By Emma Amaize, Samuel Oyadongha, Festus Ahon, Egufe Yafugborhi, Emmanuel Una Godwin Oghre, Chioma Onuegbu, Ike Uchechukwu, Emem Idio, Davies Iheamnachor, Ochuko Akuopha, Emma Ayungbe, Sunday Bomadi
ASABA—LEADERS and stakeholders in Niger Delta have rejected the quit notice issued northerners and Yoruba, last Thursday, by a Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, CNDA, to leave the oil region before October 1, saying it was illegal, irrational, superfluous and not the solution to the problems facing the country.
They said, yesterday, that the CNDA does not represent the people of Niger Delta, urging the agitators to withdraw the quit notice as well as tender apology for the apparent mischief, noting that two wrongs do not make a right.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, said: “I have always maintained that Nigeria stands to benefit from unity among the different peoples of the country. It is counterproductive for anybody to issue quit notice to fellow Nigerians living in our region.”
Urging the militants to exercise restraint, Okowa stressed the need to keep Nigeria as one and advised the youths not to take the law into their hands.
That is condemnable—Bozimo
Former Minister of Police Affairs, Chief Alaowei Bozimo, reacting to the coalition’s ultimatum from the United Kingdom, UK, on phone, said: “That is condemnable, it does not advance the contemplation in any meaningful direction. I suppose the agitators were provoked by the arrogance of northern youths giving notice to Igbo to quit the north.
“From whatever direction you look at it, it is wrong for anybody to solicit the breakup of Nigeria. It is too late in the day to contemplate that. I think restructuring will put a stop to some of these agitations.“
It” s uncalled for—Ayemi-Botu
Former national chairman, Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria and paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, Delta State, HM Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu , told Vanguard: “In my opinion, the quit notice is uncalled for and I advise them to retract their statement and allow peace to reign.”
Convener and Coordinator of Niger Delta Peoples’ Congress, Chief Mike Loyibo, who traced the quit and counter-quit orders flying around in the country to pre-independence days when the founding fathers, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello, expressed reservations on the prospects of one Nigeria, said: “Let all the regions respect and stop treating others as a second-class citizen. Our youths must tread with caution, support the current government at the centre to bring development and address all the issues we raised because we are a peculiar people.”
Ndokwa National Youth Movement, NNYM, Delta State, in a statement by its National Secretary, Mr Presley Idi, stated: “We call and plead with our brothers to do the needful and withdraw the ultimatum. The country is already heated up as it is, we should not entangle it more because if any crisis eventually breaks out, it is our people that we are working so hard to protect and get a better life for that will be caught in the crossfire, where then lies the logic?”
Community leader in Sapele, Mr Ben Tobi, also said: “The quit notice will do the country no good. It is better for every part of the country to remain as one. The unity of this country is sacrosanct. The challenge the country has is corruption and the current government is addressing corruption in a way it has never been addressed.”
Correspondingly, former governorship aspirant in Delta State, Mr. Sunny Onuesoke, said: “I do not think it is the best thing to do now. We are not talking of quit notice now, instead of quit notice, the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, initiate and commence the restructuring agenda.”
On his part, ex-member, Delta State House of Assembly, Mr Abel Oshevire, noted: “It is really sad and disheartening that the Nigerian youths of today are beating the drums of war and disintegration without minding the dangers that their reckless statements, utterances and actions are capable of inflicting on the corporate existence of the country.”
Speaking to Vanguard in Warri, Coordinator, Itsekiri Movement for Peace and Justice, Amaechi Ogbonna, said: “There was never any quit notice by Niger Delta to northerners and Yoruba in the region. What is falsely being promoted as Niger Delta quit order is strictly an Ijaw agenda.”
Spokesman of Gbaramatu-Ijaw kingdom, Warri South-West LGA Delta State, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, also said: “The quit notice by some groups for me is misplaced. I see no reason to give Yoruba quit notice.”
In his reaction, the Pere of Akugbene-Mein Kingdom, HRM Kalanama VIII, who is second vice chairman, Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers, said: “I want to appeal to the agitators to please give peace a chance and allow the Federal Government to carry out its developmental strides in the region.”
Bishop of Bomadi Vicariate of the Catholic Church in the state, Most Rev Hyacinth Egbebo, stated: “We need to sit down and think for ourselves, I do not support the quit notice, it is a point-blank no, because that is not the way forward.”
However, NPDC in its reaction by the secretary general, Prof Benjamin Okaba in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said: “We are very uncomfortable and in disagreement with the issuance of quit notice to the northern and Yoruba people in the Niger Delta. The statement should be disregarded and all Nigerians should feel free in the Niger Delta region.”