In his reaction, Force Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Moshood Jimoh stated that every Nigerian has a right to live anywhere in the country as enshrined in the constitution. According to him; “Kaduna state government has reacted promptly to the issue. We are also using this opportunity to warn anybody that wants to foment trouble to beware because we will deal decisively with such group or persons.” Remain calm but vigilant – Ohanaeze Ndigbo Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement expressed regret over the outburst of the Arewa youths. The statement signed by Chukwudi Ibegbu, national deputy publicity secretary said “this invidious act has no doubt sent shock wave over the country. The President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chief Nnia Nwodo call on Ndigbo all over the North to remain calm but vigilant.” Ohanaeze expressed hope that Nigerian security agencies will do the needful by protecting the lives and properties of all Nigerians in general and Ndigbo in particular in the North in view of the threats. Nwodo said he would not react to the statement made by the Northern youths until the northern elders speak on the matter. “I will not react to a statement made by the Northern youth. I will not. If their fathers speak, then I will summon my executive and we deliberate on it. Thereafter, I will speak. It is our hope that the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders Forum will also rise to the challenges of the moment,” he said. They have no right to issue such notice – ACF Reacting to the threat in Kaduna, ACF Spokesman , Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim said no person or group has any right to threaten people who are going about their legitimate businesses. His words: “We are not even aware of the threat. Even if we are aware, we are not in support of that. We should remember that we are practicing democracy with its rules and regulations. Our constitution which we operate guarantees free movement of all Nigerians to any part of the country to pursue their legitimate businesses. No group of persons or individuals have the mandate to threaten any group or individual in pursuance of his legitimate businesses as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ACF will not support anything that will bring disunity of the country and affect its corporate existence.” With N44trn investment in North, Igbo can’t be driven out –Ohanaeze youths Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, OYC, equally reacted angrily to the quit-the-North order given to Ndigbo, describing it as a “security threat and a crime against the Nigerian State.” A statement issued by the President of Ohanaeze Youths Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, condemned the action and warned the Northern Youths to immediately reverse their position because “the ultimatum was a call for war and should be treated as such by security agents.” Urging security agencies not overlook the threat, 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 Ndigbo in the North. He continued: “This is a sad development considering efforts being made to unite this country; this is a sad commentary considering the sacrifices Ndigbo have made in this country. We, however, wish to state unequivocally that Igbo are not cowards. We are not afraid of Alhaji AbdulAziz Suleiman, Yerima Shetimma and their cohorts. “ 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. “We are calling on the President General of 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.” Arrest those behind the threat – Afenifere Also speaking, the Publicity Secretary of Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said: “It is the most insensitive action to be taken by anybody. It is a threat to the unity and corporate existence of the country. And it has shown clearly that Nigeria will fail if things are not done right. I suspect that those behind it are either being used by those, who want to disintegrate Nigeria or those, who want to invite the military to take over. If they are tired of living in this country, they should say it so that we can restructure the country through a conference. The security forces should go after those people and ensure that they are arrested because if they are not arrested it would mean that they have official backing. If Apostle Suleiman could be arrested, the people behind this should also be arrested. They should not be allowed to go free like herdsmen who have been terrorising the country.’’ Quit-the-north notice retrogressive – IYC Similarly, the Eric Omare-led faction of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) described as “baseless and retrogressive” the quit-the-North order given to Igbo by some Northern youth groups. Omare, while reacting to the threat in a statement made available to Vanguard in Yenagoa, said no amount of threat would break the will of the people to have Nigeria renegotiated. The Ijaw youth leader, however, fingered forces who do not want the factors mitigating against the development of Nigeria to be addressed as sponsors of the threat. He said: “there is absolutely nothing wrong in the Igbo agitation for self determination. The right to self determination is a universal right recognised even under the UN charter. Therefore, the Igbo agitation for Biafra cannot justify the demand that they move out of northern Nigeria.” Another plot to start killing Ndigbo – MASSOB On its part, MASSOB alleged that Arewa Youths and their sponsors had perfected plans to kill the children and wives of Igbo living in Northern part of the country and destroy their investments. In a statement issued in Abakiliki, the Leader of MASSOB, Comrade Uchenna Madu, advised the people of Biafra to take the quit notice by the Arewa youths seriously as MASSOB would never fight or defend the lives and properties of Igbo based in Hausa-Fulani land. The statement read in part: “The latest quit notice order by the Coalition of Northern youths under the umbrella of Arewa youths is not a surprise gift to Biafrans residing in Arewa land. MASSOB is aware that such rascality will happen. As a matter of fact, this is the only rascality exhibited by sponsored Arewa youths to forcefully exit the people of Biafra residing in Arewa land that MASSOB will 100 per cent support. Their Boko Haram tactics didn’t work as planned. “MASSOB gladly received the good news of quit notice order to the people of Biafra living in Arewa land. We pledge our total support towards this divinely approved quit notice. MASSOB congratulates the Arewa political, religious, traditional and opinion leaders who sponsored their youth wing by using Arewa House in Kaduna for this meeting. Arrest these youths—S’East, S’South Network Also,the South East/South South network, SESSNet, yesterday, asked security agencies to immediately swing to action and arrest leaders of the northern groups over the threat. The SESSNet, a coalition of professionals, students and activists, from the South East and South South region called “on security agencies to arrest these jobless youths and their sponsors who are threatened by the unity displayed by Ndigbo to obey “sit at home order” to mark 50 years when over 3 million Ndigbo were killed. “We use this medium to ask our people across the 19 northern states to be more vigilant and proactive in being security conscious”, the group stated, adding: “ If the DSS could arrest Nnamdi Kanu for demanding for Igbo rights, I don’t see the reason why the DSS will not arrest the leadership of the group for treason offences because they are inciting one section of the country against another, we will not take excuse from security agencies if anything happens to our people in the North.’’ It’s a childish talk—Ikedife Former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife dismissed the threat as a childish talk, noting that it could only be taken seriously if it came from Northern elders. He urged northern elders to react immediately so that other Nigerians would know their stand. He said: “I see this statement as a demonstration of youthful exuberance. Let the Northerners also declare that they are leaving Nigeria. That is why I want the elders in the North to make a statement to either support or condemn the youths so that we will know those behind the statement of the Arewa Youths. Maybe they are no longer interested in one Nigeria.” Uwazurike, Ekejiuba speak A human rights lawyer and president of Voters Rights International based in Onitsha, Mr. Jezie Ekejiuba, in his reaction described the ultimatum as a good omen for the Igbo. He said: “This is what Igbo are expecting from Nigeria. I am sure that the May 30 sit-at-home had shown them that Igbo want to be on their own. Igbo people have also come to realize that it is inevitable for them to be on their own…So, if Arewa people say that Igbo should leave their area, Igbo people should not hesitate to do that. They should not because of their investments in the North die for nothing.” Former President of Aka-Ikenga, Chief Goody Uwazurike, spoke in like manner and urged security agencies to pay attention to the threat and ensure security and welfare of the citizens as provided by Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution. FG, Northern leaders should rein in youths—Timi Frank In a similar vein, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Timi Frank, urged the Federal Government and leaders of northern extraction, including traditional rulers “to beg the youths of the region to refrain from statements and actions that could build up tension across the country.” In a statement issued in Abuja, Frank begged the northern youths to give peace a chance, calling on security agencies to rise up to the task of protecting both northerners in the South and Southerners in the North. Time running out on Nigeria – Okorie Igbo leader and founder of two political parties, APGA and UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie, also known as Ojeozi Ndigbo in his reaction said he would not want to dwell on some of the provocative comments contained in the statement issued in Kaduna since those that made the statements were