Another Arewa group condemns quit notice to Igbos
• Notice Invalid Without Mandate, Says SAN
Another group from the northern part of the country yesterday condemned the ultimatum issued earlier by some 16 northern groups giving Igbos October 1 deadline to vacate the region.
The group, Coalition of Arewa Dialogue Youth Forum, said the ultimatum issued by the 16 northern groups was provocative and a grave threat to national security.
In a reaction to the notice, a constitutional lawyer, Gabriel Ofodile Okafor (SAN), has said the notice is a welcome development, but unfortunate, as the groups cannot claim to represent either the political class or traditional institution; hence the notice is invalid, as it is without any mandate.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, under the title “Jos Declaration,” Muhammad Muntasir Adamu, the Co-Convener, who read the address, along with Abu-Maleek M.J. Coordinator, Maxwell Gowon, Co-Convener and Aliyu Mustapha, Deputy Coordinator, who all signed the statement, condemned the quit order in strong terms.
They added that Nigeria belongs to everybody and every Nigerian has the right to live in any part of the country without any fear of intimidation or harassment to lives and property, stressing that the statement issued in Kaduna does not reflect the opinions or views of every northern Nigerian youth, just as the actions of IPOB and MASSOB do not reflect the views and opinions of every person in the Southeast.
“We boldly say that two wrongs don’t make a right. We should not go down the same lane with some of our brothers in the Southeast. We have a duty, as young people, to re-write all the mistakes of the past and also to strengthen the unity of our country.
“Nigeria is more than just a geographical entity. It is more than just a creation of Britain for administrative convenience; it is a creation of God and we strongly believe He has great plans for us. The future of Nigeria is as bright as the promise of God,” they argued.
They further condemned statements by some political elite and elder statesmen capable of further heating up the polity, but commended the pro-active responses of Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai and his Borno State counterpart, Kashim Shettima, to the so-called “Kaduna Declaration.”
The youths called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to convene a national dialogue to address all the grievances of the people, and political, religious and traditional leaders to encourage and preach unity to the citizens and strengthen belief in the Nigerian project.
They also urged government to caution and prosecute, when necessary, anybody found to be propagating or making inciting statements that constitute a threat to national unity.
On his part, Okafor said: “If they are the hand of Esau, but the voice of Jacob, we thank God. They are bold to assert “each should be allowed to go its own way, as we categorically proclaim today that the North is fed-up with being in the same country with this pack of acrimonious Igbo partners.”
He stressed that the north has always vehemently opposed the restructuring of the country, recalling: “For a long time, it has been obvious that ‘there is no basis for national unity,’ to borrow the words of an elder statesman and former Head of State Gen Yakubu Gowon.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no Igbo man is going to forfeit his or her property anywhere in Nigeria. Dissolution of Nigeria does not mean forfeiture of assets/properties by people moving out of their normal or usual abode or business.
“After all, many of the so-called Arewa youths or their fathers own property overseas, especially in the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Dubai. “Even as the process of dissolution continues, the issue of mop up of remnants of stubborn Igbos does not arise. The rule of law shall still be alive and active.
“Those who are preparing to possess properties, which they never built, must realise that the issue of abandoned property of post- civil war era cannot happen again.”
Okafor cautioned that every Igbo man who resides anywhere in Nigeria must realise that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
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