By Chinelo Obogo
Two weeks after some Northern youth associations handed down an October 1, 2017 ultimatum to Igbos living in the region to leave or face the consequences, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has expressed worry over the failure of the Nigeria Police to arrest and prosecute those responsible for the threats.
A coalition of Northern youth groups, spearheaded by the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, converged on Arewa House in Kaduna State on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 and issued a three-month ultimatum to Igbos living in the 19 states of the North to leave or be forcefully ejected.
Spokesman of the group, Abdulazeez Suleiman said the North is no longer disposed to “coexisting with the Igbo and shall take definite steps to end the partnership by pulling out of the current federal arrangement.
According to the group, the Igbo have continued to maintain “open contempt and resentment for the collective decision expressed by majority of Nigerians” since the inception of this administration.
“From today, June 6, 2017, when this proclamation is signed, the North, a critical player in the Nigerian project, hereby, declare that it will no longer be disposed to coexisting with the igbo and shall take definite steps to end the partnership by pulling out of the current federal arrangement.
Days after that order, nobody has been arrested; even after Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, ordered their arrest, minutes after they issued the threat at Arewa House.
Similarly, the governor directed his Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to prepare charges of incitement against leaders of the group.
Regardless, in a communiqué jointly signed by the President, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, and General Secretary, Victoria Ibanga, the Guild stated that despite the orders given by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to arrest those responsible for issuing the threat to Igbos, no arrest has been made.
“We condemn the hate speeches from different sections of the country and we call for restraint and tolerance among Nigerians. Those sowing seeds of discord should realise that they are not just destroying the dreams of the nation’s founding fathers but the progress we have made over the years as a nation; their actions have the capacity to alter the destiny of Nigeria negatively.
“We want to remind the hate agents that, as major stakeholders in the Nigerian project, editors and journalists fought for the enthronement of the current democratic dispensation, with some paying the supreme price, to birth a constitutional government.
“We also regret that elders, from different parts of the country, kept quiet for too long, which allowed the youths to take over the socio-political space and brought the nation to the present situation.
“We urge the elders across the country to always keenly take interest in the affairs of the nation, rather than play the ostrich and we urge Nigerians to ignore those agitating for the dismemberment of the country and to go about their businesses without fear or let, and focus more on repositioning the country for present and future generations.
“We also note that the Inspector General of Police has been issuing orders to his men to get those who issued the threats against Igbos persons arrested but are worried that no commensurate action has been taken.
“We urge the police to be more responsive and pragmatic.”
The Guild also condemned what it described as the overzealousness of operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and other security agencies against the media.