The President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima has pleaded with the Nigerian government to apply more stringent measure against the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, despite an earlier call by the group to tag IPOB terrorist group.
He disclosed this in Owerri during the 6th Memorial of Odimegwu Ojukwu’s death
In his words: “The Government should take more decisive action against Kanu and his dissident group to discourage any group from taking laws into their hands”.
“we are not against any group agitating for self-determination but it should be in line with the provisions of the constitution of the country. You cannot run a parallel country within a country.”
Confirming their decision to let Mr. Kanu and his group, IPOB to be tagged ‘terrorist group’ Yerima said ‘they made it easier for them to go’.
” We have been working with the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and we have been going on well without friction until two years ago when Kanu came out with IPOB and started insulting everybody and referring to the Northerners as animals, that was why we decided to make it easier for him to go because we were thinking that he was speaking on behalf of the Igbo.
Giving reason why the Northern social group recalled the quit notice giving to Igbos residing in the Northern States, to vacate before October 1, 2017, Shettima said: “We withdrew the quit notice and toured the 19 Northern States calming frayed nerves and no one soul was hurt, despite the fact that IPOB killed some Northerners.
“We are also engaging other groups on how best to come together and build our nation. The issue of marginalization which the separatist groups have hinged their agitations are not restricted to any zone, we in the North are even more marginalized. Go to the remote parts of the North and see poverty but we have continued to believe and work for a one and indivisible Nigeria.
Recall that a coalition of northern groups, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, months ago, called on the United Nations to declare the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra a terrorist group, UN declined to the call.
Working on the Northern Youth script, the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, granted the order proscribing the group on Wednesday, 21 September 2017: “That an order proscribing the existence of the respondent (Indigenous People of Biafra), in any part of Nigeria, especially in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called and publishing same in the official gazette and two national dailies, is granted”
Refuting the tag, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi rejected the proscription and said: “There is something that is bordering them that is making them cry,” he said, adding, “We should not throw them away; we should draw them closer (because ) the youths of this country are the future, the energy, they are the heart beat of this country.”
However, President of the European Union Commission, Mr. Jean- Claude Junker, also condemned the proscription: “It is the people’s right to agitate and make a request from their government; self-determination is a right enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The people of Biafra have every right to request for a referendum, they have been in this struggle for a while now they have never killed or shot a bullet instead they are the victims of attacks and murder.
“The entire EU hereby condemns the brutal attack on IPOB members and leadership under the pretentious disguise of a military exercise (Operation Python Dance). The Nigerian military is warned to adopt democratic tenets in handling citizens. The EU will not sit and watch things go undemocratic in the largest economy of the West African region,”
The United States Government also said it does not consider the Indigenous People of Biafra a terrorist organization. The spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks said: “Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organization under US law.”