Arewa youths suspend quit notice to Igbo
*Seek arrest, prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu
*Urge govt to allow referendum on Biafra
Members of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) yesterday rose from an emergency meeting with a resolve to immediately suspend the quit notice issued to the Igbo.
The youth groups had recently, in what was popularly referred to as Kaduna Declaration, issued a quit notice to the people of South eastern zone to relocate from the north before October 1.
Addressing a world press conference yesterday, the leader of Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Nastura Ashir Shariff, who spoke on behalf of the coalition, stated that the suspension was influenced by vigorous engagements between members and concerned Nigerian and international groups.
“As a consequence of these vigorous engagements and as a cultured people with a tradition of respect for our national values, leaders and elders, we are today pleased to announce the immediate suspension of the relocation clause otherwise referred to as the quit notice from Kaduna Declaration.
“This suspension, we are proud to say, is also out of respect for, and in reaffirmation of our allegiance to one, united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, and in our unshaken confidence in the political will and sincere commitment of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari to take a holistic look at all the concerns we raised.
“We are also pleased to announce that the Kaduna Declaration has achieved most of its major objectives, chief among which include forcing the hitherto deliberately neglected dangerous Biafran issue to the front burner of the nation’s discussion agenda.”
The northern youths blamed the quit notice on the alleged incessant threat of war by Nnamdi Kanu- led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The suspension however came with certain conditions.
According to the group, the conditions include arrest and prosecution of Nnamdi Kanu. The youths also called on the Senate to demand that all Senators who stood surety for him in court rescind their bond or be suspended accordingly.
The Arewa group further called for a total closure of all the open drug markets operating in Northern Nigeria and the immediate implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG).
They urged the law enforcement agencies to carry out a careful, lawful and purposeful search of all suspected premises in the North in where IPOB sympathisers might be amassing arms.
They also stressed the need to allow Igbo to hold a referendum to decide their future either as Nigerians or Biafrans as the population of Ndigbo that supports Biafra is larger than the few who appear to be against it.
The Arewa group said: “Failure to do that will only douse this tension temporarily while they regroup to prepare for the war they have always craved and openly called for. We are opposed to war with any part of this country and we are opposed to any situation that will lead to war.
“One of the key reasons Biafra should be allowed to hold a referendum is because the principle of self-determination has since the World War II became a part of the United Nations Charter, which states in Article 1 (2) that one of the purposes of the UN is to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people.”
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, who was at the occasion thanked the Arewa group for towing the path of peace, adding that the age of militancy was over.
“Let the conversation open. We want to prevent a situation where people take advantage of the quit notice to kill and maim and loot the properties of innocent Nigerians living in the north.
“In this country, issues of religion and ethnicity are catalysts for violence. We need to always explore a political and peaceable solution to our problems.”
Among other key northern leaders at the event, which was also attended by scores of Igbo residents in the north and Abuja, were elder statesman, Sani Zangon Daura and Senator Kabiru Gaya.
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