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Uncertainty, tension linger as Arewa, Igbo tango

  • UN, Gambari, others caution against division, war
  • North divided, South alarmed
  • Abdulazeez Suleiman: “No regrets over quit notice”

From IBRAHIM MOHAMMED (Kaduna), MATHEW ONAH (Yola), JOHN SHIAONDO (Makurdi),  ONYEAKA AZUBIKE (Abuja)  and LEKAN YUSUF  (Lagos)

Developments in the last few weeks have given indication that Nigeria is gradually sliding into abyss, similar to the one of 1966 which triggered the 1967-1970 Civil War. It all began with secessionist bodies like Movement for the Actualization of the   Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) directive to the Igbo of South East to sit at home in commemoration  of the 50th anniversary of declaration of Biafra by the then Lt. Col Odumegwu Ojuku .

The anniversary was marked on May 30. Irked by the success of the sit-at-home order  of IPOB and MASSOB,  a group of Northern youths reportedly ordered South Easterners to leave the North on or  before October 1, 2017.

 Our correspondents in various parts of the country sought the views of Nigerians from across the country on the ultimatum, especially by the Arewa Youths. Their reactions have been diverse as well.

Igbo helped develop economy of the North – Walid Jibrin

Elder statesman, Senator Dr. Walid Jibrin in his reaction, joined other

prominent Northerners to caution Northern Youth that are threatening to expel Igbos from the region,  saying Igbos have done a lot to  help develop the economy of the Region.

In a statement made available to  DAILY ASSET in Kaduna, Senator Walid  said both Igbos and South-South people have always remained  allies of the North since independence, and should continue to be partner in progress.

He explained that the call by the  youths for Igbos  to vacate North within three months was uncalled for.

According to him, the past experience of Biafra war will never allow any northerner or Igbo man to pray for a repeat of horrible experiences of war, especially the one witnessed during the Civil War.

Senator Jibrin added in his  statement that no Igbo should leave the (Northern) region.

He said: “ The Igbos are very broad minded people who have helped to develop the economy of the North. There is no village, ward or town where you will not find an Igbo race living peacefully with others .

“ Igbo and South-South people remain allies of the North since independence. Any action that will lead Nigeria to a civil war should never be entertained especially now that Nigeria needs unity from everyone.”

 According to the Senator:” The agitation for Biafra by some Igbos is not enough  reason to abandon all Northern Igbos. I have noted with admiration the action of some Igbo leaders including the South East governors who are seriously against the creation of Biafra and would prefer Nigeria to remain as one entity and a  united country.

“I want to remind the group calling for Igbos to leave North that there are equally many Northerners living comfortably in South Eastern Nigeria and who have well established businesses in the Igbo land.

He added: “Our Northern leaders, traditional rulers should come out to condemn the group statement by calling them to order and call for peace. Igbos should remain in the North and Northerners should continue to live in South East.”

Prof. Ango Abdullahi:  Secessionists should quit  Nigeria

Spokesperson of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, the Magajin Rafin Zazzau advised that whoever feels Nigeria was  not conducive for him to live should quit and leave Nigeria alone .

Speaking in an interview with journalists in Zaria, Kaduna State, on  Friday, Prof. Abdullahi said, the youths were pushed to the wall, adding that they have no option than to fight back.

According to him,” agitation for the break-up of this country came from the people of Eastern part of this country, but neither their leaders from the East nor our governors from the north cautioned them. He lamented that none of the Northern governors reacted to the call for the actualization of Biafra and other agitations.

The NEF spokesman noted that when Nnamdi Kanu was released on bail recently, over 100 vehicles escorted him to his residence including big personalities from the South-west and  South-east.

“This is somebody who has been agitating for the break-up of Nigeria but his people were behind him, therefore, I am behind the northern youths, “ Prof. Abdullahi said:

According to him, “This is because the Northern Youths were  pushed to the wall, we have been calming them down in any event similar to this. “These people always pretend that the North is cheating them, not minding the fact that

Southern Nigeria was developed by resources from the North.”Please, look for a book written by Adamu FiKa, the Waziri of FiKa on Nigeria’s budget before and after independence.

The Magajin RafinZazzau noted that, up to the time Nigeria gained its independence, none of the two regions was able to provide for itself.

 “I mean none of the Western and Eastern regions had the money to effectively run the affairs of its region until they got financial support from the Northern region,” hesaid.

