The Arewa Youths Forum that issued quit notice to Igbo people in the North in June, has faulted the President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable.
The group insisted that Buhari’s statement is a welcome development, but Nigeria’s unity is negotiable, therefore the president should provide a template for a referendum for those who do not want to be part of Nigeria.
Rising from a town hall meeting for the North East geopolitical zone, yesterday, the Coalition National Chairman, Alhaji Yerima Shettima told newsmen in Gombe, yesterday, that Nigeria should create an exit door for the Biafra agitators by convening a referendum.
He said; “The president just came back from his medical vocation. In normal circumstances, one should have expected him to take some time to have a clear review of situations in the country after spending 103 days abroad.
“His statement is a welcome development to some extent because there are issues; the unity of the country is being threatened. I think the focus of the president was basically on the threat to our national unity and those were the key issues he spoke about.
“In addition, that we would no longer tolerate anybody undermining the security of the country. Certainly, agreed, it should be that way as he felt. But I feel also that on the side of international law to which Nigeria is signatory, it is expected that government must create an exit door for those who feel they want to leave through a referendum and as stipulated in the 1999 constitution.
“It would not augur well if we insist on living with people who do not want to be part of the country and they keep threatening the unity of the country. It may even appear to the international community like a mockery.
“If the government is up and doing, let us abide by the demands of the international law by creating an exit door for those agitating for self determination,” Shettima said.
The Arewa youth coalition chairman, however, said he was optimistic that with a referendum, the Igbo people would chose to remain part of Nigeria.
“Certainly, the IPOB cannot be said to be speaking for the South-East because they are less than ten percent of the Igbo communities who are willing to remain in Nigeria,” he said.
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