Northerners divided over Arewa youths’ October 1 vacation threat to Igbo
Last month, a coalition of youths in the North gave people of Igbo extraction three months quit notice and since then, many in the region have continued to express their views. While some of the youths aligned themselves with the coalition of Arewa youths, others are against the quit notice.
AYF is frustrated— Kaduna residents
Yusuf Idris, civil servant: The quit notice came when the Igbo youths decided to leave the federation. Their call is condemnable, but if that is what they want then let them leave the region and allow us to develop according to our pace.
Abdullahi Alhassan, journalist: Indeed, the agitations are signs that the country is undergoing problems and this is essentially due to the weak leadership. There is no doubt that corruption has led us to this level. It is rather sad. So, I stand with the Arewa youths to tell the Igbos to go and let us be.
Tajudeen Tijjani, public servant: The call by the Arewa youths was done out of frustration but I believe that they could have addressed it by making a wide range of consultations. Nigeria has grown beyond these sentiments. The issue of Biafra has been concluded while the Arewa youths have no right to expel Igbos in the region.
Nasir Abubakar, activist: Both Kanu and the Arewa youths should be brought to face the wrath of the law. They have erred in their respective declarations and unless they are brought to justice, we will continue to have this kind of agitations and declarations.
Arrest Arewa Youth Leader — Plateau Youth
A pressure group, christened ‘Plateau Youths G-17 Peace and Progressive Forum’ have expressed disappointment over the inability of the security agencies to apprehend the leader of Arewa Youth Group (AYG) that issued an eviction order to the Igbos residing in the northern part of the country, particularly Kaduna State.
The convener of the group, Dachung Bagos, in an interview, said the way and manner that the security agencies treated the matter will spur other elements in the guise of youth pressure groups in the country to issue similar threats, adding that no one is above the law but the government is handling the matter as if the Arewa youths are above the law of the land.
“The youths in Nigeria and the north have umbrella bodies. We have not met at any level to take that decision; the statement was inciting, especially now that well meaning Nigerians are working hard to bring peace to the country, especially in the northern part.
Also, the chairman, Plateau Youths Council (PYC), Dr Fabong Jemchang Yildam said the youth groups are a faceless group who have hidden agenda that could cause pandemonium in the country adding that it is unfortunate that anybody or group could issue such statements when the government and other well meaning Nigerians were making efforts to promote peace among diverse ethnic groups in the country.
“It is not the voice for the youths in the North; Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa are all in the north, they never sent invitation to us. They are not youth groups in the North recognised by the government. The government should call them to order, those comments are inciting, and they are comments that can bring unrest.”
A cross section of youths who spoke to Nigerian Tribune in Jos frowned at the way and manner that the Federal Government is handling the matter.
Ibrahim Tom condemned the security agencies and government of Kaduna State in particular, adding that the body language of the government and other law enforcement agencies depicted a connivance with the Arewa group.
“If this matter is swept under the carpet, without any concrete action to guard against future occurrence, we should not be surprised, if by October, these elements rise to carry out the eviction order or another group issue similar orders,” said Tom.
Lokoja youths divided over quit notice to Igbo
Northern youths resident in Kogi State have expressed divergent views over the quit notice issued by some Arewa youths to the Igbo living in the North. Majority of them said the people were wrong to have asked the Igbo to leave the North, while some justified the action by the secession threat of the Indegenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Speaking with Arewa in Lokoja, the state capital, a petty trader, Adamu Shuiabu, said the Arewa youths did not have the mandate of the people of the North to send away the Igbo living in the 19 Nothern states.
According to him, the people spoke for themselves and should not be taken serious by Nigerians. He was of the belief that Nigerians, regardless their tribes, had done many things together and had been living in others’ territories for many years that such notice would not work.
Also, James Ojone, another respondent, said although the youths of the South East started the crisis, the northern youths were not right to have toed their path.
According to the 35-year-old civil servant, the group that gave the Igbo quit notice was not speaking the minds of the entire northern youths. He said after over hundred years after amalgamation of the north and the south, it would be foolish for any group to think that the country can break up.
In th same vein, a student of the Federal University, Lokoja, Isa Mohammed, faulted the call on the Igbo to leave the North by October 1, saying the youths should be more concerned with the development of the country.
However, Ahmadu Ibrahim, in his view, said the northern youths that gave the quit notice must have been pushed to the wall by the activities of the Nnamdi Kanu, led IPOB. He argued that since the IPOB had been agitating that they wanted to leave the country, there was nothing wrong for the Northern youths to send them packing from the northern states.
Borno politician and elder blames leaders for Arewa youths outburst.
A prominent member of the Borno Elders Forum, Dr Mali Gubio, has placed the blame of the recent eviction notice given to the Igbo squarely at the door steps of the Northern leaders.
He blamed the leaders for not guiding the young people well, even as he described the notice as an outcome of unfounded pride and youthful exuberance, warning that Nigeria had gone beyond such dangerous excesses.
Gubio, who is a Borno elder and a prominent chieftain of the Emirate, warned that those who were fanning the embers of such divisions should be aware that there were millions of northerners in Igbo land and the entire south of Nigeria.
“We have been interwoven by marriage and even commerce such that it is very difficult to separate us. Where will the Igbo get their cows for meat if you separate us? Is it not from the same North?
“Even if we divide today, we still have to live with one another, so it is difficult to expel one group of people. Which land do they want these ones who have lived with us for years, to go and live in? We all know that the Igbo do not have enough land for themselves. It is unreasonable.
“That is why I blame our leaders for this kind of issue in this time of our history. I also blame the media for orchestrating division instead of playing the matter down and reduce tension in the land.”
The politician urged the Igbo not to take the eviction notice serious because they, the Kanuris, had nothing against them.
Other anonymous respondents spoken to on the streets of Maiduguri did not support the move because some Arewa youth group reacted simply because Nnamdi Kanu was threatening fire and brimstone over the proposed Republic of Biafra.