Northern Youths To Withdraw Quit Notice To Igbos This Week, Says Shettima…
The coalition of Northern youths that asked Igbos in the North to quit the region before October 1, 2017, has agreed to withdraw the quit notice and give peace a chance, Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said yesterday in Abuja.
Addressing journalists shortly after a meeting with the Arewa Youth Coalition at the Borno Government Lodge, Asokoro in Abuja, Shettima said the youth groups had promised to make a public statement to that effect this week.
He said the groups had exhibited courtesy and respect to constituted authority by responding to his summons and expressing their commitment to peace.
He said: "We met with the leadership of the coalition of northern groups in my capacity as the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum. They have agreed to revisit their decision and we will follow it up to its logical conclusion and I believe that in the next couple of days we are going to get good news from them.
"I don't want to pre-empt them by saying that this is what will happen or not, but definitely, they have shown responsibility and commitment to the national cause and they have wider plans to promote the cause of national unity and cohesion."
Shettima who described the meeting with the youth groups as very fruitful told journalists that the leaders of the coalition have shown a lot of courtesies and respect for the establishment.
According to the governor, the youths had earlier met with the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa'ad Abubakar, as part of the consultations towards resolving the matter.
He said that the forum believed that it was better to dialogue with the youth groups rather than criminalizing them.
The governor said that while the northern leaders had made efforts to put their youths in check, the leadership of the South-east should also reciprocate their action by also calling the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, to order.
"This is the first time that they are sitting down with the leadership of the forum. There were having interactions with His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto. I started conversations with them right from Kaduna yesterday and we continued the discussion today and by the grace of God, it is going to yield fruit. We are trying to have an understanding of the challenges confronting us as a people and solutions to those challenges,” he said.
Spokesman of the Northern Youths Coalition, Mr. Abdulaziz Sulieman said his group had accepted to work for the unity of the country, adding that they would meet this week to reconsider their declaration.
He said: "At least what we can say is that there has been a major development. If we all remember what we did with the Northern governors' forum, we used to copy all our correspondences to them.
"Now the chairman of the forum has taken the initiative and invited us yesterday to start negotiations. This is the first time we are meeting publicly with any leader publicly and we believe that it's is a major step forward in our ongoing consultations.
"Like he said, we hold the governor in high esteem and we have the unity of the country at heart.”
IPOB Attacks Obiano in Church, Insists on No election
In Anambra State, however, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), consisting of youths and women yesterday attacked the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, at St Joseph Church, Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of the state.
THISDAY gathered that the governor had hardly settled down for the service, when youths and women adorned in Biafra insignias, chanting Biafra songs besieged the gate of the church shouting, "No election in Anambra State; " we want a referendum ", "No referendum, no election."
Advancing in droves towards the gate of the church, the governor's security men rushed and locked up the entrance.
A source said: "As their (IPOB') confrontation with the police continued, the IPOB numbers continued to enlarge. I think they were reinforcing from Onitsha. As their number continued to increase, the governor's security had to smuggle him out of the church."
But a member of the governor's press crew who pleaded anonymity said the governor left after addressing the church at the end of the service.
A source said: "The governor was not smuggled out of the church. The issue was that the security men had to stop the agitators at the gate of the church when they started shouting ‘no election, no election.’
"The governor even addressed the issue while speaking to the congregation. He assured that there would be an election in the state.
"He said nobody can stop the election in Anambra State; the governor said most of the anti- election protesters are not from Anambra State."
When contacted on the telephone, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, Mr. Garba Umar, confirmed the incident.
The commissioner warned that the police would no longer tolerate such impunity, saying the intention of the protesters was to attack the governor.
He said: "You, press people should report this. We will no longer tolerate this impunity from anybody. Why should they protest to the church? The church is a place of worship; and not a place of protest. It is obvious that they had criminal intention to attack the governor.”
About two weeks ago, a group of youths suspected to be members of IPOB had allegedly disrupted a church function attended by the governorship candidate of the Progressives Peoples Alliance, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo.
The incident occurred at Odoekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state.