He recalled that the tradition had remained during the colonial days  and nothing changed after they left the country.

Prof. Abdullahi said it was the same money from the North that was used to construct Nigerian Railways, refineries and lots of other things. “First oil exploration was conducted using money from groundnut pyramid, cotton, hide and skin among other cash crops from Northern Nigeria.

“However, these people tend to forget all these goodies provided by the North toward ensuring the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria. “They always

look down on us, feeling that Northerners are parasites in this country,” he said.

He expressed disappointment over the decision taken by Northern Governors’ Forum disowning and condemning the agitation by the youth groups.

 “Let me ask, these Northern governors, whom are they representing, are they representing spirits, ghost or people of the north?  Recently, people from eastern part of this country, specifically Igbo, were busy calling for the Sovereign State

of Biafra and from all indication their leaders including governors were  behind them,” he noted.

Prof. Abdullahi warned against any possible arrest of anybody among the aggrieved youths for avoidance of any peaceful break off.

ACF cautions against unguarded utterances to Nigeria’s unity

On its part, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), appealed for caution over unguarded utterances or statements that are capable of jeopardising the unity, peace and corporate existence of Nigeria.

ACF disclosed this in a statement signed by its publicity Secretary Mohammad Ibrahim Biu, which reads: “ The attention of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has been drawn to the press statement issued by a Coalition of Northern Youth groups calling on Igbos currently residing in the Northern part of Nigeria to relocate to the East within three  months, while Northerners in the East should do likewise.”

It continued: “This position of the groups was as a result of the persistent agitations of some members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for the actualisation  of the Republic of Biafra, which have continued to threaten the unity, peace and corporate existence of Nigeria.

 “ACF wishes to draw the attention of all concerned, to note, that our democratic system of government which is anchored on law guarantees free movement of all Nigerians to any part of the country and to also pursue their legitimate livelihood devoid of any hindrance or molestation by any group or individuals.

“Furthermore, the system allows settlement of all grievances through our elected representatives in both the National and States Assemblies and the Law courts. Any act to the contrary, is therefore, a breach of law and order that are not helpful.

“ACF appreciates the frustrations of the Northern Youth Groups with the activities of MASSOB and IPOB members,  but would not encourage any act that is not in conformity with the law by any  group or individuals which will do no one any good.

“ ACF therefore, appeals for caution over unguarded utterances or statements that are  capable of jeopardizing the unity, peace and corporate existence of Nigeria.”

Still from Kaduna,  a northern based women group, Jam’iyar Matan Arewa,  described  the call  for Nigeria’s breakup  as very unfortunate situation which  it said requires  urgent attention to tackle.

The group called on the Federal Government to hold stakeholders forum that would address the issue of agitations for the breakup of the country.

Interim President of the group who was also the first Woman Deputy Governor in Kaduna under military regime,  Pamela Saraki, made the plea in a statement released in Kaduna , in which she called for calm from those agitating for the breakup of the country , particularly the youth.

According to her, “We of the JMA as mothers, wives and sisters have read with a heavy heart  the agitations for the breakup of our nation by the youths and we wish to appeal to them for calm and to maintain  peaceful coexistence. JMA therefore wishes to draw the attention of everyone in this great Nation to this very unfortunate development.”

She continued: “Given the unfortunate situation that we have found ourselves today, we are hopeful that our youths will be bridge builders and patriotic towards our nation building for a peaceful coexistence and not engage in negative agitations that will put our dear Nation in jeopardy.

“Our history is full of gruesome scenarios and restlessness that have brought about horrific memories and we must be able to learn from our history to avoid further violence.

“We note some of the frustrating situation arising for the agitation for the breakup, but if you go by the global trend of Nation breaking up, these Nations still have not found the very core of the need of peace for coexistence.

“Ours can therefore not be different; we must learn from these and come up with viable solution to our needs.

“We therefore call on Government to recognize these agitations for a stakeholder’s forum with the sincerity of purpose that would address this very unfortunate situation.

“As mothers, wives and sisters, we would sincerely like to appeal to our dear youths to sheath their swords and embrace peace so that Nigeria will continue to be great and be an example to other nations to follows, “the statement read.

From Lagos, our Bureau Chief, Lekan Yusuf reports that some prominent lawyers have also condemned the ultimatum given the South Easterners by the Coalition of Northern Youths early last week.

