The internet was set ablaze Thursday in reaction to a statement by Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, that the consequences of disintegration could be dire.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday, Mohammed was quoted as saying that some elites would have to settle for working in bakeries to survive in neighbouring Togo should Nigeria split.
“Our challenge is more with the elites, not with the common people. Go to the remotest part of Nigeria today, you will see Nigerians from different tribes, culture and religion living together peacefully,” he said.
“Elites ought to take the lead in cementing the unity of the country. But when the elites start preaching tribal hatred, people believe them because they think they know better.
“Nigeria accounts for 70 per cent of West Africa’s population, and if Nigeria should disintegrate today, we are going to overrun Benin Republic, Togo, Niger and other neighbouring countries.
“The elites will suffer more because some professors could be working in bakeries in Togo just to survive. We saw it happen when the Liberians came here during their civil war.
“It is in their own enlightened interest that they should work to fix Nigeria. Many of them have more than one passport — American, British, Irish — and at the first crack of trouble, they are gone.”
Mohammed’s statement has unsurprisingly triggered a deluge of angry reactions on social media, with many claiming the minister is out of touch with reality.
One Twitter user, @kelechinwoko wrote “It’s better to work in Togo in a conducive atmosphere than this jungle called Nigeria with so much insecurity sir.”
Another user, @bigvaijokotoye thinks that Mohammed’s comments echoed the fears of politicians about a disintegration of the country, he wrote, “Politicians dey fear wetin go happen to dem if d country breaks up.”
@daizybarbie added that “Out of all the troubles the country could face if it breaks up, its professors working in bakeries that is your ultimate concern. Your name has never disappointed your level of thinking and comprehension.”
A username @netflix_2_watch_notwatch added rather sarcastically: “Please don’t let Nigeria break up guys, he’s saying the truth, professors from the north might have to work in Togo bakery if this happens or Zimbabwe farms.”
@sublimefarm believes that the only hindrance is the threat of war. He wrote: “fear is war, only war can break us, because legislatively it is impossible, and the only option is to force it will definitely end in war, and the consequences of war, hmmmmmmmm will be cumbersome.”