Igbo quit notice: FG, Northern govs, others slam Arewa youths; Igbo quit notice: FG reacts to ultimatum; Igbo quit notice: Security agencies on alert over the threat – Lai Mohammed; Igbo quit notice: ‘Igbos, remain calm but vigilant’ – Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Igbo quit notice: ‘The statement is irresponsible’ – Northern Govs; Igbo quit notice: El-Rufai urges Nigeria police to arrest signatories to ultimatum; Igbo quit notice: Police begin manhunt for signatories to Kaduna declaration; Igbo quit notice: They have no right to issue such notice – ACF; Igbo quit notice: With N44trn investment in North, Igbo can’t be driven out –Ohanaeze youths; Igbo quit notice: South-east govs hold emergency meeting . . .
Outrage greeted the quit notice and ultimatum given out by 16 Arewa youth groups to the Igbo to quit northern Nigeria within three months (till October 1, 2017) or be forced to do so.
The Federal Government urged Igbo and other Nigerians to ignore the notice and go about their normal activities just as Governors of the 19 northern states disowned the Arewa youths, assuring that they have put measures in place to ensure there is no breakdown of law and order.
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai; the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) the Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) among others, condemned the statement by 16 Arewa youth groups with Governor El-Rufai calling for their arrests as ACF stated that the groups had no right to issue such a statement.
The Nigerian government has reacted to the quit notice given to the Igbo to quit Northern Nigeria. ‘Ignore the ultimatum, security agencies are on red alert’, the Federal Government said through Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau.
The statement urged the Igbo and other Nigerians to go about their businesses without fear of molestation. In a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, the minister “lamented the spate of such spurious and unwarranted calls for separation. He, therefore, called on all well meaning Nigerians to go about their normal activities as Government would bring to bear the full weight of the law on any individual or group violating the rights of citizens of the Country.
He added that citizens were free to go about their normal businesses and would not be harassed or deterred by any group or persons.” He further 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. The Federal Government also said security.
The statement urged the Igbo and other Nigerians to go about their businesses without fear of molestation. In a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, the minister “lamented the spate of such spurious and unwarranted calls for separation. He, therefore, called on all well meaning Nigerians to go about their normal activities as Government would bring to bear the full weight of the law on any individual or group violating the rights of citizens of the Country. He added that citizens were free to go about their normal businesses and would not be harassed or deterred by any group or persons.”
He further 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.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that security agencies were on alert over the threat to forcibly eject the Igbo from Northern Nigeria come October 1, 2017 if they do not go by themselves – after the Tuesday ultimatum by some 16 Arewa youths in Kaduna. The minister said this while answering questions from State House correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed assured Nigerians that security agencies were on top of the matter, adding that the statement was capable of destabilizing the country. Observing that such development did not start now, he said: “What I want to assure you is that security organisations are very much on top of this matter.” When asked whether the issue of the ultimatum came up for discussion during the FEC meeting, the minister said it did not come up.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the 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, inter alia:
“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.
The Borno State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors ‘ Forum, Kashim Shettima, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues in Maiduguri, said they were in touch with heads of their security agencies and have taken measures that will guarantee the rights of all Nigerians living in any part of the North.
The Governors also called on security agencies to arrest the youths and probe the motive behind the ultimatum because it is a suspicious act that falls in line with recent trend of arms cache haul at the ports and coup rumors.
Shettima said inter alia: “On behalf of the Governors of the 19 Northern states, we totally condemn such irresponsible pronouncements by those groups. We condemn, we disown, and we are totally distancing ourselves from those faceless groups who don’t have the mandate of the people of Northern Nigeria to make such loud pronouncements. Section 41, Subsection 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very explicit in safeguarding the rights of all Nigerians to reside in any part of the country with no hindrance whatsoever.
But then, when you see a toad dancing in broad daylight, the drummer is not far off from the main road. We wish to call on the security agencies to beam their lenses on these groups, and unearth the faces behind the mask. “Some months back, there were cases of importation of arms, illegal importation of arms intercepted at the ports, then we started hearing rumors of a coup d’etat. Now, a group, or a bunch of groups that do not have the mandate of the people came up with remarks capable of destabilizing the north and the country as a whole.
‘We are one nation tied to a common destiny, the governance of Northern Nigeria is not in alignment with those pronouncements, and we will take whatever measures that is necessary to safeguard the lives and properties of Nigerians living in any part of the North. I am in contact with most of my colleagues, and they are all talking to heads of security establishments in their respective domains because we cannot afford to take chances. We cannot afford to toil with the destiny of this country. “The 19 Northern Governors wish to call on our brothers of Igbo descent to remain calm and go about their legitimate businesses. Nobody can dare to intimidate, harass or dehumanise them in any of the 19 northern states. Our governors will not allow that.”
Kaduna state governor Nasir El- Rufai’s urged the Nigeria Police to immediately arrest all signatories of the Kaduna declaration (that the Igbos should vacate Northern Nigeria) and directed his Attorney General and commissioner for Justice to prepare charges of incitement against leaders of the groups.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, yesterday, the governor, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, said in a statement, inter alia:
“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.
Kaduna State government has, therefore, ordered the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the signatories to the statement. “The Kaduna State Government condemns in the strongest terms the press statement by some self-appointed ‘northern youths’ that threatened the safety and property of our citizens of Igbo extraction. Government assures every resident of our state that their constitutional and human rights to live peacefully and own property wherever they choose is sacrosanct.
Even 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. “The Kaduna State Government believes in and will uphold the right of every Nigerian to live safely and develop his/her full potentials within its territory. “Reckless disregard for the rights of other citizens drips through the press statement by these ‘northern youths’ who have chosen to use the discourse around restructuring to promote their own agenda of hate, division and incitement. This sort of opportunists cannot be allowed to distort debate, or turn it into a pretext for a barely-disguised agenda of displacement and dispossession of some citizens . . . “
Following Governor El-Rufai’s directive, the police in Kaduna said a manhunt has been launched for the signatories to the statement ordering the Igbo to quit Northern Nigeria before October 1, 2017. The manhunt, according to the police, is backed by the order given by Kaduna State government to have them arrested.
Reacting to the declaration in Kaduna for the Igbo to quit Nothern Nigeria, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Spokesman , Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim said no person or group has any right to threaten people who are going about their legitimate businesses.
“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.”
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has reacted to the quit-the-North notice in a declaration given to the Igbo in Kaduna on Tuesday by 16 Arewa youths, describing it as a “security threat and a crime against the Nigerian State.”
In a statement issued by the President of Ohanaeze Youths Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the OYC said, inter alia:
“the ultimatum was a call for war and should be treated as such by security agents. 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.
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.”
THE Governors of South eastern states of Nigeria on Wednesday held an emergency meeting over the Kaduna declaration which contained a quit notice given to Ndigbo residing in northern Nigeria.
This information was disclosed in Enugu (the capital of Enugu state and ex-capital of the defunct Republic of Biafra) on Wednesday, to the media, by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo. The Ohanaeze chieftain said this during a night of tributes in honour of the late Ohanaeze chieftain and veteran Biafra soldier, Prof. Ben Obumselu.
Chief Nwodo disclosed that the five south east Governors had almost mobilized thousands of luxurious buses and trucks to evacuate Ndigbo from Northern Nigeria, but for the timely intervention of Governor Nasiru El-Rufia of Kaduna state. Chief Nwodo further disclosed that Governor El-Rufia has directed the arrest of the Arewa youths fanning the embers of war in Nigeria and appreciated Governor El-Rufia’s effort.