By Tunde Thomas and Magnus Eze, Abuja
Southern leaders, comprising South East, South West and South South, rose from a meeting, in Lagos, yesterday, and called on Arewa youths to, immediately, withdraw a quit notice issued Igbo resident in the North by October 1, 2017.
The leaders described the quit notice as an affront, not only on Igbo but entire southerners living in the North.
In a communique jointly signed by Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who led South West delegates, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe who led the South East delegation and Chief Albert Horsfall, who led the South-South, which was read by Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, Southern leaders warned “Arewa youths and their sponsors to desist from making statements that can jeopardise peaceful coexistence or the country.
“We consider the need to avert the impending danger arising from the ultimatum given by the Arewa youths.
“We agreed that there is a growing demand by our people and other Nigerians to form a stronger Federation in which principles and practice of true federalism are upheld.
“We observe that the cry for self-determination will continue unabated and become much more stringent unless the Federal Government sincerely addresses issues of the restructuring of Nigeria.
“We, therefore, resolve that we reject the attempt to reduce the current crisis in Nigeria, flowing from the unresolved nationality question to an Igbo and North affair.
“The meeting, therefore, insists that any further discussion on this crisis should be between the entire South and the North of Nigeria. The South East is advised to consider any further meeting where the South West and South South are not involved as Southern Nigeria because the issues involved affects all of us.”
The Southern leaders advised the federal government to take seriously and live up to its primary responsibility, which is to protect the lives and property of every citizen of Nigeria wherever they may reside.
Meanwhile, a coalition of youth groups from the various ethnic nationalities has called on Nigerians to stop making inflammatory statements so as not to escalate the tension generated by counter-quit orders by youths from some regions.
The youths have also dispatched delegations to different parts of the country to speak to their counterparts on the need for a peaceful and united Nigeria.
They further called for the convocation of national youth confab next month in a communiqué issued after their meeting in Abuja. The document signed by Eric Oluwale of Yoruba Youth Council and Secretary General, Ethnic National Youths Leaders, Emma Zompal of the Middle Belt Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council and Mr. Oweilaemi Ereotubo of Ijaw Youths and Arewa Northern Youths Assembly led by Alhaji Ibrahim Waiya, attributed their action to wise counselling from former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.
“Obi has made it clear to the youths that there is futility in disunity and songs of war. He has convinced us that we are better together, united.
”In the light of the above, we call for immediate end to further verbal exchanges on the above matter. This is the time for us to unite and champion a common course for Nigeria’s unity,” the group stated. (The Sun)