The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) on Friday, June 9, 2017 expressed support to the call by a coalition of Northern youth Groups for Igbo to leave the region within three months.
The group made its position known despite widespread condemnation that followed the ultimatum earlier handed by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum.
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The forum expressed disappointment with the northern governors’ forum for disowning the youth groups.
Ango Abdullahi, spokesman of NEF, told journalists in Zaria on Friday that it was hypocritical for the Igbo to continue to live in other parts of the country while agitating for Nigeria’s break up.
“I am disappointed in the decision taken by northern governors’ forum disowning and condemning the agitation by this young agile and progressive youth groups,” he said.
“Let me ask these northern governors, who are they representing? Are they representing spirits, ghost or people of the north?
“Recently, people from eastern part of this country, specifically Igbo, were busy calling for the sovereign state of Biafra and from all indication their leaders including governors are behind them.”
According to him, whoever feels Nigeria “is not conducive for him” let him quit, adding that what the northern youth groups did was not a sin.”
He lamented that none of the northern governors reacted to the persistent call for the actualisation of Biafra and other agitations.
Abdullahi said when Nnamdi Kanu was released on bail recently, over 100 vehicles escorted him to his residence including big personalities from the south-west and south-east.
“This is somebody who has been agitating for the breakup of Nigeria but his people were behind him, therefore, I am behind the youths,” he said.
“This is because the northern youths are pushed to the wall, we have been calming them down in any event similar to this,”
Speaking specifically on the Igbo, Abdullahi said the people from the south were always pretending that people from the north were cheating them.
“These people always pretend that the north is cheating them, not minding the fact that southern Nigeria was developed by resources from the north,” he said.
“Please, look for a book written by Adamu FiKa, the Waziri of FiKa on Nigeria’s budget before and after independence.
“Each year, up to the time Nigeria gained its independence, none of the two regions was able to provide for itself.
“I mean none of the western and eastern regions had the money to effectively run the affairs of its region until they get financial support from the Northern region.”
He recalled that the tradition had remained during the colonial masters and nothing changed after they left the country.
Abdullahi said it was the same money from the north that was used to construct Nigerian Railways, refineries and other facilities.
“First oil exploration was conducted using money from groundnut pyramid, cotton, hide and skin among other cash crops from northern Nigeria,” he said.
“However, these people tend to forget all these goodies provided by the North toward ensuring the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria.
“They always look down on us, feeling that Northerners are parasites in this country.”
Leave The North By October 1 – Arewa Groups Warn Igbos
A coalition of prominent groups in Northern Nigeria on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 issued an ultimatum to Igbos living in the north to return home by October 1, 2017 or else they will face a situation similar to the pre-civil war pogroms visited on their kin in the 1960s.
The order was contained in an error-ridden statement issued after a meeting in Kaduna State. The groups, Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum, and the Northern Emancipation Network, asked the Igbo residing in the region to “start making plans to leave.”
The chilling statement condemned the renewed call for the independent republic of Biafra and also expressed disdain for the Igbos and their culture saying that “the Igbo people of the South-East, not repentant of the carnage it wrought on the nation in 1966, is today boldly reliving those sinister intentions connoted by the Biafran agitation that led to the very first bloody insurrection in Nigeria’s history”.
In 1966, the Igbos were the victims of the largest genocide in Nigeria’s history with over 100,000 of them killed in Northern Nigeria by northern mobs. This pogrom led to the declaration of the Republic of Biafra which led to the Nigerian civil war in which over 3 million Igbos died.
Additional reports by News Agency of Nigeria.