By Our Reporters
…Ultimatum, an invitation to anarchy — Fayose, Fasehun
…Arewa youths acting a script —Middle Belt youths
…FG should unite Nigerians —Dickson
…Blame political elite on increasing agitations– Osinbajo
KADUNA — Former Chief Security Officer , CSO, to late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha (retd), and Founder of the Biafra Independence Movement, BIM/ Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, yesterday, met in Kaduna to broker peace over the quit notice issued to Igbo to leave the northern region by a coalition of Northern youths. The meeting, which held at Arewa House, where the northern youths made their infamous declaration, was convened by Major Al-Mustapha, apparently to douse tension caused by the declaration.
This came as Second Republic Federal lawmaker, Junaid Muhammad, lashed out at the perceived silence displayed by Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in the face of raging drumbeats of war by regional groups in the country.
Also, as more criticisms against the three months quit notice continued, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Founder of Yoruba socio-cultural group, the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Dr Frederick Fasehun, sued for peace.
Major Al-Mustapha challenged youths in the region to allow reason to prevail and resist the temptation to be used to foment trouble that would affect the unity of the country.
He alluded that the present crisis in the country as a result of divisive utterances from various groups might have been sponsored by countries that envy Nigeria, adding that these countries could even sponsor their lackeys into leadership positions in Nigeria.
“We are appealing that our younger ones, who have been declared wanted, should be set free, and the order of arrest be rescinded because it is not the solution,” he said
In his remarks, MASSOB leader, Chief Raphael Uwazuruike, noted that the crisis in Nigeria was being manipulated and caused by politicians, stressing that “the youths must not allow that, the country must continue to exist as one nation but issues of marginalization can be disscussed.”
He said though it was right for any part of the country to seek self determination, it was wrong to pursue same through violent means.
Ultimatum, an invitation to anarchy — Fayose, Fasehun
On their parts, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and founder of Yoruba socio-cultural group, Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Frederick Fasehun, sued for peace in the raging face-off.
At different fora, they described the ultimatum as a recipe for anarchy, calling on the Federal Government to put those behind the pronouncement in check.
According to Governor Fayose, the statement credited to some elements in the North have not only put the unity of the country in total jeopardy but is a clear indication that Nigeria is no longer one.
“The gap has widened beyond measure because of the body language of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. We are more divided than ever. The elements are emboldened because they believe their person is in office and nothing would happen.”
Fayose urged the Federal Government to accept responsibility for the present problem and called for decisive action to stop it.
Reacting, Fasehun, in a statement released in Lagos, weekend, said considering the current travails Nigeria was going through, everyone owed it a duty not to complicate matters by opening new vistas of trouble.
“What would happen should the Yoruba decide to issue this same ultimatum to northerners living in the South-West? And what if the Igbo give a deadline to the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba living in the South-East? And the Middle-Belters now decide they do not want to see the Hausa-Fulani and Igbo groups?”
Osinbajo’s silence fuelling drumbeat of war — Junaid
Junaid Muhammad, in a contribution to a public lecture organised by the Mumbayya House, Kano with a theme, “Electoral Democracy and Integrity in Nigeria, Reflections on INEC Transformation 2011-2015, said: “I must make it clear that lack of brutal frankness on the part of government, when it comes to national issues, appeared to be fuelling these drumbeats of war.
“Various ethnic groups and individuals have been making remarks capable of breaking the unity of Nigeria but I haven’t heard the government as the epitome of statehood calling people to order.”
Arewa youths acting a script —Middle Belt youths
However, in its reaction, Middle Belt Youth Council, saidthe Arewa youths were acting a script. The organisation said in a statement signed by its President, Mr. Emma Zopmal, that Arewa youths and their sponsors must be arrested and charged for treason.
According to the group, the sponsors could also be part of frustrated, corrupt people bent on destabilizing the present administration.
