Nigeria’s Federal Government has given reasons why it did not arrest leaders of northern youth groups who ordered the Igbos of South East Nigeria to quit all 19 states in the North on or before October 1.
The government said there was no need arresting the Arewa youths since they argued being misquoted by the media.
This is coming on the heels of a more damning song in Hausa language, believed to be a follow-up to the quit notice order. The song debased the origin of the Igbos and calls for genocide against them.
The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, who made this reason known at a news conference on Friday in Abuja, also argued that it was unnecessary arresting the group not minding the “arrest order” issued by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.
Dambazau went further to say that the Arewa youths had also during an invitation by the Department of State Services (DSS) refuted allegations that they made any inciting comments.
“The group that called themselves coalition of Arewa Associations that held a press conference in Kaduna where they gave October 1 ultimatum to the Igbos to quit the North as a response to what they termed an issue of separatist agenda of the IPOB and claim that there were cases of incitement from the Igbos against the northerners to which the Kaduna State governor responded that they should be arrested for what they reported.
“Of course they later claimed that the media quoted them out of context. I am very much aware that the DSS invited all of them, held a meeting with them to which they made a statement to the effect that what was reported in the media was not what they said.
“They further wrote to the acting President indicating that they did not make inciting statement as to the issue of violence or forceful ejection of the Igbos in the north. However, it was on the basis of that, the northern elders called them to also reaffirm from them that what was reported was not exactly what they meant.
“Secondly, it is on this basis that I am answering the question, but it is something that the Kaduna State government is handling since that is where it happened. I want to think that it was on that basis that the arrest was not made.
“Again, there have been several efforts to dialogue between the northern youths and the Igbo youths. Several of such meetings have been held including the reported one that stalemate about one week ago but my understanding is that these various groups are sitting down among themselves to reach an understanding.
“More importantly, government gave assurance when the acting President met with leadership from various parts of the country that nothing is going to happen to any person. Government has assured that everybody should stay and continue with their normal businesses,” the Minister of Interior said.
On the case of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who is being prosecuted for demanding for the Independent of Biafra from Nigeria, Dambazau said that he had violated his bail conditions, but that only the court that gave the order will decide what happens to him.
He said, “The other issue is that, yes, Nnamdi Kanu has violated his bail conditions but it is not time yet for him to go back to the court for trial. We have this assumption but I think it is left for the court that gave those conditions to determine whether those conditions were violated or not. If those conditions were violated, the court knows what to do. We cannot assume that those conditions are being violated. Yes, the public knows but the determination of the extent of violation will be left for the court.
“It is not like the police will go after Kanu to arrest him on the grounds that he violated the bail conditions. Kanu will have a day in court and the court will determine his fate because it is the court that gave those conditions.”
Arewa youths have continued to insist on the October 1, quit order. Already there are reports that many Igbos are already leaving the North and returning to South East following the tensions the order has continued to generate in the northern states.
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