Arewa youths warn South East governors of consequences over attacks on northerners
• Anambra police begin to move to identify culprits
• CP visits Hausa communities, assures of protection
• Soludo denies reported ‘religious’ killings in the state, cautions media, seeks retraction
• CAN condemns killing, insists injury to one is an injury to all
Arewa youths have asked South-East governors to immediately put an end to the killings of northerners in their region or face consequences.
The warning came after separate emergency meetings held yesterday by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) and Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG).
This was at the backdrop of the killing on Sunday of a mother, her four children, and six others of northern extraction in Anambra State, allegedly by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In a statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, AYCF said: “The fact that governors of the South East are the chief security officers of their states, but do nothing to stop the unprovoked killing of northerners, presupposes an ethnic cleansing agenda, and we condemn it in whatever guise – IPOB attack or ESN (Eastern Security Network).”
It said: “The killing of a mother, the baby she cuddled, as well as the Christian aircraft engineer of northern extraction means the life of our own people are no longer valued in the South East, where IPOB, ESN and so-called unknown gunmen are doing as they please, as non-state actors, unhindered.
“The silence of these governors, despite the brutal attacks on our sons and daughters in the South-East must be stopped now, and we want to sound our note of warning, that no Nigerian has the monopoly of violence, and that northerners’ respect for the rule of law should never be taken as weakness.”
CNG also threatened reprisals, even as it cautioned the media to shun slanted reportage of security situations.
Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in a statement, said: “We are aware that the activities of IPOB/ESN terror groups are supported morally and politically by the vast majority of pliant Igbo elites, politicians, traditional rulers, business persons, and the larger population of this ethnic group. It is also a situation that feeds on the docility of the affrighted section of those who pose as northern leaders today.
“The recent attacks have pushed matters to a point whereby silence has become complicity and inaction is no longer an option, making it impossible for us to remain indifferent or silent in the face of such extreme provocations.
“As representatives of various interest groups from northern Nigeria, CNG, today, declares enough is enough! The North will no longer remain passive under such deliberate and sustained attacks on its people and interests, and will henceforth be forced to react to every provocation and unwarranted violation.”
MEANWHILE, Anambra State governor, Charles Soludo, denied reports that religious killings targeted at northerners have been happening in the state, even as he warned an Abuja-based newspaper, against inciting violence in the country.
Soludo was reacting to a lead story by the media outfit, which reported that coordinated killings of northerners have been going on in the state.
The governor, in a statement by his Press Secretary, Mr. Christian Aburime, said: “While it is true that there is general insecurity across the country, there are no targeted religious or ethnic killings in Anambra State.
“As a matter of fact, Anambra indigenes have suffered more casualties as a result of the unfortunate killings.
“The insensitive slant of the report has the tendency to stir anger and disaffection in other parts of the country. The report, therefore, is totally unacceptable and inimical to the unity and progress of the nation.
“The government of Anambra hereby states that the report is not only sensational but misleading and should be immediately retracted to reflect the real situation on ground.”
The statement added: “The Soludo administration has not only demonstrated commitment in tackling insecurity but has continuously reassured both indigenes and non-indigenes in the state of their protection and safety.”
THIS came as the police command in the state said it has begun an investigation into the killings.
In a statement, yesterday, Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, said the investigation has commenced and “our deployment is very strategic and intelligent-driven, aimed at unraveling the identities of the perpetrators.”
He said the Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, has visited the Hausa communities in the state, assuring them of adequate security and protection.
IN a related development, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, condemned the killings in a statement issued yesterday by the state chairman, Rev. Joseph John Hayab.
The statement reads in part: “We have read the story of the killing of Fatima, her unborn child, and four children in Anambra with sadness and disappointment about how evil activities have expanded in our country while good people are divided and silent.
“Life in our country has become so cheap with the rise of many evil criminal groups in every part of the country. Killings of human beings are no longer a serious matter because people have been divided by tribe, region and religion, which has made it impossible for us to collectively condemn the evil around us or fight the evil we are seeing as a united force.
“CAN can not keep quiet when evil is destroying the land. We all must know that when there is an injury to one, then that injury is to all. And evil only triumphs when good people keep quiet and look the other way.
“CAN, therefore, is urging the Federal Government to go after Fatima’s murderers and all others who have killed any Nigerian from any region.
“Until our government and our law enforcement agencies go after all criminals and murderers, and justice is seen to have been done on all murderers, this evil will not stop and the murderers will not see their crime as evil but instead, they will smartly make us fight among ourselves and pay less attention to their crimes.”