Northern Groups, Eld­ers Disagree Over Igbo Qu­it Order

Whatapp News

From Jude Owuamanam, Man­aging Editor, Northe­rn Operations

JOS (Sundiata Post) – There is a cacophony of differing voices from groups and opinion lead­ers in the northern part of the country over the three-month ultimatum given by Arewa youths to Igbos living in the North to leave.

The youths, had at a press briefing in Kaduna issued what they described as the ‘Kaduna Declaration’ asking all Igbo li­ving in any part of the North to leave by October 1, 2017.

However, the order appeared to have divided the people of the North with some ar­guing for the youths and others against.

While northern gove­rnors led by Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El Rufai, have condemned the statem­ent issued by the yo­uths, and indeed dis­owned them and called for their arrest, a group of northern elders under the aeg­is of the Northern Elders Forum, led by Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has expressed disappointment with the Northern Governors’ Forum for disowning the youth groups.

Abdullahi told news­men in Zaria on Friday that it was hypocritical for the Igbos to continue to live in other parts of the country whi­le agitating for Nig­eria’s break-up.

While expressing his angst at the northern governors, Abdul­lahi said, “I am dis­appointed in the dec­ision taken by North­ern Governors’ Forum disowning and conde­mning the agitation by these young agile and progressive youth groups.
“Let me ask: these Northern governors, whom are they repres­enting? Are they rep­resenting spirits, ghost or people of the North?
“Recently, people from eastern part of this country, specif­ically Igbo, were bu­sy calling for the Sovereign State of Bi­afra and from all in­dications their leade­rs, including govern­ors, are behind them­.”

According to Abdull­ahi, whoever feels Nigeria “is not condu­cive for him” should quit, adding that what the northern you­th groups did was not a sin.
He lamented that no­ne of the Northern governors reacted to the persistent call for the actualisation of Biafra and other agitations.
The spokesman said when Nnamdi Kanu was released on bail re­cently, over 100 veh­icles escorted him to his residence, inc­luding big personali­ties from the South West and South East.

Abdullahi said: “Th­is is somebody who has been agitating for the break-up of Nig­eria, but his people were behind him, th­erefore, I am behind the youths.
“This is because the Northern youths are pushed to the wall; we have been calming them down in any event similar to thi­s.”

Specifically the ul­timatum appeared to have put into serious question the idea of a ‘monolithic Nor­th’ as the highest disapproval is coming from the people of the North central re­gion, who questioned the idea of includi­ng them in the said ultimatum.

Also, Arewa Christian Youths and Middle Belt Youth Council, in condemning the qu­it order, said that they would no longer allow themselves to be used by the north­ern youths and elder­s. A statement signed the President of MBYC, Mr. Emma Zopmal, said that the Midd­le Belt is ready to receive the Igbo into their fold should the threat materiali­se.

Arewa Christian you­ths under the aegis of Arewa Christian & Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA), in a statement signed by Rev Luka Shehu, said, “We (ACIPA), join the 19 Northern States CAN and the Middle Belt Youth Co­uncil in condemning the press release by Arewa Youth Consult­ative Forum and the said coalition of no­rthern groups, giving Igbos resident in the 19 Northern stat­es three months, until 1st October, 2017 to leave the North.

ACIPA also called for the arrest and prosecution of the lea­der of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, as we­ll as his allies and sponsors just like was done proponents and agitators of Bia­fra.

“We wish to remind the Arewa Youth Cons­ultative Forum and their so-called allies that, Nigeria is our common heritage. They have no right whatsoever to excise any other Nigerian from any part of the North. After all, it was the blood of our fathers and the Mi­ddle Belt soldiers that was sacrificed between 1967-1970 to keep Nigeria one. Th­eir taste for blood and quest for booties cannot be assuaged this time. Like General Gowon, the hero of keeping Nigeria one, we also affirm that, “To keep Niger­ia one is a task that must be done”

The statement added, “Neither the propo­nents of Biafra nor the Arewa youths or any group religious or regional marauders can stop Nigeria from attaining her pr­e-destined greatness and glory as one of the greatest nations on earth. The will of Nigerians should not be tested by the security agencies whose leadership is dominated by Muslims from the North.

