Quit notice stays, Arewa group insists

The coalition of Northern Group said in Abuja on Tuesday that the October 1, 2017 ultimatum given to the Igbos living in the North to vacate the zone remained.

Speaking at a meeting held with a former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, the leader of the coalition, Mr Shettima Yerima, restated the group’s position.

He said though the groups in the coalition which is made up of 16 different groups had held meetings on the ultimatum, they had yet to lift the quit notice.

Addressing a joint press conference with Kalu and some leaders from the South-East, Yerima however, said the coalition is in consultations with stakeholders across the country with a view to reviewing its position.

While acknowledging that they had been meetings to douse tension in the country, he said, “I do not also remember specifically saying we are going to finally withdraw the quit notice. No, certainly not. We have not.

“But we said, within the week, we are going to make a statement.”

He, nevertheless, assured Nigerians that there was no cause for alarm as he expressed the coalition’s belief in a united Nigeria.

He said, “It is only those who are blind that will say the unity of this country is not being threatened. But you have prominent Nigerians like him (Kalu) who have shown a lot of worries over this situation.

“To us, we strongly believe that Nigeria is for us and Nigeria belongs to everybody and we are all equal in this project.

“We will not in any way accept anybody who wants to undermine the unity of this country. We want those who want to remain and who believe in the unity of Nigeria to remain.

“But for those who don’t, they are free to go to their Biafra and stay there. For us, we want Nigeria and will remain in Nigeria.”

“We need to do a lot of work, we are in consultations now. We are likely going on consultations in northern region; we will discuss issues before we finally review our position.

“But you can be rest assured that those who believe in Nigeria should remain where they are and be assured of their safety. But to those who don’t believe in Nigeria, we cannot guarantee their safety.

“So, it’s better if you want to do your Biafra, you stay and do your Biafra over there. But if you believe in Nigeria, we intend to work side by side with you to build the nation of our dreams.”

Kalu told southerners living in the north not to entertain any fear saying he would soon meet with the leader of the Independent Peoples of Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, and other Biafran agitators.

Kalu regretted that the agitation for the creation of Biafra had affected the Gross Domestic Product of the South-East. He said neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Niger had stopped patronising the zone.

He noted the strength in the diversity of the country stressing that that all parts of the country were equally important as they contributed in the same way to its well-being.

He also advocated restructuring and called on the people in the north not to see it as being against its interest.

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