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Quit Notice: UN experts call for arrest, prosecution of Arewa youths

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…As Atiku hails withdrawal of notice

By Omeiza Ajayi

The United Nations has called for the arrest and prosecution of a coalition of northern youth groups for issuing a quit notice to Igbo living in the northern part of Nigeria.

Arewa Youths

In a statement issued yesterday in Geneva, three UN experts urged the Federal Government to arrest those behind a song that sought to disparage the Igbo.

The experts include Mr. Mutuma Ruteere, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance; Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues; and Ms. Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The statement reads: ‘’We are gravely concerned about this proliferation of hate messages and incitement to violence against the Igbo and their property, especially considering the previous history of such violence.

“The government must be vigilant, as hate speech and incitement can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigeria’s ethnic communities. We are deeply concerned that some prominent local leaders and elders have not condemned the ultimatum, hate speech, and the perpetrators.

“We call on the government, media and civil society representatives, local and religious leaders, to reject and condemn hate speech and incitement to violence unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms. Incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence have to be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted and punished.  This includes the people behind the ultimatum and those responsible for the creation, publication, and circulation of the hate song and audio message.”

This came as a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar commended the Northern groups for withdrawing the quit notice, adding that the group must drop its other demands for true reconciliation.

Atiku in a statement yesterday, called on other ethnic groups that might have issued counter quit notices to rescind their decisions.

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