A coalition of Northern groups, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, on Tuesday, gave all Igbos resident in the 19 states of the North a three-month ultimatum to quit or be forced out after the expiration of the October 1, 2017 deadline.
“We are also telling our brothers (northerners) out there in the South-East to get prepared to come back home,” the National President, AYCF, Yerima Shettima, said at a press conference in Kaduna.
The ultimatum followed a successful sit-at-home order enforced by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra on May 30, 2017 which the five South-East states complied with.
The ultimatum was handed down at a well attended press conference held at the Arewa House, Kaduna, on Tuesday.
The text of the press conference signed by Nastura Ashir Sharif (Arewa Citizens Action for Change); Alhaji Shettima Yerima (Arewa Youth Consultative Forum); Aminu Adam (Arewa Youth Development Foundation); Alfred Solomon, (Arewa Students Forum); Abdul-Azeez Suleiman (Northern Emancipation Network), as well as Joshua Viashman, who signed on behalf of the Northern Youth Vanguard.
The National President of the Northern Emancipation Network, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, who read the text of the press conference, noted that the Igbo had become a threat to national unity, .
He noted that the action of the North was necessitated by the persistence for the actualisation of Biafra by the Igbo, saying this had led to the impediment of other people’s rights in the South-East by ‘the Indigenous People of Biafra and its overt and covert sponsors’.
Suleiman said, “With the effective date of this declaration, which is today, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, all Igbo currently residing in any part of northern Nigeria are, hereby, served notice to relocate within three months and all northerners residing in the South-East are advised likewise.
“All northern civil societies and pressure groups are, by this declaration, mandated to mobilise for sustained, coordinated campaigns at their respective state Government Houses, state Houses of Assembly, local government council secretariats and traditional palaces.
“Our first major move shall be to reclaim, assume and assert sole ownership and control of these landed resources currently owned, rented or in any way enjoyed by the …Igbo in any part of northern Nigeria.”
Suleiman warned that the failure of the Igbo to heed the relocation order, the group would mobilise the people of region against them (Igbo).
During the question and answer session, the National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, warned that their threat must not be taken with levity by the Federal Government.
When asked whether the Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Forum and other bodies in the region were contacted, Shettima said they did not need the permission of the elders because according to him, ‘they are part of the decadence in the North’.
“Never again shall we allow any group, (northern) elders to take us back. The ACF was part of the decadence of the region,” he added.
Reacting to the development, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-political body of the Igbo, demanded ‘urgent action’ from the country’s security agencies.
Ohanaeze also urged the Igbo in the North to be ‘vigilant’ while going about their activities.
The Deputy Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. Chuks Ibegbu, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Enugu, said the security agencies, particularly, the Department of State Services and the police, should take immediate steps to forestall any plan to launch attacks against the Igbo in the North.
“The DSS, the police and other security agencies should take note of the statement by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum and the other Northern groups for issuing this threat against the Igbo.
“It should not be seen as an empty threat; urgent action is needed to foil the plan to attack the Igbo in the North. It happened in the past and we don’t want it to happen again.
“In fact, Yerima Shettima should be arrested by the DSS immediately. We are watching to see what the DSS would do in this situation.
“Shettima’s statement is treasonable; he is inciting one section of the country against another section and we know from experience that this sort of thing could lead to a civil war. His utterances could destroy this country.”