 The lawyers in separate interviews with DAILY ASSET, described the ultimatum as a recipe for chaos and a sad reminder of what led to the last Civil War.

Speaking on the issue, Yusuf Ali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the group that issued the ultimatum is an unknown group hence the ultimatum should not be taken seriously.

He said: “I think we should down play the statement because the group is not known. Also, the Kaduna state governor has taken quick action by asking the Police to arrest the leaders of the group.

“But, I like to say that if we had succeeded in building a nation, such reckless statement will not be made. We should remove things that divide us like asking for state of origin. In other climes, where you live determines your citizenship and not where you were  born.”

In his reaction, Seyi Sowemimon, another SAN, said “the ultimatum is totally condemnable and “ I am glad that some northern elders have spoken against it. But, I think everything boils down to our defective Federal system and that is why people are clamouring for restructuring.”

He insisted that without restructuring, there won’t be a lasting peace in the country.

“Our federal system is so bias in favour of the centre and many see it as the ultimate goal for control”, he added.

Speaking on the issue, Dr. Tunji Abayomi said “Nigeria is not made up of one people but of different peoples and they are divinely placed in different areas. If you want to create unity among such peoples, you negotiate it, you cannot force unity.

“What we have presently is a false unity. What we need is for the various major cultural groups to sit at a table and agree on the term of their relationship. If we don’t do that, there will be no peace and order in Nigeria. We are just pretending as if things are okay but things are not okay in Nigeria,” Abayomi said.

In his view, Jiti Ogunye said the ultimatum is a sad reminder that we are not yet a nation.

“It is also a sad reminder of the violence that characterised our historical march towards nationhood,” he added.

He said the negative effect of the ultimatum and the careless statement they made will continue for the next 20 years.He called on the Federal Government to Implement the outcome of the last national conference or organise a fresh dialogue where people can resolve the Nigerian problems.

He called on the Federal Government to implement the outcome of the last national conference.

Notice on Igbo meaningless and should be ignored  -Prof. Agada

Also from Benue State, Professor Jerry Agada, a former Minister and current Chairman of Benue Civil Service Commission said:”Many people are referring to what authority should do to  the AREWA youths groups or whatever they call themselves  to make such a declaration?

“I don’t like it. You know that the thing has gone to the federal executive and people are making comments, yet when the Miyetti Allah issued a threat against Benue that they were the original inhabitants of the state, claiming this and that and declared war on us, nobody said anything, they left us to fight for ourselves but this one has generated a lot of reaction. I want them to know that no part of the country is better than the other, this is Nigeria project and everybody has equal right in the country.”

He added:” I see no reason why they should make that threat. I saw the people making the threat on the television. The person reading the threat is he still a youth, or everybody is a youth in Nigeria now? But as far as I am concerned, that is meaningless that is useless, if anything is wrong let us dialogue let us talk and make sure that all is well. This is because some of us who are old as I am witnessed the Biafra war. I was in form 2 when the war started and when it ended I was in form 5, so anything that will cause war in the country again will not be tolerated in this part of Nigeria. Peoples are agitated for one reason or the other, but let us ensure that this thing is resolved.

“You know my fear is,  there are these miscreants down the north who will want to cause problem. You know the way the federal government is talking about the issue trying to calm tension, but when the time comes these miscreants will not understand, they will start killing people and this whole country will be thrown into turmoil. But let us not regard it as a declaration, because those youths have no authority. Let us, however, on the other hand, not joke because miscreants are there to hijack it and start causing problems.  Let us be serious and let the generality of Nigerians condemn it, so that they will know people area against their declaration for them not to think that their declaration stand.”

 For Everest Iwuh, President-General Igbo Community, Makurdi,  the Igbo people are not worried “because even if we say we are going to have Biafra, we will still live in the north and the northerners will still live in Biafra.”

According to Iwu, “people have the right to live anywhere they want. Nigerians are living in America and the white people are staying in Nigeria too, so it is not normal that somebody will just wake up and say that the Igbo  people should leave the north. Don’t we have Hausas living in Igbo land? As an Igbo man I have a house here in Makurdi, I married here and have my children here. It is not enough that as a Nigerian I should live in Ghana. That is an empty threat, we are not worried. I believe there will be no war, because north central are not in support of the statement by AREWA youths.”

