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Restructuring: Youths threaten to shut down S-East

…Demand release of detained IPOB members
…Ohanaeze youths laud S-East govs over IPOB ban

By Anayo Okoli, Vincent Ujumadu & Demola Akinyemi

Awka— YOUTHS under the aegis of Anambra Youth Movement, AYM, weekend, threatened to liaise with youths from other South-East states to shut down the region if the Federal Government refused to heed calls for restructuring of Nigeria as demanded by several groups and individual Nigerians.

Nigerian youths

This came as Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, commended the South-East governors over the ban on activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, saying the action saved a major national catastrophe.

But coordinator of AYM, Christian Nwakaeze, in a statement in Awka, also urged the Federal Government to order the release of all detained members of IPOB, and dialogue with the group on ways of ensuring a lasting peace in the country.

According to Nwakaeze, if right decisions were not taken on the issues, all the groups in the South-East would collapse officially into IPOB who, he claimed, already had 60 per cent of AYM as members, supporters and sympathisers.

He said while AYM was not calling for secession as it believed that a restructured Nigeria through a referendum would go a long way to making everybody understand why IPOB members were making their demands. There was need for the restructuring to take place before the 2019 general elections, otherwise the youths would boycott the 2019 polls.

The statement read in part: “It is unfortunate that those in power, who are shouting one Nigeria everyday are even the people who are causing the division through their unpopular decisions. We understand that the unlawful declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group was done deliberately to satisfy the wish of the Arewa youths who threatened Nnamdi Kanu.

“It is on record that Shetima, leader of the Arewa youths, said with the support of his people, he would make sure that Kanu would be rearrested and that he would ensure that Kanu and members of his group were declared a terrorist group.

“Surprisingly, within two days of the threat, the Federal Government sought Kanu’s arrest and we all thought it was a hoax until the invasion of his house and erroneous declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group by the Nigerian Army who are yet to arrest a single Fulani militia or even Shetima of Arewa youths that was earlier declared wanted.”

The group appealed to Anambra residents not to be carried away by their emotions as the November 18 governorship election approached, urging them to join the youths to choose the right person that would govern the state.

Ohanaeze youths laud S-East govs over IPOB ban

According to the OYC, the decision of the governors was “the need of the moment aimed to avoid declaring state of emergency in South East.”

The OYC, however, warned that proscribing the IPOB was merely a temporary measure, pointing out that “if the root cause of these agitations were not addressed, it would not be any surprise if another group more daring than IPOB springs up in the future.”

In a statement weekend, by OYC President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Deputy National President, Dr. Arthur Obiora, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, Secretary- General and other leaders, the group, said: “We are saddened by the level of confrontation between the Nigerian Army and the Biafra agitators and the consequent death of many Igbo youths in the process.

“We are also sad over the reported death of a policeman during this unfortunate but avoidable incident. We say avoidable in the sense that but for the launch of the Operation Python Dance 2, there was already a reasonable level of discussion between us and the agitators.

“To this end, we call on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to urgently march action with words by commencing a genuine process of restructuring this country and total withdrawal and suspension of Operation Python Dance II and order for the release of all Biafra detainees.”

Meanwhile, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety and South-East Based Coalition of Human Rights Organisations, SBCHROs, weekend condemned what it called the recent vindictive proscription and designation by way of blue-law presidential proclamation and court ex-parte order of IPOB,  as a terror group by the Federal Government.

It described IPOB designated as a terror group as shocking and riddled with far-reaching and generational consequences.

In another development, Director, Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, CPSS, University of Ilorin, UNILORIN,Kwara State,  Dr. Mahfouz Adedimeji, has said agitation for secession by members of IPOB is misplacement of priorities.

The don who spoke while speaking at the 2017 UN International Day of Peace and lecture in Ilorin, said secession was not a precursor to the Eldorado that some people were fantasizing about.

Also speaking at the event, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State said government could create policies and an enabling environment for its people only if it was not distracted by violence.

The governor, who cautioned against utterances or actions capable of threatening the peace and unity of Nigeria, said young people should be included in peace building and conflict resolution.


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