Ann Kio-Briggs condemns quit notice
Similarly, a top Niger Delta activitst, Ms AnnKio-Briggs, also condemned the quit notice.
Speaking, yesterday, in Port Harcourt as Convener, Niger Delta Self Determination Movement, NDSDM, the group said no modular refinery owned by a non Niger Deltan would be allowed by people of the region to operate in theDelta region, adding that all multinational oil companies in the country should relocate their headquaters to the Niger Delta region.
FG should unite Nigerians —Dickson
Also yesterday, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State condemned the quit notice, saying it was a shame that even after fighting a needless civil war some 50 years ago, even with the relics and scars of the war still staring at our faces, “some people would deliberately build up hate against fellow Nigerians similar to the build up to the civil war in 1967.”
He said all Nigerians are guaranteed by the 1999 constitution to live in any place of their choice and pursue their daily bread without molestation.
The governor, who was speaking in Lagos, weekend, in an interview with editors said this country was getting too divided, stressing that it was high time the Federal Government deliberately showed leadership by designing a comprehensive master plan to reconcile all citizens irrespective of tribe or religion.
Time to embrace think home philosophy—Obiogbolu
On his part, an aspirant for the Anambra State governorship election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Alex Obiogbolu, said the quit notice calls for the Igbo to embrace the think home philosophy.
Obiogbolu, during an interactive session with journalists, said his propagated Oganiru Anambra project had always clamoured for the Igbo to invest at home instead of using their hard-earned money to develop other regions who do not respect them.
Obiogbolu said though he is a passionate believer in the Nigeria project, that the time has come for the Igbo doing business outside the South-East zone to start thinking of transferring their huge investments home to add to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, of the states and transform the region.
Threat should be taken seriously —Ogirishi Igbo
In his reaction, Ogirishi Igboland, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, said the quit notice should be given the amount of seriousness it deserved.
Ezeonwuka said this was no longer a time to ignore any youth organisation because youths are the high tension wire of all the ethnic groups in the country.
Ezeonwuka declared: “It is the youths that made Boko Haram strong. It is the youths that made IPOB or MASSOB strong. Therefore, in terms of suicidal activism, elders have little or nothing to contribute and so, whether the northern elders are aware of the quit notice issued by their youths or not, it is immaterial.”
Methodist Church accuses IGP of supporting Arewa youths
Also yesterday, the Methodist Church of Nigeria accused the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, of working hand-in-hand in support of the coalition of Arewa youths, saying that was why the Police have not arrested any of the youth leaders.
The Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Kanu Uche, who made the allegation in Umuahia, yesterday, wondered why the Inspector-General of Police has not ensured the arrest of the youth leaders, several days after Governor Nasir el-Rufai ordered their arrest.
The Prelate who spoke at the end of the 35th Council of Bishops of Methodist Church, also lambasted former Northern elder statesman and former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, who incidentally is one of the leaders of Arewa Consultative Forum, saying he should not be allowed to move around freely after openly speaking in support of the action of the youth groups.
Osinbajo fingers political elite on increasing agitations
Meantime, Acting President Osinbajo, yesterday, blamed the political elite for the increasing agitations across the country for self determination, arguing that their failure to provide the basic needs of the people forced them to seek succour in their respective tribal groups.
Declaring open the 50th Conference of the Nigerian Law Teachers Association at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Osinbajo observed that the political elite had also failed the people through massive embezzlement of public funds meant to improve the welfare of the people.
According to him, most of the security problems confronting the nation were self inflicted by corrupt practices and injustices and wondered how the legal system of the country could survive and serve its purpose under such situations.
He said: “The Boko Haram in the North East, militants in the Niger Delta and farmers/herdsmen clashes were as a result of poverty. A lot of these agitations centred around the failure of the state to create an inclusive society, a failure to guarantee the security of lives and property by the agencies charged with such responsibility. And lack of provision of basic needs of lives to the largest number of people remained the greatest source of tension in the polity.”
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