Afenifere chieftains caution against breakup

Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the group’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin warned the country against anything that will lead to the country’s break up. He stated this at the weekend while reacting to the ongoing debate on the continued existence of the country as a united entity.

In an interview with DAILY ASSET, Odumakin described as misguided,  the quit notice issued by some northern youths to Igbos to leave by October 1.

“The quit notice is totally misguided but it is clear that the voice is that of Jacob but the voice is Esau’s

“There are two deductions that can be gleaned from the declaration. Either the North has found oil and wants to crash Nigeria or they are setting the stage for a military coup. Neither is healthy for the polity.”

He added:”But the fact that those who made the declaration are still walking free shows clearly that the butterfly that is dancing on the surface of the river has some drummers underneath the water.

“As it stands, Nigeria is tottering on the brink of collapse except the leadership wakes up to its responsibility.

“What we need at this stage is an ad hoc conference to either agree on restructuring or peaceful dissolution,” he said.

Adebanjo, in his own comment, said the quit notice was a diplomatic war on the country.

He said although, the quit notice was issued to south easterners, it was bound to affect other ethnic nationalities.

He said: “The statements are unfortunate. If they said they don’t want Igbos, it means they don’t want other tribes. And if they don’t want us we won’t beg them.

“It is a diplomatic war on the country and the statement is reckless.

“However we don’t want violence, British put us together.

“To avoid all these kinds of threat, we should implement the report of the last national confab.”

Arewa youth body  unknown in Adamawa   

From Adamawa state, our regional editor ,Mathew Onah reports that there  appears  to be a general feeling  of apathy to the  issue of continuous  agitation for secession  by  the Igbo people from the rest of the country, being championed  by    MASSON and IPOB.

 Even more puzzling is the  fact that  most of the people interviewed are not aware of the existence of the  Arewa Youth body  that recently gave Igbo speaking people ultimatum to quit northern part of the country.

According to Alhaji Abdullahi Galadima, a   prominent Fulani titled holder  based in Yola, the agitation  by the Igbos  is just a storm in a ’’ tea cup.’’ The whole issue is just a gimmick by few  Igbo politicians to score political advantage. He  cautioned them  against taking it too far.

Galadima also  condemned  the altitude of Nigerian politicians who tend to politicise issues including the security and  sovereignty of the country.

He said:” We should be able to identify certain sacrosanct   themes that bind our country together and make them   ’’ no go areas.’’

 He said he cannot   understand the real motive for the agitation of the Igbos,  when according to him,  they have been fully integrated in every segment of the country after the civil war.   To Galadima,” they (Igbos)  together with the Yoruba  control the economy. Even the civil service is controlled by them. It was such reality that gave rise to  Federal Character  Commission to  ensure balancing.

On the ultimatum given by a youth group in the north, Galadima waved it aside and described it  as inconsequential.  ‘’I  am not aware of any Arewa youth

Congress or whatever name they bear, here in Adamawa ’’. They might exist in Kaduna and Kano but definitely not here in Adamawa, and am sure  you know the composition of Adamawa. We have over 20 tribal groupings with different religions living peacefully together’’.

In his reaction, Chief Seth Crowther, a prominent politician,  also faulted the

continuous  agitation  for Biafra by MASSOB and IPOB and described it  as childish and that it makes no sense.  He stressed  that  anybody that witnessed   the suffering and carnage that attended the civil war , 1967 to 1970 , would not  want a repeat of what transpired again.’’

On the ultimatum by the Arewa youth body, Crowther   also aligned with Galadima about the fact that the so called youth coalition  was not in existence in Adamawa.

 He   rhetorically asked’’ ‘’which north are they talking about’’.   The country has states as geographical expressions. What I know is that am a Bachama-speaking person from Adamawa state,  the North as political identity ended with the creation of states in 1967.

Both crowther and Galadima observed they have Igbos  as their  members of family. According to Galadima, one of his sons married an  Igbo lady and the union is blessed with  children.

But Anthony Chukwuma, 36, a manager with ‘’Jesco petroleum company , in  Yola, said the Biafra agitation is a legitimate yearning of the vast majority of the Igbos.

He said he was brought up in the  old Gongola state, now comprising Adamawa and Taraba states by his elder brother, in the 80s as petrol pump   attendant and had never been molested by anybody, he identifies with the agitation, because according to him ‘’ it is romantic’’.

