-Ijaw, Urhobo Youths Condemns Quit Notice
-FG Reassures Safety Of Citizens
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC), the youth wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo, an Igbo sociocultural group, has directed all Igbos resident in the North to be battle ready to defend themselves against any threat to their lives and property.
The directive is against the backdrop of Wednesday, June 7 three months notice given to the Igbos resident in the Northern region to relocate latest by October 1, or face the consequences of failure to comply.
The three months ultimatum was issued by a Coalition of Northern Youths (CNY) which had also directed all the Northerners resident in the South Eastern region to come back to the North within the same timeframe.
The president of the OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, in a press conference prompted by the CNY threats to Igbos, noted that it amounted to security threat and called on security agencies to move in fast before it is too late.
He said: “They are on it again and this is a sad reminder of the civil war. This is how it started as a joke and before we knew it, a coordinated and simultaneous attack was launched against the Igbos in the North.
“This is a sad development considering efforts being made to unite this country; this is a sad commentary considering that sacrifices Igbos have made in this country.
“We, however, wish to state unequivocally that Igbos are not cowards. We are not afraid of Alhaji AbdulAziz Suleiman, Yerima Shetimma and their cohorts.
“Ndigbo want to make it categorically clear that we are ready for him; we are cannot be intimidated by his ranting.
“The era of taking properties belonging to Ndigbo by force is gone. We won’t let that happen again.
“To this end, we are calling on our people in the north not to shift any ground; they should remain where they are; this country belongs to all of us. Any attack on our people shall receive commensurate reaction.
“This is a drum of war coming from the north and should the Northern leaders fail to act accordingly, we shall be left with no option than to go beyond this stage.
“We call on the northern traditional and religious leaders headed by the Sultan of Sokoto to assure Igbos of their safety in the 19 northern states.
“We are calling on the president-general Arewa Consultative Forum to call NORTHERN YOUTHS to order; they must be compelled to tender unreserved apology to Ndigbo and stop fanning the embers of disunity among Nigerians.
“We will not leave the north for the NORTHERN YOUTHS after developing the north with assets and business investment worth over N44 trillion. If they are preparing ground for abandoned properties, they have failed.
“May we all call on security agencies to provide protection to all the Igbos in the 19 Northern States and their properties. Anything on the contrary means giving a backing to this orchestrated genocidal plot against Igbos.
“May we call on the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to ASSURE Ndigbo that they are part of this country,by living up to expectations of their protecting lives and properties. Failure to do so, we shall be left with no option than to defend ourselves.
“We also call for the immediate arrest of Yerima and his group; this is a crime against the State and it should not be treated with levity.
“Rather than chase around un-armed Biafra agitators, the DSS should go after these men who have declared war on the Nigeria state.
“In the meantime, our people should be careful and vigilant. They should not hesitate to report any assault on them. We are watching and waiting.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has reacted to the quit notice issued by CNY to Igbos, but assured the Igbos that they reside and transact their businesses in any part of the country.
The minister of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, in a statement issued on Wednesday, June 7 urged Igbos and other Nigerians to go about their business without fear.
In the statement, he advised “the various ethnic groups to desist from flaming the embers of hate, animosity, discord and disharmony and adhere strictly to the teachings of our good values of religions and cultures that encourage good neighbourliness, national unity and Integration, and love for one another.”
Further, “He also advised youths to avoid being instrument of violence, animosity and disharmony among our citizens. And that they should rather focus their attention and energies on actions, that would engender national unity, integration and cohesion”.
Also, the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said that the eviction notice issued by northern groups to people of Igbo extraction was capable of destabilising the country.
He assured Nigerians that security agencies had been put on alert, adding that they are on top of the matter.
This is even as the Kaduna state government has ordered the immediate arrest of persons who signed a statement ordering Igbos out of the northern Nigeria.
The Information Minister disclosed these on Wednesday,while fielding questions from journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said: “The issue of one or two groups issuing statements that are capable of destabilising the polity and then being responded to by another group, I think did not just start today or did not start yesterday.
“What I want to assure you is that security organisations are very very much on top of this matter.”
The Kaduna state government in a statement issued by Samuel Aruwan, the spokesman to the governor on Wednesday, June 7, condemned what it described as inciting, hate speech targeted at citizens of Igbo extraction.
It said: “The Kaduna State Government takes exception to the fact that the “northern youths” did their irresponsible press conference in Kaduna. This government has been consistent in taking action to punish hate speech and incitement. People who may feel unhappy about irresponsible comments or actions that have taken place in other states must know that two wrongs cannot make a right, and they cannot use our state to do or say things that threaten the peace.”
However, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and the youth wing of the Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) have separately condemned the quit notice to the Igbos, warning that the CNY should not to throw Nigeria into unimaginable crisis.
In separate statements made by President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Eric Omare and national press secretary of youth wing of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Kelly Efemena Umukoro, the youth groups warned the northern youths to be mindful of their actions.
According to Eric Omare: “The right to self-determination is a universal right recognized even under the UN charter. Therefore, the Igbo agitation for Biafra cannot justify the demand to move Igbos out of northern Nigeria.
“We believe it is criminally minded people who want to hide under the umbrella of speaking for the north to loot properties belonging to Igbos in the north that are making this demand.
“We call on security agencies to as a matter of urgency move against the brains behind the ultimatum to Igbos in the north.
“The security agencies must be proactive and not allow the deed to be done before acting. Furthermore we wish to remind those retrogressive elements that no amount of such empty threats would break the will of the people to have Nigeria renegotiated.
“It is the forces who do not want the factors mitigating against the development of Nigeria that are sponsoring those threats.”
The Press secretary of the Urhobo Progress Union (youth wing), Efemena Umukoro said: “It should be noted that despite the fact that some of them never experienced the civil war, they should learn from the history of the civil war of 1967 to 1970 in Nigeria, how the war devastated Nigeria and the economy of the nation.
“Asking the Igbos to leave is indirectly asking all the Niger Delta people to leave the north, including the Urhobo nation. The action could lead to disintegration of Nigeria.
“It is also important to note that the Urhobos are not part of Biafra. We want a united Nigeria, where fairness, equality and justice are given pre-eminence.
“The Northern elders’ forum, northern governors should quickly intervene in this matter and arrest every signatory to the statement made. This is to save Nigeria for the future generation.”