A coalition of northern youths have pleaded with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to allow Ndigbo decide if they still want to be part of Nigeria or want their age long desire of Biafra through a referendum.
The call is coming despite the position of the Federal Government on a united Nigeria and the concerted efforts Osinbajo is making through consultative meetings with leaders of South-East and the North to bring a lasting solution to the agitation for Biafra and quit notice to Ndigbo in the North.
The youths argued that initiating a process that will enable the people of South-East actualise Biafra through the principle of self-determination, which according to them is an integral part of contemporary customary international law will resolve the region’s uneding agitations.
The coalition of northern youths stated this in a letter to Osinbajo endorsed by Ambassador Shettima Yerima, Joshua Viashman, Aminu Adam, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and Nastura Ashir Sharif, the same set of people who signed a petition ordering Ndigbo to vacate the north by October 1.
They further argued in the letter that the principle of self-determination became part of the United Nations Charter since world war II.
They cited Article 1(2) of the UN Charter which states that one of the purposes of the UN is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”.
Detailing how Ndigbo just after five years of Nigeria’s Independence began agitation for Biafra and its consequent effects, including the civil war that claimed the lives of millions, the youths regretted that in the last two years the same agitation has resurfaced through some groups in the region.
Part of the statement read, “Concerned by the fact that the Biafrans have confessed to arming themselves for a violent breakup, we feel that it is risky for the rest of the country particularly the North to go on pretending that it is safe for us to co habitate with the Igbos given how deeply they are entrenched in our societies .
“And since evidently the Igbo have not been sufficiently humbled by their self imposed bloody civil violence of 1966, we are strongly concerned that nothing short of granting their Biafran dream will suffice.
“And since the Igbo have virtually infiltrated every nook and cranny of Northern Nigeria where they have been received with open arms as fellow compatriots, we strongly believe that the region is no longer safe and secure in the light of the unfolding threats and the fact that for a long time, the Igbo have gone to extra ordinary lengths to ensure that in their domain in the South East, Northerners and Westerners are as much as possible disenfranchised from owning any businesses whereas in Kano alone, they own not less than 100, 000 shops across all the business districts.
“That since the younger generation of Nigerians makes up for more than 60 per cent of the nation’s population, it is our hope that they inherit this country in better shape so that they can build a much better future for themselves and their offsprings in an atmosphere that is devoid of anarchy, hate, suspicion and negativity that characterize the polarized, and clearly irreconcilable differences forced on us by the Biafran Igbos”.
Insisting that Osinbajo should allow Ndigbo to go, the youths said, “As the Igbo agitations persist and assume threatening dimensions, we submit that there is need to ensure that they are given the opportunity to exercise the right to self-determination as entrenched under the aforementioned international statutes to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“Aware that the right of self-determination in international law is the legal right for a “people” that allows them to attain a certain degree of autonomy from a sovereign state through a legitimate political process, we strongly demand for a referendum to take place in a politically sane atmosphere where all parties will have a democratic voice over their future and the future of the nation.
“The Igbo from all over the country and in the Diaspora should be advised to converge in their region in the South-East for a plesbisite to be organized and conducted by the United Nations and other regional bodies for them to categorically decide between remaining part of Nigeria or having their separate country. That government should at the end of the plesbite implement whatever is agreed and resolved in order to finally put this matter to rest.
“Lastly, we pray His Excellency to study the references forwarded with this letter dispassionately and decide who is more in the wrong between those who openly pledge allegiance to a country other than Nigeria backing it up with persistent threats of war and those of us whose allegiance remains with the Nigerian state but simply urge that the secessionists be allowed to actualize their dream peacefully throw universally entrenched democratic options”.
Despite Osinbajo’s meetings with leaders of the South-East and North regions, the youths who are championing the present cause for worries seem to have maintained their grounds.
While the northern youths have continued to insist on their quit notice order, youth groups agitating for Biafra in the South-East have maintained that Ndigbo in the North should honour the order and return home.
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