally received several calls regarding this. The story is simply not true. It is a fabrication. Don’t be a purveyor of fake news.

“The Vice President is behind his desk carrying out his task. The Federal Executive Council presided over by him has just ended and he has been busy receiving visitors and holding meetings,” he said.

As of the time of filing this report, only the governor of Jigawa State, Badaru Abubakar, had visited the acting president on Thursday.

The Federal Government also said the source/sources of the fabricated messages on the health of President Muhammadu Buhari, who, he said, was hale and hearty, was being investigated, warning that the authors should prepare to face the consequences of their actions.

It said while government would neither stifle press freedom nor abridge the citizens’ right to express themselves freely, whether through criticism or protests, adding, however, that the security agencies would neither allow any resort to violence nor a willful subversion of the state for whatever reason.

The government urged Nigerians to disregard what it called subversive messages being circulated via text messaging and the social media.

Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed, in a statement, said the fabricated messages were being orchestrated by those who felt threatened by the emerging order.

In the statement, the minister said there was no iota of truth in the messages being circulated.

He lamented that the naysayers had also resorted to the use of ethnicity and religion as tools to divide Nigerians, overheat the polity and cause panic among the citizenry, in addition to using fake news and disinformation to distort government activities.

Alhaji Mohammed said while opposition and criticism were all part of democracy, the crafting and circulation of subversive materials and scare-mongering were not, warning that the full wrath of the law would be brought to bear on those who were bent on subverting the state.

“The source/sources of the fabricated messages are already being investigated and the authors should prepare to face the consequences of their actions.

“The emerging trend of resorting to destabilisation and scare-mongering is not unexpected, considering this government’s clampdown on the corrupt elements in the society, the plugging of all financial leaks which has derailed the gravy train of the looters of public treasury and the enthronement of probity and transparency in the polity.

“While we will neither stifle press freedom nor abridge the citizens’ right to express themselves freely, whether through criticism or protests, the security agencies will neither allow any resort to violence nor a willful subversion of the state for whatever reason.”

President Buhari travelled last week Thursday to the United Kingdom on a 10-day leave where he is also scheduled to see his doctors, but the social media was awash with reports about his worsening state of health since he travelled, forcing the Presidency to make clarifications on two occasions.



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