From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS and RACHEAL ANYASO, Abuja
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) also known as Arewa youths, yesterday, announced suspension of the quit notice it handed Igbo to vacate the North.
The group, which gave the ultimatum which was expected to expire on October 1, in the infamous Kaduna Declaration last June, also pledged its commitment to the unity and indivisibility of the nation.
At a press conference in Abuja, spokesman for the coalition and Chairman, Northern Emancipation Network, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the group was mindful of the concerns generated by the clause in the Kaduna Declaration that advised the Biafran Igbo to relocate from northern Nigeria and for northerners in the southeast to return home.
The Arewa group also said it was mindful of its commitment to the unity of the nation and immediately opened channels for dialogue and interaction with government agencies, national and international groups, including institutions and figures.
It said the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu, prompted the ultimatum it issued.
“Admittedly, we came under intense pressure from genuinely concerned national, political, traditional, religious, and cultural leaders prominent among which were a section of the Northern Governors’ Forum under its chairman, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, northern traditional rulers and the Directorate of State Security. We also had several fruitful interactions with various concerned individuals and group, 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 a 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 Arewa youths said.
The group also reeled out some terms, which it said should be considered, so that the suspension would not be a temporary solution.
Amongst others, the group said the Igbo should be allowed to and supported to hold a referendum to decide their future either as Nigerians or as Biafrans.
It said in the case that a referendum could not be held at the moment, the Igbo, both in the SouthEast and in other parts of Nigeria, including all elected and other office holders, should be made to discard, totally, any idea of Biafra and show practical actions to prove that they believe in one Nigeria.
They also called for the total closure of open drug markets operating in northern Nigeria, which they accused the Igbo of indulging in, even as it called for the immediate implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines.
In his remarks, Governor of Borno State and Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Kashim Shettima, said the Northern Governors’ Forum was totally in support of the reverse position taken by the Arewa youths.
He said the withdrawal ought to have been done earlier, but for the consultations embarked upon by the group. (The Sun)