Gentlemen of the press, it is no longer news that a coalition of northern youth groups, under the aegis of THE AREWA CITIZENS ACTION FOR CHANGE, AREWA YOUTH CONSULTATIVE FORUM, AREWA YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION, ALL AREWA YOUTH FORUM, THE NORTHERN PROFESSIONALS BUSINESS GROUP, AREWA STUDENTS FORUM AND NORTHERN EMANCIPATION NETWORK ON THE IGBO PERSISTENCE FOR SECESSION; have on Tuesday 6th June, 2017 declared war on Igbos in a press statement titled: The Kaduna Declaration. Not only that, they have declared hostilities against any northern leader, group or person, who may want to halt their planned unrest, slated for 1st October, 2017. We the members of the Nenzit Patriotic Front deem it necessary to give a position statement, because this malicious and diseased declaration was made in our state by largely non-indigenes who left their States(Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, etc) and countries(Niger, Chad, Mali, Northern Cameroon, etc) to converge in Kaduna with a view to forment trouble by threatening fellow citizens. As the indigenous youths of Kaduna State, we the Nenzit Patriotic Front, can not sit idly by and hear of such insanity sold in the name of our state against fellow Nigerians, the Igbos. Even though the governor Nasir El-Rufai opened the doors of the state for foreigners to feel as co-owners of the state, every one knows his father’s house.
It is worth noting that this latest statement is a detailed, modified and improved version of the 30th May 2017 statement giving a two weeks ultimatum by the same northern youth coalition.
The Heart of the Matter:
In the declaration, the coalition claimed the ultimatum was necessitated by the IPOB lockdown on businesses which, they claimed, was adversely affecting Hausa communities there against the nonchalant attitude of Igbo leaders towards the unrest and agitation for Biafra, as well as the indecision of northern leaders to face the Igbos violently.
The statement went into a rendition of blame games and demonization campaigns against the Igbos. The Igbos were blamed for being the first to violently interfere with democracy in Nigeria thus, creating the lacuna for successive military governments to fill, albeit woefully. The Igbos were blamed for the first and only civil war fought in Nigeria. The statement also blame the Igbos for violent crimes and general moral decadence and concluded that Nigeria would be better off without the Igbos. More outrageous aspects of the statement were where Igbos were blamed for supplying bokoharam with weapons and masquerading as Fulani herdsmen and perpetrating atrocities across the country in order to cause ethnic disaffections. The statement was rife with derogatory adjectives against the Igbos. Words like unruly, ungrateful, disrespectful, etc were charitably deployed.
The statement took a stern stand against what it perceived as docility and pacifistic approach to the Igbo agitation, by northern leaders and warned that the status quo must change to a violent approach.
The statement took a sinister twist when it included a detailed description of its planned line of action towards implementation of its quit notice to the Igbos. Firstly, it will confiscate all the properties belonging to Igbos in the north, thus it claims a group has commenced compilation of an up-to-date data of properties belonging to Igbos all over the North even as we write. Secondly, Igbos were to take 6th June 2017 as date upon which the quit notice was served to them. Thirdly, northern civil societies, pressure groups, etc were mandated by the declaration, to mobilise for a sustained and co-ordinated campaigns against Igbos in their respective States at different levels of government, including the traditional institutions. The statement spoke of a final mob up of stubborn Igbos who may fail to heed to the quit notice. The statement concluded with a strong-worded warning to authorities, individuals, or groups to dismiss any notion of attempting to undermine the declaration.
1. We have observed that this ultimatum is not the first of its kind in recent times. By July 2014, The Arewa Youth Development Foundation, led by one Mr. Aliyu Usman and one Comrade Alfred Solomon, made similar threat on all southerners, not only the Igbos. The Aliyu Usman led group hitched its action on the premises of reacting to a policy of subjugation of northerners and the killing of northerners under the guise of fighting Bokoharam, by the then Jonathan administration and supported by largely Southerners, who must vacate North in order to welcome back Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and were received by the emir at his palace.
By November 2015, the same Arewa Youth Development Foundations (AYDF) gave yet another two weeks ultimatum to Igbos to relocate to the south – this time, on the premises of Igbo renewed threats of succession. At this stage, AYDF called on the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) to lend their voices too, that northerners were being humiliated in the south. This letter was purportedly signed by Barr. Aliyu Usman of AYDF, Hon. Aminu Adams of Arewa Citizens Action for Change (ACAC), Bridget Kantyok Yahaya of Northern Emancipation Network (NEN), Comrade Yusuf Muhammed of Arewa Students Forum (ASF) and Terkular J. Bishama of Arewa Youth vanguard (AYV). This coalition claimed to hold a meeting in Kano thereafter to that effect.