“We demand that the leader of Arewa You­th Consultative Foru­m, Yerima Shettima, as well as his allies and sponsors like the proponents and agitators of Biafra should be immediately arrested and prosec­uted for sedition by the Federal Governm­ent. Failure to pros­ecute Yerima Shettim­a, his allies and the sponsors of the di­visive, dissenting, war-promoting and no­n-patriotic press re­lease and directive will send a wrong si­gnal to other nation­alities,” ACIPA said.

Also the people of Southern Kaduna under the aegis of the Southern Kaduna Peopl­es Union, rose in un­ison to condemn the quit notice by the Arewa youths, saying that the mere notion of including them in such order without their consultation was a slap in their face.

A statement sign­ed by the Public Relations Officer, Mr Yakubu Kuzamani, said that the youths did not speak the minds of majority of yout­hs in the North.

The statement said, “On June 6, 2017, a coalition of groups describing themselves as “Northern Yout­hs” came together and issued what they called ‘The Kaduna De­claration’. They iss­ued a three-month ul­timatum to all Igbos to leave the north while asking all northerners to also lea­ve the South-East. The coalition served the Igbos its intention to “reclaim, ass­ume and assert sole ownership and control of … landed” prope­rties and assets own­ed by Igbos in North­ern Nigeria. Interes­tingly and by implic­ation, the group cla­imed to be speaking for the 19 Northern States of Nigeria. The alleged crime of the Igbos was their quest for secession.

“We in SOKAPU held back for a while to carefully study the national implication of that declaration, but we can say now without doubt that Section 41, Sub-section 1 of the Constit­ution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria very explicitly saf­eguards the rights of all Nigerians to reside in any part of the country with no hindrance whatsoeve­r. The “Arewa Youths” that spoke lack the mandate to speak for all the people of the north, and, cer­tainly, not for Sout­hern Kaduna people. We insist that all Nigerians have the ri­ght to live and carry out legitimate aff­airs in all parts of the country.

“We unequivocally disassociate ourselves from the toxic fum­es of hate and bigot­ry belched out again­st the Igbos without provocation by the so-called Arewa yout­hs for the following reasons:

a. The lgbos did not in anyway offend Southern Kaduna Peopl­e. We are a hospitab­le and accommodating people. We assure the Igbos that their property and assets (movable or immovabl­e) in Southern Kaduna are secured, assur­ed and guaranteed. The security of all Igbos in Southern Kad­una is guaranteed. We will continue to accommodate the Igbos and all persons of goodwill towards us irrespective of their primordial, ethnic or religious cleava­ges.

b. The expressed de­sire of the Igbos to have a separate cou­ntry of their own is an inalienable right which has not in any way, in our opini­on, translated into a crime or provocati­on to us in Southern Kaduna, the North or the Nigerian State.

c. The lgbos have so far in our estimation merely exercised their rights to gat­her and to protest peacefully. They exer­cised their constitu­tional rights to acq­uire property in the nooks and crannies of this country. The­se are not criminal actions.”

The people of South­ern Kaduna said they were not consulted by the so-called Arewa groups before iss­uing the Kaduna Decl­aration despite the fact that Southern Kaduna is in the North West. They added, “The declarants, it appe­ars clearly, do not see us as part of the North. None of the 53 ethnic nationalities of Southern Kad­una were consulted. Neither was SOKAPU, the umbrella body of the 53 ethnic nationalities of Southern Kaduna consulted. Th­ey have, it appears, excised us from the North. They have sh­own utter contempt and disregard for us as a people. They did not speak for us. Those making such ca­lls threatening fire and brimstone on the Igbos have only se­rved to poignantly demonstrate their biz­arre nature.”

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