Alhaji Yerima Shettima, National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), has revealed the reasons why he joined other Northern youths in the struggle to eject Igbo people out of the North.
Recall that the group in its meeting called “Kaduna Declaration” gave Igbo people in the North an Ultimatum to vacate the region before October 1.
Since the declaration, the media has run agog with condemnations and calls for Igbos to vacate the region with the fear of unknown what might happen after the ultimatum expired.
However, Shettima, in an interview with The Sun, thrown more light on the declaration, as National President of the Northern groups, he has the following to say;
I was drawn into this latest issue of Biafra and we decided to take the stand that we communicated to Nigerians through our communiqués and press conferences because of the way Nnamdi Kanu and his members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are dragging the matter lately.
We are not comfortable with the way Kanu and co are taking this issue, which may snowball into violence. So, basically, our position was just an intervention to save this country from plunging into chaos or another civil war.
Nnamdi Kanu’s version of Biafra struggle, which is different from what Uwazurike-led MASSOB was known for; has put everybody on the edge. Kanu’s rude and arrogant approach to the Biafra struggle is what many of us are uncomfortable with. We believe that the conduct of IPOB leaders, if left unchecked could cause trouble for this country. That is why we came out with a clear proposal that would save the country from trouble.
And our position is simple: We want those who want Biafra to be allowed to go and fulfill their wish. Since Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB is threatening that it is either that they are not allowed to secede from Nigeria or they rain down fire, we don’t want that to happen. We don’t want Biafra struggle to breed violence or civil war. We want peaceful solution to the issue.
That’s the simple and summary of our position. But, many took our position on the matter out of context, to mean that we were planning to sack or eject Igbos from the North. That’s not the truth. There is nowhere in that declaration that says we are forcefully going to remove the Igbo from the North. People misinterpreted our position.
Unfortunately, many people will always find ways to misinterpret whatever anybody with genuine intention of this country says or does for the betterment of everybody because of the usual mutual suspicion. Our position is that since the Igbo led by IPOB say they want to secede from Nigeria, let them be allowed to go without any violence. I believe in self-determination and so, see no reason the Igbo should be stopped from pursuing that dream.
Our position is also geared towards sensitising a lot of Igbo on the dangers of what these guys are preaching. We believe that such could serve to bring Kanu and his followers to their senses and influence the opinions of other Igbo leaders because from what we have learnt, they actually enjoy backing of a lot of them. There is urgent need to compel Kanu to apply caution on this Biafra struggle and to educate most Igbo that IPOB’s violent stance on this matter is not even in their best interest. They need to know that we are not the enemy in this issue. We are simply trying to avert crisis.
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