- The quit notice given to Igbos living in Northern Nigeria requires a political solution
- This is the stance of the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima
- Shettima made the statement as the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum
The chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima has waded into the quit notice give to Igbos living in Northern Nigeria by the Coalition of Arewa Youth Groups.
Shettima who met with the leaders of the group on Sunday, July 31, urged south-east governors to also intervene in the activities of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and other groups agitating for the independent state of Biafra.
The governor made the call while speaking to journalists after a closed door meeting with the Arewa youth groups.
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He explained that he initiated the meeting as the chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum to find a peaceful solution to the issues raised by the group and to douse the tension across Nigeria.
He described the challenges facing the nation as largely political, which he suggested, required political solutions.
“The dialogue option was chosen because a political problem often requires a political solution. It is only a fool that doesn't change his mind to review decisions and strategies. There is never a limit to who should be engaged in dialogue no matter what the situation is.
“After all, even armed conflicts of deaths and destructions often end through dialogue with persons who took up arms against a state.
“Some people may think the withdrawal of eviction ultimatum by the coalition wouldn't mean so much but to us as leaders and from our experiences, it is always dangerous to underestimate the capacity of any group of youths especially when youths come together and seem determined.
“There are millions of other youths that might have been following and supportive of the activities of the coalition of Arewa groups and as we know, issues relating to ethnicity and religion mostly get out of control.
“As Northern governors, we do not take chances on potential violence unless on issues beyond our control.
“I wish to call on the leadership of our brethren in the South-east to equally seize the gauntlet to rein in the excesses of Nnamdi Kanu and co,” he said.
He said members of the group were committed to the unity of Nigeria and would later this week; make public their position with regards to an earlier stance they took on national issues.
He also frowned at calls for the arrest of the group leaders, warning that they should not be criminalised or harassed for their stance.
Also speaking at the end of the meeting, the spokesperson for the coalition, Abdulaziz Suleiman, said consultations were still ongoing.
“We hold him in high esteem. This is the first time we are meeting publicly with any leader. We issued a declaration in Kaduna to review the successes and we will let you know as soon as we take a decision,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) on Tuesday, July 18, directed all Igbos residing in the northern part of the country to take advantage of the month of August 2017 to return to the South-east.
This was contained in a statement by the group's national information officer, Samuel Edesonu, who said the decision was taken to beat the October 1 deadline quit notice given by the Arewa youths.
MASSOB said the decision was taken at its national executive meeting presided over by its leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu.
Watch Acting President Yemi Osinbajo talk about the unity of Nigeria on NAIJ.com TV below: