“We’ll not tolerate further harassment and intimidation of our leaders like IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Alhaji Asari Dokubo and Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Sunday Igboho.
“They are nothing but freedom fighters who are merely fighting for the interest of their people and therefore should not be harassed or intimidated, failure of which will; attract our wrath henceforth”, youths in the Southern Nigeria, warned the federal government on Saturday.
The youths also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to desist from harassing and intimidating credible Southerners forthwith but rather concentrate fully in securing the country from insurgents and terrorists.
They believed that southern youth leaders like the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Alhaji Asari Dokubo and Chief Sunday Adeyemo a.k.a Sunday Igboho are pillars in the Southern Nigeria and that harassing or intimidating them instead of dialoguing with them is tantamount to fighting the whole South.
Arising from a two-day meeting held on Saturday in Umuahia, the youths, who met under the aegis of Southern Nigeria Youth Assembly (SNYA) described Kanu, Dokubo and Igboho as patriotic citizens, stressing that any attempt to arrest or kill them will lead to a monumental breakdown of law and order in the nation.
In a communiqué they issued in Umuahia after their meeting, the SNYA warned that it will no longer be business as usual over the activities of herders, under-development and unfair security treatment of the region.
The SNYA, communiqué signed by its chairman Comrade Alhassan Abidemi and the Secretary, Ukor Brown Ukor asked the federal government to stop forthwith its nepotistic tendencies and govern the country based on the federal character principle. The SNYA, the group said in the communiqué, draws its members from the 17 states of the southern Nigeria.
Their word, “All criminal herders must vacate our lands and return to wherever they coming from because their acts are alien to the entire region. Our peace is sacrosanct and we are not ready to shortchange it for anything else.
“We cannot allow the region to degenerate into oblivion. The federal government must desist from intimidating good spirited agitators like Alh Asari, Ugboho, Kanu and others who are going about their legitimate businesses and asking questions on behalf of the region.
“Any further intimidation may degenerate to a breakdown of law and order which is the last thing the region or authority needs”, the group warned.
“We appreciate the little effort by the federal government, led by Buhari in developing the region. However, we still insist that much is yet to be done, considering that this region is the life-line of Nigeria’s economy.
“It is worthy of note that we stand with Nigeria in her unity in diversity, but will not shy away from calling/agitating for her (Nigeria) division if these very simple demands are not given the needed attention”.
Other conditions they give for the country to remain intact include that the security of life and property of the region must be given adequate attention, and as a matter of urgency, the Federal Government should commence/fast track infrastructural development in the region.
They further advised political leaders in the zone to see each other as family members, stating “they must as a matter of urgency reconcile their divergent views and stop looking out for personal interest” and should strive for the collective interest of the region.
“We discourage in strong terms the politics of bitterness, acrimony and rancor”, the body said and issued ultimatum to such leaders “a maximum of one month to close ranks for the benefit of the zone or else, the will hear from us”, pointing out that “infighting within the region has given room for external persons such as Sen. Smart Adeyemi to make such a statements about a revered leader from the region.
They condemned in strong terms Adeyemi’ outburst on Gov. Ikpeazu of Abia State and demanded “without fear or favour that Sen. Adeyemi of Kogi State tender unreserved apology to Gov. Okezie ikpeazu and publicly withdraw his unfounded utterances” within two weeks.
They said they have noticed that genuine agitators in the region are also being threatened or arrested for asking the Federal Government what is due to the region, recalling the threat “in some quarters to arrest Alh Asari Dokubo and Sunday Ugboho for reasons not clear”.
According to the youths all these demands arose from the fact that the region is full of dilapidated infrastructures which is a source of major worry and which needs be addressed.
Delegates from Lagos, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Rivers, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Ebony State including the host, state Abia attended the meeting.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.