Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria and former human rights activist, has said that Shettima Yerima, a leader of the northern coalition that issued a quit notice to the Igbos, does not reside in the north but in Lagos state.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, June 22, 2017 the human rights activist described Yerima as a “Lagos man”.“The man who is giving quit notice does not live in the north; he lives in Lagos. I am saying this, Shettima Yerima lives in Lagos. He is a Lagos man. So to live in Lagos and be giving quit notice is not the answer,” he said.
Falana also criticised Ango Abdullahi for backing the quit order, and urged Nigerians to “look at those things that tie us together and not those ones that the ruling class are using to divide our people”.
“Poverty is the same all over the country; injustice is injustice all over. So, there is no nation without challenges and there is no nation without problems. It is the ability of a nation to rise to the challenge that matters,” he said.
Falana called for a more concrete conversation on restructuring and federalism.
He said the vocal proponents of both issues are merely showboating and not really keen on them.
“Those who are talking about restructuring, many of them are talking in the air. We must concretise this now. You can’t have political restructuring without economic restructuring. If you are talking about restructuring, you can’t be selling the assets of the country to individuals,” he said.
“Those who are talking of restructuring and federalism are not interested in these areas. But we must all remind them that the Awolowos, the Ahmadu Bellos and the Azikiwes of this world addressed social services for our people. That is no longer the case. So, please this talk about restructuring and federalism must be concretised.
“You can’t be going to Abuja every month to take money and yet, you are talking of true federalism. True federalism means you must produce what you need in your area and then, we can ask everybody to pay tax.”
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.
Additional reports by TheCable.