The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has ordered the immediate arrest of the so-called Northern youth leaders who signed a statement issuing a three-month ultimatum to the people of the South-East to leave the northern part of Nigeria.
The governor gave this order on Wednesday through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, at a press conference in Arewa House, Kaduna.
THEWILL recalls that a coalition of Northern groups, including the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, had on Tuesday, given all Igbo residents in the 19 states of the North a three-month ultimatum to vacate the area or be forced out after the expiration of the October 1, 2017, deadline.
The groups, who rose from a meeting at the Arewa House in Kaduna, also asked Northerners in the South-East to get prepared to come back home, declaring that the North could no longer co-exist with the Igbo.
They based their call on the success of a recent sit-at-home protest ordered by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on May 30, 2017 which the five states of the South-East complied with.
But condemning the youths’ action in the statement read out by his aide, El-Rufai assured residents in the state of “their freedom to reside where they choose”, adding that the “constitutional right of every Nigerian to own property, move freely and to live in peace and harmony is sacrosanct”.
He stressed that his government has been consistent in taking action to punish hate speech and incitement.
The statement partly reads, “The Kaduna State Government condemns in the strongest terms the press statement by some self-appointed “northern youths” that threatened the safety and property of our citizens of Igbo extraction. Government assures every resident of our state that their constitutional and human rights to live peacefully and own property wherever they choose is sacrosanct. Even people who may feel unhappy about irresponsible comments or actions that have taken place in other states must know that two wrongs cannot make a right.
“The Kaduna State Government believes in and will uphold the right of every Nigerian to live safely and develop his/her full potentials within its territory.
“Reckless disregard for the rights of other citizens drips through the press statement by these “northern youths” who have chosen to use the discourse around restructuring to promote their own agenda of hate, division and incitement. This sort of opportunists cannot be allowed to distort debate, or turn it into a pretext for a barely-disguised agenda of displacement and dispossession of some citizens.
“We will not tolerate such irresponsible statements and conduct in our state. The statement issued by the “northern youths” violates the laws of Kaduna State. Therefore, the Kaduna State Government has directed that its Ministry of Justice should prepare charges and prosecute the signatories and anyone complicit in arranging this egregious assault on the rights of fellow citizens.
“Preparatory to prosecution, the police have been directed to immediately arrest, interrogate the signatories to the statement and investigate all the circumstances and persons that may be implicated in the matter.
“The Kaduna State Government urges all residents to ignore the threats from the “northern youths”. We are in contact with the leadership of the Igbo community in Kaduna, and we delighted to say that this community, like all our other communities, believes in the strength of the constitutional order to protect all citizens.
“KDSG wishes to encourage all our people to celebrate the diversity with which the Almighty has blessed us, to continue to shun agents of division, and to stand firm in upholding a common humanity. Everyone has a right to live in peace and harmony.”
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