However, with the spoils of war in the form of confiscating properties of Igbos across northern Nigeria, this 6th June statement must not be dismissed with a wave of the hand – especially in this era of intense hunger. It is clear that Igbos are being staged as fall guys for the misgovernance that brought us thus far even though they were largely alienated from the corridors of power and decision making in this country, ever after the civil war.
2. From the above, we have observed that the Arewa Youth Development Forum with Barrister Aliyu Usman as it’s leader, is connected to Kano emirate and is the sole brain behind this treacherous calls. We heard that the Kaduna State Government has given the order for the arrest of the characters behind that statement – we dare say that is a welcome development and we the Nenzit youth are solidly behind the Government in this, and we want it on record that we will resist such destructive attempt by the northern youth coalition against fellow citizens, regardless of what it may cost us.
3. The attempt to distort the history of this country by blaming the Igbos for bokoharam and Fulani herdsmen, is a lame shot and revealing of the brains behind such shots. Northern youth must know that lying their way to the top is no longer in vogue. Never again shall we buy into such white lies to participate in another bloody war against the Igbos. May the souls of our fallen parents who paid the ultimate price to keep this country one rest in peace.
4. We have observed that the call to free the Igbos to have their country while insisting on confiscating their properties, is a lame charade at forcing the ‘materialist’ Igbos to have a change of heart in their secessionist agitation given that they could not afford to consciously part with their properties. This too is another lame shot.
5. We have observed that the way Igbos were denied their properties during the civil war, has inspired this coalition to sought to instigate another civil war for material acquisition in order to cushion the current recession with the spoils of war. This is also partly responsible to why the coalition dared the odds and held another meeting 7th June 2017 to defy a call for their arrest by the Kaduna State Government – the material factor: they covet the wealth of the Igbos and ignorantly fancy it was their magnanimity that exposed the Igbos to such wealth in the North, forgetting that the Igbos have to cut their teeth in order to acquire such wealth in the North, the same way the Igbos can acquire such wealth anywhere in the world and not just the North. If you are in doubt, check your statistics.
6. The inclusion of names like Alfred Solomon, Joshua Viashnam, Bridget Kantyok and Tercular J. Bishama; is to sell a false impression northern Christians are also part of this unholy coalition, to which we are not.
7. Finally, we have observed that the pioneer leader of Arewa Youth Development Forum, Barrister Aliyu Usman who initiated this ultimatum business in recent times and signed the 2014 and 2015 statements, was replaced by one Aminu Adam in the 6th June 2017 statement. And Alfred Solomon who signed as Secretary to the July 2014 Arewa Youth Development Forum statement, now signs for Arewa Students Forum.
We do not have the luxury of schooling the northern youth coalition of the history of Nigeria, because they know better, but for the purpose of mischief, they twisted it to suit their nebulous agenda. However, this is what we can say about the Igbos. The Igbos were the most used and abused people in this country, who give nobody trouble if they are left all by themselves. If the northern youth coalition are serious about expelling any group of people from the north, we have undesirable elements like bokoharam and killer herdsmen for them expel. We also have foreigners from Niger, Mali, Chad, etc to expel. Why fellow citizens whose only crime is to seek self-determination? Citizens who do not attack soldiers and harmless civilians. Citizens who were repeatedly victimised by successive northern governments. Preparatory to the 2015 elections, the same Igbos were repeatedly bombed in Kano as they made to leave for the East. If the coalition are serious about parting with the Igbos, they should pledge their support to assisting the Igbos in protecting and safeguarding their interest up north, while also mounting pressure on government to hold a referendum whereby we will have a peaceful exit of Igbos from the federating units known as Nigeria.
We expect the Kaduna State government to get Barrister Aliyu Usman of Arewa Youth Development Foundation and all those defying the odds by holding yet another meeting on Wednesday 7th June 2017 and signing yet another threat letter: Nastura Ashir Sharif of Arewa Citizens Action For Change, Alhaji Shetima Yerima of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Abdullaziz Suleiman of Northern Emancipation Network, Alfred Solomon of Arewa Students Forum, Aminu Adam of Arewa Youth Development Forum and Joshua Viashnam of Arewa Youth Vanguard. The aforementioned must be arrested and brought before the law. We reiterate our support for government pro-active steps in curbing such menace, because such ultimatum is capable of throwing the whole North into total anarchy as criminal elements have taken over the leadership of a majority of northern groups.
Signed: George Makeri