Nigerian governors say those advocating for a separate country are wasting their time.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is in the frontline of the struggle to carve out a country out of Nigeria.
But the governors appealled to citizens to embrace peace, saying they do not want the country to witness a hate war like Rwanda did.
In 1994, Hutu militias in Rwanda killed at least 800,000 Tutsi in a purge driven by hate. The incident is widely described as a genocide.
The governors made this appeal against the background of rising ethnic tension fuelled by secessionist agitations in the south-east and an eviction threat to the Igbo by Arewa youth groups.
Speaking with state house correspondents at the end of a meeting called by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo as part of consultations for peace, Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo state governor, who spoke on behalf of the governors, said the unity of Nigeria was sacroscant.
“It has been unanimously agreed that the unity of this country is sacrosanct, it is non-negotiable and we have all agreed to work together to educate people,” he said.
“Any time you have agitation, usually there will be poverty, there will be unemployment, there will be hardship. So, we should address fundamentally these areas of poverty, unemployment and hardship.
“Nigerians are by nature a united people; nobody cares whether you are from the north, south or the east.
“There unity must be there and we cannot play with the unity of this country. The consensus has been that there must be unity.
“The message is for Nigerians to work more together and collaborate. We have more to gain when we are united. We cannot afford to break, and anybody is thinking of that is wasting his time and we will not allow it, not in this country. All of us are unanimous about that.
“To you the media look for what unites us and not sensational news. If we fight everybody will lose, have you ever seen a country that fought a civil war and remained the same? We don’t want to be another Rwanda and Somalia and all these places. The government is doing its best.”