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Muslim youth call for eviction of Christian Igbo tribe in northern Nigeria.

West & Central Africa

Muslim youth call for eviction of Christian Igbo tribe in northern Nigeria.

It is a “drum of war” Igbo tribe declares

Sixteen Muslim youth organizations in northern Nigeria have given Christian southern Igbo tribe a three month ultimatum to leave the northern region by 1 October 2017.

This so-called notice of eviction of the predominantly Christian tribe has come as a retaliatory action taken by the
Muslim youth groups after the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a local group in eastern Nigeria fighting for self-actualization and independence, closed shops and businesses in a sit-at-home protest on 30 May 2017 in many eastern states.

Mallam Abdulazeez Suleiman, spokesman for the muslim youth organisations declared: “The persistence for the
actualization of Biafra by the unruly Igbo of South-Eastern Nigeria has lately assumed another alarming twist.”

The declaration added that, “This latest action and similar confrontational conducts which amount to a brutal encroachment on the rights of those termed as non-indigenous people residing and doing lawful businesses in those areas illegally demarcated and defined as Biafra by the Igbo, are downright unacceptable and shall no longer be tolerated,” Abdulazeez added.

He said the North was “tired of the political marriage existing in the country.”

Included in their declaration were unsubstantiated and derogatory accusations. The 16 Muslim youth groups declared, “From today, June 6, 2017, when this proclamation is signed, the North, a critical player in the Nigerian project, hereby declares that it will no longer be disposed to coexisting with the Igbo and shall take definite steps to end the partnership by pulling out of the current federal arrangement.”

He called on the federal government “to facilitate the final dissolution of this hopeless union that has never been convenient to any of the parties.” The failure to which the Muslim youths threatened to “commence the implementation of visible actions to prove to the whole world that we are no longer part of any federal union that should do with the Igbo.

The Rev Joseph Hayab, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in northern Nigeria, released a statement describing the youth organisations’ declaration as “shortsighted and ignorant”.

He said the ‘eviction notice’ was an “evil and a threat to national security and unity.”

He called for the arrest and prosecution of the group’s leaders.

“Which North do they claimed to be speaking for and making these evil threat? We are Northerners and cannot recall any meeting where such decision was taken and we will never support or encourage anyone to champion such evil idea,” the Rev Joseph John added.

Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), the Igbo socio-cultural group called on their tribesmen to fight and “defend themselves if pushed to the wall.” Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the president of the council said, “This is a sad development considering efforts being made to unite this country; this is a sad commentary considering that sacrifices Igbos have made in this country. We, however, wish to state unequivocally that Igbos are not cowards.”

He added that, “This is a drum of war coming from the North and should the Northern leaders fail to act accordingly, we shall be left with no option than to go beyond this stage…  ‎We will not leave the north for the northern youths,” he declared.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed brushed off the threats. He said: “The issue of one or two groups issuing statements that are capable of destabilizing the polity and then being responded to by another group, I think did not just start today or did not start yesterday. What I want to assure you is that security organizations are very very much on top of this matter.”

The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El Rufai, where the meeting took place asked the police to arrest all signatories to “quit notice” and directed his Attorney General and commissioner for Justice to prepare charges of incitement against the leadership of the Arewa youth groups.