The Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) has followed with concern the chain of events that has culminated into the unfortunate ultimatum issued to Igbos to vacate the northern region by the so-called Coalition of Arewa Youths. The Centre views this kind of pronouncement as unconstitutional, provocative and a threat to the peaceful co-existence among the citizens and capable of severing the cord that binds the Nigerians.
No doubt, the coalition’s declaration may have been in response to the resurgence of secessionist tendencies orchestrated by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement of the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in the South East of Nigeria. IPOB and MASSOB have in the recent past been engrossed with the idea of actualising a sovereignty state of Biafra, and have gone about this venture in a manner that is unacceptable by the majority of Nigerians. Indeed, the Centre has had reasons to admonish IPOB and its leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu since 2015 on the need not only to modify their modus operandi by embracing dialogue with a view to addressing the myriads of socio-economic and political issues of the South East but also to project ideas devoid of antagonistic tendencies.
Against the backdrop of IPOB’s secession plans which whipped up the civil war sentiment of the people of the South East to declare 30th of May, 2017 a sit-at-home action in remembrance of the Igbos that died during the war, perhaps this must have compelled the equally divisive declaration by the Arewa Youths. It is on record that millions of Nigerians from all ethnic divides died in that unfortunate Nigerian civil war.
In view of the dangerous dimension these conversations are taking, the Centre wish to state as follows:
a. That Chapter Four of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of movement and the inalienable rights of all Nigerians to live wherever they wish and to equally pursue their legitimate livelihood wherever they wish devoid of any hindrance or molestation by any individuals or groups.
b. No group, association or coalition under any guise has the right to threaten Nigerians with ultimatums to relocate from certain parts of Nigeria.
c. That the 15th January of every year which is the Armed Forces Remembrance Day should be expanded to be a National Remembrance Day to be set aside to celebrate the unity of the country and commemorate the civilians and military personnel who lost their lives during the unfortunate civil war in order not to give room for mischief makers.
d. That the media should be conflict-sensitive in their reportage of information that have ethnic or religious connotations.
e. The Centre wishes to commend the quick intervention by the Kaduna State Government as well as Northern Governors’ Forum in unequivocally condemning the unguarded pronouncement of the Coalition of the Arewa Youth.
The Centre for Crisis Communication is the Secretariat of Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA).
Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (Rtd)
8 JUNE 2017