UMUAHIA—OHANEZE Ndigbo Youth Council, OYC, has reacted angrily to the quit-the-North order given to Ndigbo by a coalition of Northern Youth groups, describing it as a “security threat and a crime against the Nigerian State”.
The coalition, including Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Arewa Youths Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum, Northern Emancipation Network, Northern Youths Stakeholders, among others, in what they called “Kaduna Declaration”, also called on Northern to leave Igbo land. Reacting to the action of the Northern youths Council urged Igbos in the North to “to stay put wherever they were across the country” and “to defend themselves in the event of any provocation and attack from Arewa Youths”. A statement issued by the President of Ohaneze Youths Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro condemned the action of the Northern Youths and warned them to immediately reverse their position. According to Isiguzoro, “the ultimatum was a call for war and should be treated as such by security agents”, urging security agencies not overlook the threat. “They are on it again and this is a sad reminder of the civil war. This is how it started as a joke and before we knew it, a coordinated and simultaneous attack was launched against the Igbos in the North. “This is a sad development considering efforts being made to unite this country; this is a sad commentary considering the sacrifices Igbos have made in this country. “We, however, wish to state unequivocally that Igbos are not cowards. We are not afraid of Alhaji AbdulAziz Suleiman, Yerima Shetimma and their cohorts. “Ndigbo want to make it categorically clear that we are ready for them; we are cannot be intimidated by their ranting. The era of taking properties belonging to Ndigbo by force is gone. We won’t let that happen again. “To this end, we are calling on our people in the North not to shift any ground; they should remain where they are; this country belongs to all of us. Any attack on our people shall receive commensurate reaction”, OYC warned. OYC however, urged Northern Governors and the Northern Elders to call their youths to order and dissociate themselves from the threat on the Igbos, saying “failure to do so, we will take it that they are all equal partners to the threat”. “This is a drum of war coming from the North and should the Northern leaders fail to act accordingly, we shall be left with no option than to go beyond this stage. “We call on the Northern traditional and religious leaders headed by the Sultan of Sokoto to assure Igbos of their safety in the 19 Northern States. “We are calling on the President General Arewa Consultative Forum to call Northern Youths to order; they must be compelled to tender unreserved apology to Ndigbo and stop fanning the embers of disunity among Nigerians. “We will not leave the North for the Northern Youths after developing the North with assets and business investment worth over N44 trillion. If they are preparing ground for abandoned properties, they have failed. “May we all call on security agencies to provide protection to all the Igbos in the 19 Northern States and their properties? Anything on the contrary means giving a backing to this orchestrated genocidal plot against Igbos. “May we call on the Federal Government to assure Ndigbo that they are part of this country, by living up to expectations of protecting their lives and properties. Failure to do so, we shall be left with no option than to defend ourselves. “We also call for the immediate arrest of Yerima and his group; this is a crime against the State and it should not be treated with levity. “Rather than chase around un-armed Biafran agitators, the DSS should go after these men who have declared war on the Nigeria State. “In the meantime, our people should be careful and vigilant. They should not hesitate to report any assault on them. We are watching and waiting”, OYC further said.