The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, that asked Igbos to leave Northern Nigeria on or before October 1 has suspended its quit notice.
This was announced by the group’s spokesperson Abdulazeez Suleiman, Thursday, at a press briefing at the Transcorp Hilton hotel in Abuja.
“We are pleased to announce the immediate suspension of the relocation clause, otherwise referred to as the quit notice from the Kaduna declaration.
“This suspension, we are proud to say, is also out of respect for, and reaffirmation of our allegiance to one united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria,” he announced.
The groups, under the banner of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, issued the quit notice in June, asking Igbos to leave before October 1 and claiming their demand was in response to the secessionist stance of some pro-Biafran groups, like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
“The violent abusive and confrontational ideology prompted and campaigned for by IPOP led by Nnamdi Kanu has brought to the fore some of the scariest and unacceptable treaties such that we were left with no option than to come together to form the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, to begin charting a new future for the population of Northern Nigeria, silence was no longer an option. We were forced through CNG to take the decision that is most reasonable and viable in the circumstance,” Suleiman said.
The quit notice to the Igbos had been condemned by most Nigerians including the federal government, several state governments and traditional rulers.
President Muhammadu Buhari on his return at the weekend after a medical vacation had also subtly chided the group when he said every Nigerian had a right to live and work in any part of the nation.
Mr. in his submission admitted that they (Northern youth) came under ‘intense persuasive pressure from genuinely concerned national, political, traditional, religious and cultural leaders to withdraw the quit notice.’
Although the CNG has suspended the quit notice, the group said certain terms were attached to the momentary ceasefire.
These conditions included allowing the Igbo to hold a referendum to decide their future either as Nigerians or as Biafrans.
“This in view of the fact that the population of the Igbo who support Biafra is far larger than the few who appear to be against it. Failure to do that will only douse this tension temporarily,’’ the group said.
The group also said since Nigeria is a signatory to various international conventions that entrench the right of a people to self-determination, it should allow the Igbos explore the option.
“Also, if for any reason a referendum cannot be held for the moment, we insist that people in the South East and other parts of Nigeria, including all elected and other office holders be made to discard totally any idea of Biafra and to show practically actions proving that they believe in one Nigeria.’’
It also asked relevant law enforcement agencies to carry out “a careful, lawful and purposive search on all suspected premises in the North in which IPOB sympathisers are suspected to be amassing arms.”
“Let it be known that it is illogical to wait in this obvious clear state of danger and kill the secessionist terror on innocent people and communities. By extension, all unlicensed arms and ammunitions should be mopped by the authorities and if there is a counter suspicion of the Northerners in the east amassing arms, they should also be searched and confiscated.’’
The group also asked for the immediate arrest of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and urged all the senators who stood surety for him in court to rescind their bond or ‘be suspended accordingly.’
It listed other aligning demands.
“We also ask for the closure of all open drug markets operating in Northern Nigeria and the immediate implementation of the National drug distribution guidelines as contained in the second edition, 2012 developed by the federal ministry of health, which did not include the coordinated wholesale centres.
“To achieve this, all the states in Northern Nigeria should establish and strengthen the state’s task force on counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods, revoke all land titles where drugs are being sold and review the laws providing stiff penalties for offenders.
“This should be followed up by the implementation of Health Insurance Scheme, HIS, at all levels and making the drugs available at the health centres in Northern Nigeria to help eliminate nefarious activities.’’
It asked the government to curtail hate speeches at all levels through effective legislation.
“The government should come up with clear laws on hate speech which should remain in place to contain other individuals or groups whose way of agitation is to engage in hate speeches capable of disrupting peace and harmony.’’