By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
SOME Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders, yesterday, urged the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, CNDA, to return the favor of Arewa youths, who, Thursday, suspended and withdrew their earlier quit notice and 90-day ultimatum to Igbo to leave the north by correspondingly vacating its counter quit directive to Hausa, Fulani and Yoruba in the oil region.
Former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Idada Ikponmwen (retd), factional president of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eric Omare, Itsekiri rights activist, Amechi Ogbonna, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard, said it was the right thing to facilitate unity in the country.
Meanwhile, three Niger Delta militant groups, the Reformed Egesu Fraternity, REF, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, have also expressed their support for the withdrawal of the ultimatum with the REF saying that it would reach out to the CNDA to vacate its ultimatum.
Ikponmwen stated: “Arewa’s withdrawal of the quit notice is a very welcome one, it certainly must go on record as one of the measures that are imperative for dousing prevailing tension in our country at the moment. For me, it was a necessary outflow to the widespread reaction of abhorrence that followed the quit notice from within and outside Nigeria.”
“It is my ardent hope that other quit notices that followed the Arewa one would be vacated soon. The withdrawal of the quit notice across board is one the measures that will pave way for conducive environment for national effort for placing our country in the mood for the inevitable reorganization that has become necessary for peace, guaranteed prosperity in national cohesion that visibly needed for our country’s corporate existence,” he added.
Factional President of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Mr Eric Omare, told Saturday Vanguard: “The IYC is glad that reason has prevailed over emotion and divisive tendencies of the Arewa youths with the withdrawal of their ultimatum to the Igbo living in the north.”
“However, such politically motivated quit notice must not repeat itself in the future. Those calling for restructuring and self-determination have a right to do so, hence it should not be a basis to issue them a quit notice.
“And the way to avoid a repeat of such quit notice in the future is to address the issues underlying the inter-ethnic crisis, which is to restructure Nigeria. Nigeria must be restructured for peace to exist in the county,” he asserted.
Itsekiri rights activist, Mr. Amechi Ogbona, said: “It is a good omen for the country to be informed that the Igbo man is a Nigerian, the misleading songs on Biafra do not add value to the Igbo man.”
REF spokesperson, Tamarakuro Owei, said: “We commend the coalition of Arewa youths for their suspension and withdrawal of the ultimatum to Igbo of Southern Nigeria and wish to say that we will reach out to our sister Niger Delta youths to do same.”
He, however, added: “This does not foreclose our determination and resolve to our quest for total overhaul of Nigeria.”
Leader of RNDA, self-styled “Major-General” Johnmark Ezonbi, who spoke guardedly, asserted: ”What we are agitating for in the creek is resource control, true federalism and 50 per cent derivation of oil produced from the region as it was done for the northern region. The issue of quit notice by Arewa youths to the Igbo living in the north was uncalled for and it was the only highly treasonable offence ever committed against the country.”
“However, if Yerima and his group withdraw it, which does not mean they are above the law because the north is in command, it does not mean anything to us in the creek. What we want is unity and fairness.
Reacting through its spokesperson, W O I Ezon Ebi, the NDRC said. “It is a welcome development because we all need one another to build great Nigeria of our dream in this 21st century, where there will be justice and equity, devolution of power and true federalism.”