•No comments on calls for my arrest — Nnamdi Kanu
•APC Youth Caucus urges FG to arrest trouble makers
By Dapo Akinrefon & Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA—The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has withdrawn the “quit notice” it issued Igbo resident in the region, but asked the Federal Government to arrest the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, saying the time has come to curtail his excesses.
At a press conference attended by the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima; Sen. Kabiru Gaya and other northern leaders, yesterday, in Abuja, the group, however, said it would continue to pursue its other demands up to the United Nations.
“Mindful of the concerns generated by the clause in the Kaduna Declaration that advised the Igbo to relocate from Northern Nigeria and for Northerners in the South East to do likewise, and our commitment to the unity of our dear country, we immediately opened channels for dialogue and interaction with government agencies, national and international groups, institutions and figures.
“Admittedly, we came under intense, persuasive pressure from genuinely concerned national, political, traditional, religious and cultural leaders, prominent among which were a section of Northern Governors Forum under its chairman, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State; northern traditional rulers and the Department of State Services, DSS.
“Most significant was our correspondence with the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and most recently, our interface with the Presidency through the Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters.
“As a consequence of these vigorous engagements and as cultured people with a tradition of respect for our national values, leaders and elders, we are today pleased to announce the immediate suspension of the relocation clause otherwise referred to as the quit notice from the Kaduna Declaration,” the CNG said in a speech read by its spokesman, Abdulaziz Suleiman.
We’ve achieved our aims — CNG
The CNG also said with the Kaduna declaration, it had achieved most of its aims, “chief among which include forcing the hitherto deliberately neglected dangerous Biafran issue to the front-burner of national discourse.
“In the meantime, we shall firmly pursue our petitions to the United Nations and the Nigerian federal authorities calling for appropriate sanction on Nnamdi Kanu, other IPOB leaders and their sponsors, in addition to labelling them a terror outfit.”
The CNG also listed several terms which it asked the government to consider, stressing that the Federal Government should allow and support the Igbo to hold a referendum on secession.
“Taking all other issues raised in the Kaduna Declaration over the past few months, vis-a-vis the effort by various government and non-governmental bodies to engage us in dialogue, we submit that there is need to look at the following issues holistically as safeguards against future ethnic tensions:
Allow the Igbo and support them to hold a referendum to decide their future either as Nigerians or as Biafrans, in view of the fact that the population of the Igbo that supports Biafra is far larger than the few who appear to be against it.
Failure to do that will only douse this tension temporarily while they regroup to prepare for the war they have always craved and openly called for. We are opposed to war with any part of this country and we are opposed to any situation that will lead to war.
One of the key reasons Biafra should be allowed to hold a referendum is the principle of self-determination which has, since World War 11, become a part of the United Nations Charter, which states in Article 1 (2), that one of the purposes of the UN is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people.
By virtue of Nigeria being a signatory to the various international conventions that entrench the rights of a people to self-determination; we submit that it is only proper for Nigerian authorities to reflect that right in the ongoing constitution review or in the alternative, rescind its endorsement of the said conventions.
If for any reason a referendum cannot be held for the moment, we insist the Igbo both in the South-East and in other parts of Nigeria, including all elected and other office holders, be made to discard totally any idea of Biafra and to show practical actions to prove that they believe in one Nigeria.
Relevant law enforcement agencies, should carry out a careful, lawful and purposeful search of all suspected premises in the North in which IPOB sympathizers might be amassing arms. This is necessary because since the declaration of war by IPOB, there had been cases of interception of caches of arms concealed and smuggled into some parts of Northern Nigeria.
Let it be known that it is illogical to wait in this obvious and clear state of danger until the secessionist unleashes terror on innocent people and communities. By extension, all unlicensed arms and ammunition should be mopped up by the authorities. And if there is a counter suspicion of Northerners in the East amassing arms, they should also be searched and confiscated.
We insist on immediate steps to be taken for the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu and for his appropriate prosecution, while calling on the Senate to demand that all senators who stood surety for him in court rescind their bond or be suspended accordingly.
lTotal closure of all the open drug markets operating in Northern Nigeria and the immediate implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines, NDDG, as contained in the 2nd Edition 2012 developed by the Federal Ministry of Health which did not include the Co-ordinated Wholesale Centres, CWC.
lThis is the guideline which provides a distribution channel which is in consonance with the national drug policy and the implementation of which is empowered by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
To achieve this, all the states in Northern Nigeria should establish and strengthen the state task force on counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods, revoke all land titles where drugs are being sold and review the laws to provide stiff penalties for offenders.
lThe government should come up with clear laws on hate speech, which should remain in place to contain other individuals or groups whose way of agitation is to engage in hate speech capable of disrupting peace and harmony”.
No comment — Kanu
Reacting to the allegation by the Arewa youths that IPOB was stockpiling weapons in the north, a reliable source very close to the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, said Kanu does not recognize the Arewa youths and, therefore, will not join issues with them.
Arrest perpetrators of hate speech — APC
Meanwhile, the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the youth caucus of All Progressives Congress, APC, has asked the federal government to immediately arrest perpetrators of hate speech in the country.
Chairman of the caucus, Comrade Mark Joseph Nsimbehe, said the group supports all the core issues as stated by the President in his Monday’s nationwide broadcast.
“We are in support of every effort targeted at unifying all the ethnic nationalities. We are for peace, we are for progress and we are one Nigeria.
‘’We urge the Federal Government to step up and arrest these disgruntled elements and their sponsors accordingly. We acknowledge the effort of the Federal Government in its desires to establish special court(s) for hate speech.”
Kanu acting out of Ignorance — Gov. Shettima
Governor Shettima on his part, said Nnamdi Kanu was “acting out of ignorance and immaturity.”
Shettima, who noted that Biafran agitation was the pastime of only a tiny but vocal minority, urged other Nigerians not to label all Igbo as agitators.
He said northern governors believed in the unity of the country, adding that “I would personally prefer to be a small fish in a big pond than a big fish in a small pond.”
We want to know the conditions—Afenifere
Reacting to the withdrawal of the quit notice, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said it will reserve its comments until the conditions given by the youths are released.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin said: “I have heard that they have withdrawn the quit notice and I have also heard that they gave some seven conditions. We have not seen those conditions published; we want those conditions published first before making further comments.”