From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Southern Kaduna people under the auspices of Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) have assured the Igbo in the State of safety following a threat by a group of Arewa youths to force South Easterners out of the North.
A statement issued yesterday by the National Public Relations Officer (PRO), of SOKAPU, Mr. Yakubu Kuzamani, said Arewa youths lacked the mandate to speak for all the people of the north, especially the people of Southern Kaduna.
They insisted that all Nigerians have the right to live and carry out legitimate activities in all parts of the Country. “The lgbo did not in anyway offend Southern Kaduna people. We are a hospitable and accommodating people. We assure the Igbo that their property and assets (movable or immovable) in Southern Kaduna are secured, assured and guaranteed.
“The security of all Igbo in Southern Kaduna is guaranteed. We will continue to accommodate the Igbo and all persons of goodwill towards us irrespective of their primordial, ethnic or religious cleavages.
“The express desire of the Igbo to have a separate country of their own is an inalienable right which has not in any way, in our opinion, translated into a crime or provocation to us in Southern Kaduna, the North or the Nigerian State
“The lgbo have so far in our estimation merely exercised their rights to gather and to protest peacefully. They exercised their constitutional rights to acquire property in the nooks and crannies of this country. These are not criminal actions.
“We unequivocally disassociate ourselves from the toxic fumes of hate and bigotry belched out against the Igbo without provocation by the so-called Arewa youths. We were not consulted by the so-called Arewa groups before issuing the Kaduna Declaration despite the fact that Southern Kaduna is in the North West.
“The declarants, it appears clearly, do not see us as part of the North. None of the 53 ethnic nationalities of Southern Kaduna were consulted. Neither was SOKAPU the umbrella body of the 53 ethnic nationalities of Southern Kaduna consulted.
“They have, it appears, excised us from the North. They have shown utter contempt and disregard for us as a people. They did not speak for us.
Those making such calls threatening fire and brimstone on the Igbos have only served to poignantly demonstrate their bizarre nature.
“They should be arrested and prosecuted by the Nigerian State immediately. To threaten bona fide Nigerians with eviction and confiscation of their properties is to beat war drums.
“It is incitement against the Igbos. We condemn the declaration without reservations. We ask the ‘Northern Youths’ to look carefully inward into the north and they would find that other bigger problems facing the north’s existence, unity and cohesion has been festering without any comments from them.
“They should work towards strengthening the fragile trust that exists between and amongst all northerners with other ethnic groups than resorting to hate statements and incendiary ultimatum to bonafide Nigerians. These issues should be of immediate concern to them and not the Igbo.”