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Buhari's Eid message to Nigerians: calls for unity amid ethnic tensions

Buhari's Eid message to Nigerians: calls for unity amid ethnic tensions

Nigeria

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has delivered an audio message to mark the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday, two senior presidency sources said, his first public statement since he left for Britain on medical leave on May 7.

Buhari, a Muslim from the north, made the address, calling for peace and unity, in the Hausa language spoken widely in that part of the country. It was circulated to local radio stations and the BBC’s Hausa radio service.

The presidency did not release video footage or photographs of Buhari making the recording heard by Reuters in which the president’s voice sounds weak.

Aside the usual greetings of Eid, the 74-year-old leader’s main appeal was around the ethnic tensions that had recently surfaced in the country. He called for unity which he said was the “envy of many less endowed nations.”

Beside the Biafra secession agitations coming from the southern part of the country. A youth group in the north issued a quit notice for all southerners living across the north. Abuja has moved to quash the tensions with Buhari’s vice and acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, meeting with leaders to help douse the tensions.

Details of the president’s ailment have not been disclosed and he has not been seen or heard in public since leaving Nigeria, triggering speculation about his condition.

A frail -looking Buhari was last seen, on state television, welcoming a group of 82 girls released by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, just hours before he flew to Britain.

Pictures of the 74-year-old Buhari have not been released, unlike during a previous break for medical leave in January that lasted nearly two months when photographs of him with Nigerian politicians and visitors including the Archbishop of Canterbury were posted on the presidency’s Twitter feed.

Buhari handed power to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo when he left for Britain.

REUTERS

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