Alhaji Ahmed Sule, Secretary, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, in this interview justified the Arewa youth coalition’s three months quit notice to the Igbo to leave the North, saying the North is tired of insults.
HOW do you see the threat issued to the Igbo to leave the North before October 1, 2017?
We have a sovereign state with sovereign powers, whether it is the President or whoever is charged with the responsibility, he is duty bound to take care of any situation that is going to threaten the unity of the country. What brought about the Kaduna declaration? Over the years you have the Igbo people – their idea of Biafra within a sovereign state has become like a child’s play. You don’t try to make jest of situations like that especially in a country like Nigeria.
So the ACYF forum supports the quit notice to the Igbo to leave the North?
Things are getting too much and we are getting used to allowing them get away with it. Why should you always be talking about Biafra? The Arewa youths have never talked about breaking away from this country, in fact all we do in our programme is making sure this country remains united.
Is asking the Igbo to leave the North and the northerners in the South-East to come back to the North not part of attempts to break the country?
When you make threats and get away with them, it is not healthy. The average northerner is looked upon in a very funny way and as an illiterate. We have been swallowing it. What does that depict? We have learned people in the North just like in any other part of the country.
What do you think made the ACF end up backing the Arewa youth leadership?
The position we took is simple because, we are not fighting. If it is Biafra you want, always put your cards on the table. If you want to break away, you are not satisfied with the marriage and unity, okay, please, start moving, there is no fight in it.
Your quit notice followed the May 30 sit-at home. Does sitting at home to mourn the dead violate any law of the land?
To mourn the death of whom?
Those who died during the Biafra war
What we are talking about is beyond that sit at home thing. The average northerner accommodates a lot of stress and pains and silent insults from other parts of the country especially in the South…
Is the North marginalized?
Every part of this country is marginalized because it is either you are in the system or not.
Do you agree that Igbo should have the Sovereign State of Biafra?
If they can manage and there is no war about it. The three months quit notice has no inclination of violence because violence is the worst thing that comes up. We never said we are going to use force. Do we have any weapon to use force?
Why did your group dare the police to arrest the Arewa youth leaders?
As a policeman when you are given orders you are supposed to function.
Your group, the Arewa consultative forum was a part of the Arewa youth coalition, is that correct?
Yes, it is.
And you are seeing absolutely nothing wrong in the Kaduna declaration?
There is nothing wrong, there is nothing abnormal in it.
Don’t you think that your statement could have sparked some hatred somewhere, some violence somewhere even though you said you meant no violence?
Is anybody in this country praying for violence to take place? You have freedom of speech.
Treason in such statement
Somebody has the right to say he wants to break away from the country and nothing happens to him and you have somebody who is just talking about allowing him to go…
How do you see comments that the statement is treasonable?
It is not treasonable. It is how you want to interpret it. It cannot be treasonable if you cannot say there is treason in the Biafran stand, you shouldn’t turn round and say there is treason in such statement.
So what does the north want?
The north wants peace. The north on its own is fighting anything that is retrogressive to this country’s progress especially the Arewa youths.
The police have issued statement that they are going to arrest those who have issued this statement because at the moment we do know that Nnamdi Kanu is being tried for treason, he is on bail and why should your group not be arrested?
Who said our group should not be arrested? Did any one of those people say they should not be arrested, that they cannot be arrested?
You dared the police, it was reported that your group dared the police to arrest them
If there is an order inviting somebody or if there is an order of arrest coming from the court or whatever or from the powers that be, then the police have a duty to go and effect the arrest.