youths and not bureaucrats. He, however, observed that separation essentially means redrawing of the map and does not have to do with movement of the people. “What I want to really say is that time is fast running out on Nigeria. Nigerian leaders both in and out of government have failed to provide leadership that can encourage the ethnic nationalities in the country. “This country will collapse and those in government today will bear the blame of the blood of the innocent people that will perish from the collapse. The National Assembly has also failed and they have a duty to save the country from collapse.” Arewa youths have no right to tell us to leave – Imolites In Imo state, some stakeholders yesterday said that the Arewa youths have no rights to asked the Igbo people to leave the northern part of Nigeria. Speaking to Vanguard in Owerri, they called on the Federal government to arrest those behind that declaration that the Igbo should vacate the North region. The Imo state Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr. Peter Ezeobi, said that it was unconstitutional. “It will lead to massacre of Ndigbo and intimidation of the Igbos in the north. It is unconstitutional and it is not acceptable anywhere in the world. “The Igbo people have their assets in the north and they have helped to develop the north. There is no civil war, no threat and they are saying that the Igbos should leave the north. “They do not have the right to do that I believe that the Arewa forum they have intellectuals and I believe they should be guided against making any statement that will lead to war. I see it as a primitive way of trying to resolve problems.” While the National President of Ohanaeze Youth Foundation, Mr. Chukwuemeka Don Uba, said: “The threat for Igbo indigenes by some organized youth groups of the Northern part of Nigeria is an indication that this country can no longer be together as one entity. “The South- Easterners had before now agitated for a sovereign State of Biafra, but never threatened the stay of the Northern indigenes resident in their area. “In my own view they are being sponsored to give out this threat, bearing in mind that some Northern Elders recently claimed that, the oil blocks located mostly in the South-East and South- South parts of the country also belong to them since it in the Nigeria state of which they cited the constitution as the bases of their claims.” Evacuate Ndigbo from North—Igbo group tells S’East Govs However, Igbo Youths Vanguard for Peace and Development, IYVPD, has commended the northern groups that issued the ultimatum to Ndigbo to leave the northern states, saying such order was in line with the agitation for the realisation of Biafra Republic. The IYVPD, further told the governors of the Eastern states not to take the ultimatum lightly, rather they should make efforts to evacuate Ndigbo in the North as a proactive measure to protect them so that what happened to them in 1967 where many Ndigbo were killed in the North will not repeat itself. In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, signed by the President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, chapter, Odozi Nwodozi, he advised Ndigbo living in the Northern States to report any suspected moves to any trusted security security agency or the leadership of Ohaneze. Arewa youths are jokers Some Igbo personalities have described as “a huge joke”, the quit order issued by a group of Northern Nigerian youths to Ndigbo living in their area. The respondents, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, yesterday, were unanimous that there would definitely be casualties on both sides, if they carry out the threat. In his response, the former Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Chief Kelechi Nwagwu, said “such a call can only come from renegrades.” His words: “No northerner worth his salt can utter such a threat. If such a statement was made, it definitely came from renegrades.” According to the former Speaker, Ndigbo are not only the the fulcrum of the identity called Nigeria, but have also been playing leadership roles in the development of the country. “Ndigbo are now wiser. Those issuing the threat know very well that Nigeria cannot exist without Ndigbo. Those threatening us must be told in clear terms that if they carry out their threat, we have option B”, Chief Nwagwu said. In his own reaction, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Amaugo Ugorji, described the quit order as “grand posturing. “Permit me to re-echo what General Yakubu Gowon said recently that all is not well with Nigeria. Honestly, there is palpable tension in the land and it is in the air”, Ugorji said. According to the renowned Architect, “there is the clamour for Biafra in the East, resource control in the Niger Delta and another form of demand in the West. It was not therefore surprising to find the North coming up with their own demand, so that if there is going to be any dialogue, they won’t be left out of the bargain.”]]>
Written By Obioma Ezenwobodo Esq
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