Faults Biafra, Arewa ultimatum
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday declared that both the renewed agitation for the restoration of Biafra and the ultimatum issued to Igbo to leave the North are wrong and unlawful activities that deserve to be dealt with according to the country’s constitutional provisions.
Osinbajo said this at his opening remarks at the meeting with traditional rulers drawn from each senatorial district of the five Southeast states, led by Eze Udo 1 of Mgboko Ngwa Amaise in Abia State, Eze Eberechi Dick, who is also Chairman of Southeast traditional rulers, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja during
The parley is in continuation of his consultations with leaders and traditional rulers from the North and Southeastern regions of the country, following the escalation of ethnic tensions occasioned by the agitation for Biafra and the vacation order issued by Northern youths for Igbo to quit the north.
VP Osinbajo lamented that apart from the legal indivisibility of the country, too many Nigerians have paid for the continued unity of the country with their lives, and there has been so much bloodshed to preserve the unity of the country.
In his opening remarks, Osinbajo said both groups were clearly violating the Nigerian Constitution, which insists on the sanctity of the unity of the country and the right of every citizen to reside in any part of the country he chooses.
He admitted there are grievances to be addressed, and the only way to make anything right is by doing it right, instead of threatening to break the law or the country. He insisting that the greatness of any community lies in its unity.
Osinbajo also explained that government considered the peculiar role of the traditional rulers in fixing a separate meetings for them.
He said, “In planning these meetings I was conscious that we should have a separate set of meetings with our traditional rulers because of the peculiar and the unique positions that they hold especially in their relationship with those that live in their kingdoms. This was the reason why we chose to have two separate meetings one with the South East Traditional Rulers and tomorrow evening I will be having one also with traditional rulers from the north.
I want to emphasis that it is the unique position that traditional rulers occupy that is behind separate consultations and we want to take much advantage of it as much as possible.
“Most of us are aware especially for those who have been following the consultations, we have worked very hard to ensure that the representations across the two zones that we are interested in consulting with initially is as wide as possible and we have tried to inculcate that even in our traditional rulers today.
“As you are aware there has been agitation from some of our youths in the south east urging secession, the creation of Biafra. In apparent response young people in the north states, under the aegis of Arewa youths have purportedly issued an ultimatum where they have said set a date for the eviction of persons from south east region who live in the northern states.
“Those agitations, the manner of those agitations, the method and objective are wrong, unlawful and the violation of the laws of Nigeria and the constitution of Nigeria. I want to repeat that both the agitations for secession and the ultimatum to leave the northern states are wrong and a violation of our constitution.
“Our constitution says in Section Two that Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name the federal republic of Nigeria.
“That is the law of our country. Let us not be in any doubt about the fact that the federal government is committed to ensuring that our country remains united.
“And that anyone who violates the law in the manner such as we are seeing all over the place will be met with the full force of the law.
“And the reason why it is so is because Nigeria’s unity enough blood has been spilled and many hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost. Many have paid for the unity of this country with their lives and it will be wrong of us as men and women of goodwill in this generation to toy with those sacrifices that have been made.
“This is why men of goodwill in our generation must not tolerate any tendency that drags us in the direction of yet another civil conflict.
“But we must be sensitive to the reasons why there are agitations by the various young men across the various zones of this country. Many have to do with perceived marginalization, some have argued safety in the different zones have been compromised. But I want to say the only way to make things right is to do things right. And it will be wrong of us to approach even our grievances by threatening to disobey the laws or by threatening the integrity of our nation,” he said.