Chukwumaadmitted , he is married to a Kiliba-speaking lady from Adamawa state and has not been to the East in the last 10 years.

Alhaji Galadima ,Crowther, Chukwuma,   however agreed on one fundamental  issue , that the failure of leadership in the country to address fault lines.  The said government  should address critical issues like infrastructure, hospitals, water, roads, creating enabling environment and level playing grounds for everybody.

Chukwuma and Crowther blamed corruption for the agitations across the

country.  “It is not  just the Biafran agitation, every group is agitating for identification because of scare resources. Minimise corruption and give equal opportunity to everybody and the agitations will fizzle out.

Galadima however blamed  unscrupulous  politicians for the tensions in the polity. Galadima however blamed  unscrupulous  politicians for the tensions in the polity.

In a related development, governors of the South-East Governors’ Forum have demanded adequate protection for the lives and properties of  people of Igbo extraction living in any part of the country and called on Northern leaders to speak against the divisive rhetoric being used by youths in the North.

The governors made their position known in a statement signed by Mr. David Umahi, Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum (SEGF). The statement, issued last  Friday, was in response to the order given by a 16-member coalition of Northern youth groups that Igbo people living in the Northern part of the country should return to their home states by October 1st and that Northerners living in the South-East should do the same of the stated date. The SEGF, which described the order as provocative and injurious to the corporate existence of the country, said the lives and property of Igbo in any part of the country must be guaranteed and defended.

He said:“The lives and property of law-abiding citizens of Igbo extraction are as precious as the lives and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of the region of their abode within this Republic. These must be guaranteed and defended against all forms of threat and aggression, both domestic and external, by the security forces/agencies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement said.

The governors added that they have been collaborating with the security agencies to ensure that non-Igbo people living in the South-East, including Northerners, are adequately protected from harm.

In addition, they called on well-meaning Nigerians, especially Northern religious, leaders of socio-cultural groups in the North and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to speak out against the incendiary utterances and conduct of Northern youths.

 “The ugly lessons of history are too grim to be stocked with carelessness. As leaders, we must exert the full measure of our powers and influence to forestall a repetition,” stated the SEGF. The forum called on Igbo people living in the North to go about their engagements without fear. It also dismissed, as false, claims being made in the traditional and on social media platforms South-East governors have agreed to mobilise vehicles and cash to move Igbo people out of the North.

“They are nothing but tissues of lies. No amount of provocation would lead us to such a precipitate and irresponsible action at this time. Those exploiting such vacuous tittle-tattle as a basis for divisive rhetoric in public spaces are simply playing juvenile politics and we urge them to cease and desist,” the governors said. The SEGF thanked the Presidency, Senate President, governors of Kaduna and Borno states, Arewa Consultative Forum, Afenifere and others who declaimed the Northern youths’ threat to the Igbo. Their action, said the South-East governors, underscored the unity and oneness of the country.

The governors equally restated their commitment to the continued existence of the country as a single entity ruled by mutual respect and equality of opportunity to all citizens regardless of creed, ethnicity or gender. “We have had occasion recently to take this position publicly in response to the agitative, but peaceful actions of some Igbo youth. We will continue to take a similar stance in response to any action that might threaten the cohesiveness of this nation or designed to cause its rupture,” they stated.gbo Quit Notice: South-East Governors Demand Protection For Igbo People

Updated  Statement by the Arewa Youth Groups

In a joint press statement on Thursday, the Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and Northern Emancipation Network, clarified their stand on some issues that trailed the Kaduna Declaration June 6, 2017.

In the statement, the groups observed that some elements had for reasons best known to them, “mischievously distorted the intent of our original script by alluding such words as ‘violence, ‘ ‘threat, ‘ ‘war’ and ‘mass action’ to it.”

“We find this mischievous because as cultured thoroubred Northerners we have never anywhere and at anytime, under whatever circumstances, called anybody to violence as a means of conflict resolution,” they said.

They said further:  “in strict observance of that tradition we never employ violence as a means of pursuing our interest and at every opportunity, we opt for peaceful engagements and implore people to eschew violence in all its ramifications.

“This informs why, a majority of discerning Nigerians, not necessarily northerners alone, understood and identified with our express call for the Biafrans to be allowed to actualize their long-held secessionist aspiration.

