Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho, are being sponsored by high-profile Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari, has said.
According to him, one of those found to be financing the agitators is a federal lawmaker.
President Buhari spoke in his Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day broadcast obtained by this newspaper.
The President said those sponsoring violence and making hate speeches to instigate disorder would be arrested and prosecuted.
Nigeria marks 61 years today as an independent nation.
He said further that the revelations were made possible by the arrest of two separatist figures; leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Kanu, and the arrowhead of the Yoruba Nation Agitation Movement, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
The President, who said the federal government believes that every grievance by any section of the country could be resolved through dialogue, however warned that any person or group found in the act of inciting violence would be arrested and prosecuted.
According to him, those who had caused serious chaos and violence did so through words, using lies, targeted hate speeches to propel violence, which had led to the death of many citizens and destruction of property. He called on all Nigerians to reject the lure by those he described as ‘evil people’ from plunging the country into further crisis.
Citing section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President said the security and welfare of Nigerians remained the prime focus of his administration.
“Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering.
“That said, our hope is not to fight for peace. We can always settle our grievances peacefully without spilling any blood.
“I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances.
“Nigeria is for all of us. Its unity is not negotiable. And its ultimate success can only be achieved if we all come together with a common goal of having peace and prosperity for our nation.
“We shall continue to work on dialogue-based solutions to address legitimate grievances. But we remain ready to take decisive actions against secessionist agitators and their sponsors who threaten our national security.
“The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers, including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly.
“Fellow Nigerians, this is a clear example of how people abandon their national leadership positions for their selfish gains. Instead of preaching unity, they are funding and misleading our youth to conduct criminal acts that sometimes lead to unfortunate and unnecessary loss of lives and property.
“As the so-called leaders run abroad to hide, our innocent youths are misled and left in the streets to fight for their senseless and destructive causes.
“Government will continue, with greater level of peoples’ participation and in collaboration with our international partners, to improve the security architecture, reduce enabling environment for criminality to thrive and eliminate opportunities for terrorism financing”, he said.