Femi Okurounmu, a chieftain of the foremost southwestern socio-political group, Afenifere, has called on all Southerners living in Northern Nigeria to return home without delay.
This call is in reaction to the pre-genocide quit notice issued to Igbos living in the religion by a group of Arewa youth.
Rising from an emergency meeting held by the group to discuss the state of the nation in Lagos on Thursday, June 8, 2017, Afenifere said all Southerners should see the quit notice not as meant for Igbo people alone, but the rest of their counterparts from the region.
The Afenifere chieftain who was present at the meeting told Saturday Sun that the quit notice by the Arewa youths should be taken serious in view of historical experience.
“This quit notice by the northern youths should not be seen by any wise Southerner as being meant for only people from the South-East, or that it is an empty threat,” Senator Okurounmu said.
“These northern youths meant business, and not only that, they have the backing of the northern elders, who have not only expressed their support for the youths, but have also affirmed their backing for the quit notice given to the South-Easterners.
“These Northerners should not be underrated, and one of the major reasons we are insisting that all Southerners should start coming back to the South now is that when these attacks on them begin, the Northerners will attack all Southerners.
“How are they going to be separate a Yoruba from Igbo? It is going to be difficult. Southerners shouldn’t be gullible. They should start coming home now.
“They should not wait until the end of the ultimatum. We don’t want a repeat of 1966-1967 pogrom, when hundreds of people of Southern origin, especially those from the South-East were massacred in the North.
Okurounmu further said that Southerners should not be deceived by the arrest order on the Arewa youths by the inspector-general of police, Idris Ibrahim and Kaduna State governor Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, saying such order was only meant to give Nigerians the impression that action was being taken to rein in the youths.
He asked, “Have these Arewa youths not been walking the streets free since the inspector-general of police and Governor El-Rufai ordered their arrest?”
“The IG is a hypocrite. When crisis broke out in Osun State recently among some Hausa and Yoruba youths, is it not this same IG that immediately under 24 hours of the crisis sent mobile policemen to arrest Yoruba youths, while he left out his Hausa kinsmen?
“Why is the IG now unable to arrest these Hausa-Fulani youths who issued the quit notice? We are just deceiving ourselves, there is no justice in Nigeria.
“When an Hausa-Fulani man kills another Nigerian, he has not committed an offence, but when another Nigerian kills Hausa-Fulani man, he has committed an offence and must be punished. That is the Nigeria of today for you,” he maintained.
“However, if Nigeria wants to break up, so be it, let it break up, if it wants to break up. Nigeria will not be the first country to break up,” the Afenifere chieftain said.
“The defunct Soviet Union broke up, heavens did not fall, defunct Czechoslovakia broke up, heavens didn’t fall, and even in Africa, recently Southern Sudan broke away from Sudan and heavens didn’t fall. So, what’s the big deal if Nigeria breaks up?
“It is not compulsory that Nigerians should live together by force.
Another group, the Yoruba Unity Forum expressed concern over the development, describing the quit notice as not only provocative, but also a shameful act.
The forum, in a statement issued by its secretary-general, Senator Anthony Adefuye, called for the immediate prosecution of the Arewa youths.
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, obtained by The Trent, 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.
The northern groups’ threat to Igbos is now widely referred to as the Kaduna Declaration and has been widely condemned by public officials and political groups. However, it has also received wide support from northern elements like Professor Abdullahi.