Restating their position, the youth groups said “we have never called anybody to violence and that people should discountenance the elements of fear and threat introduced by the distortions of merchants of mischief.

“We wholeheartedly endorse the moves made variously by our leaders to allay those fears and urge people to be peaceful and law-abiding while at the same time resolutely insisting on having the right thing done by allowing the Igbo to have and move to their dream country in accordance with the universal fundamental right to self-determination.

“We restate our determination and commitment to ensuring that the North will never partake in any contrived arrangement that would still have the Biafran Igbo as a component.

“We reiterate our call on Nigerian authorities and recognized international bodies such as the ECOWAS, AU and UN to hasten the initiation of the process for the final actualization of the Biafran nation and with it the excision of the Igbos out of the present federation.

The groups  particularly said they were “disappointed by the treacherous positions assumed by Nasir Ahmed Elrufai and Kashim Shettima who in pursuit of their blind ambition for the vice presidency, chose to side with the secessionist Igbos against the interest of peace-loving Nigerians.”

“It appears that characters like elrufai have no limit on how low they can fall in their inordinate desire to achieve their long held dream of power grab at the expense of the peace, well being and stability of our country.

We would like to assure elrufai and his ilks that we shall continue to expose their recalcitrant treachery and opportunistic proclivities.

We also assure them that the drive for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria in which the Igbos are not partners, will continue unabated.

Similarly, we are irked by the hordes of lies and misleading innuendos issued by Kashim Shettima, ostensibly on behalf of 19 Northern governors in which he refered to us as faceless and violent.

By our antecedents and track record, no politician or leader of honorable pedigree and impeccable character will associate us with such fabrications and this goes to prove that Shettima has disconnected from reality as he gets intoxicated by immoral wealth and property acquisition at the expense of people of the state suffering the devastation of Bolo Haram.”

Nigeria can’t afford another civil war – Gambari

A former Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, also added his voice to the raging controversy,  warning that recent developments in the country were reminiscent of the antecedent situation of the 1967 civil war.

Gambari, who is  also the Chancellor of Kwara State University, Malete, spoke at the 5th convocation of the eight-year old institution,  warning that this nonsense must stop because Nigeria cannot afford it.

He said, “ We can’t afford it because it is distractive. At a time when we seek to reposition our country for stronger national cohesion and economic resurgence, to play our destined role in Africa and the world, we do not need this distraction. Government across the country need a peaceful political and security atmosphere that allows them to concentrate on delivering the promised dividends of democracy to the people.

“We can’t afford it because it is disruptive and dangerous. Divisive agitations and violent conduct, or call to violent conduct, can  result in unexpected and undesirable consequences. The little fires starting to burn across the country must not be allowed to result in a conflagration from which none can escape.

“We can’t afford it because it hurts our image in the region, in Africa and around the world. What investor, donor or ally would confidently associate with a country under threat of disintegration, confusion or instability? None. If we are to leverage on our considerable economic potential and human capital, we have no choice but to demonstrate to the world that we are a viable destination and ally. Our size and diversity should therefore, be taken as advantages that help us to build a great economy with huge political influences”, he posited.

 He added “I seized this opportunity to comment on recent developments in our country, which should be of concern to all well- meaning Nigerians. It worries me that some of our compatriots seem to have forgotten so soon the great prize we paid fighting the civil war; lives were lost, properties were destroyed and nation building was stunted.

“I appeal to our leaders, political, traditional, religious and business, to not only speak out against the negative developments, but also to take immediate positive action to bring an end to them. Otherwise, their actions could be interpreted as collusion with the forces of division and violence.”

He, however, praised government at all levels as well as individuals for their efforts to calm the situation, saying that such efforts were necessary to prevent a breakdown of law and order, imbue confidence in government by citizens across the country, and , thereby, strengthen national unity.

 Gambari who noted that there was clamour for discussions on various national issues. including the review of the structures of the nation’s governance, recommended that “the 2014 national conference document is a useful starting point for such review and the federal government should provide enabling environment for such open discussion that will lead to  review to commence and reduce tension in the polity.

‘In this regard, I must also call on agitators for the review to continue to pursue this objective in the context of dialogue and law and order. I believe that government is presented with a great opportunity to develop a strategy , platform, legislation or policy for kick starting the dialogue”.

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