ON Tuesday, June 6, 2017, about sixteen Hausa-Fulani groups of youths, comprising, but not limited to, the Arewa Citizens’ Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students’ Forum, and Northern Emancipation Network On the Igbo Persistence for Secession, declared their collective stand in a pronunciamento, which announced their revulsion of feelings with the union, the marriage, called Nigeria, giving the people of Igbo extraction and residing in any of the nineteen Northern State, three months, from June 6 to October 1, 2017 to relocate to the South-East of face dire consequences: their landed properties and chattels will be confiscated.
According to them, “…At this point we call the attention of the Nigerian authorities to the fact that the North, a critical player in the federal arrangement is no longer disposed to tolerating Igbo blackmail and intimidation…. Having come this far, we wish to categorically state that the North is no longer keen in being the same country with the unruly pack of unrepentant hooligans. …That in the event the Igbo is (sic) not allowed to pull out, the North shall divorce this marriage that has never been convenient to any of the parties…That the Northern leaders are hereby warned against further insisting on this union with the Igbo or any other part of Nigeria that is disposed to self-determination….”
Viewed from any angle of vision, the foregoing solemn declaration is a secessionist proclamation, which should have been promptly treated as a treasonable felony by the security agencies as it constitutes a frontal attack on all the fundamental human rights enshrined in Chapter Four of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). We, however, applaud the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam El-Rufai’s prompt reaction to the felonious shibboleth of the so-called northern youths when he ordered the immediate arrest of all the youths involved in the plot to destabilize the country.
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But it is disheartening that over forty-eight hours after the Governor’s order, nothing was done. The northern elders continued to hold various crafty meetings as evidence of their being complicit in the virtual declaration of war against the Igbo; otherwise, how did those misguided youths secure the historic Arewa House as their meeting place? We have a sense of déjà vu in this scenario. This was almost how the 1967-70 Civil War started. And a second civil war should be avoided in the interest of Nigeria’s corporate existence.
This ugly development further emphasizes the need to restructure this country, cobbled together by Lord Lugard in January, 1914. This ugly development further re-emphasizes the need to implement almost all the recommendations compiled by those 492 eminent men and women who participated in the 2014 National Conference in Abuja.
We appeal to the Federal Government, which omitted to mention this dangerous situation in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting last Wednesday, to treat the hostile declaration by the northern youths very seriously and not leave the matter to the Governor of Kaduna State. The northern youths and/or elders ought to know that section 43 of the Constitution allows any citizen of Nigeria to live and own any property anywhere in Nigeria.
We also appeal to the Federal Government to treat all the youths involved in the secessionist proclamation as common felons, tried under our laws and, if found guilty, sanctioned according to law. If this is not done, the impression would be created that people in certain parts of the country are sacred cows who can offend against our laws with impunity and run away with their crimes, whereas lesser crimes perpetrated by other citizens in other parts of the country are dealt with a sledge hammer!