Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the umbrella group of the Niger Delta people, yesterday called on the Federal Government to immediately arrest and prosecute members of the Arewa youth groups that handed down the ultimatum for Igbos to vacate the Northern region by October 1, this year.
PANDEF said emphatically that its call, being a patriotic one, is to save the country from unnecessary disintegration.
The Pa. Edwin Clark led PANDEF maintained in a statement signed by Dr. Alfred Mulade, member, Central Working Committee(CWC) that the call by the Arewa youhts must be nipped in the bud and that the Federal Government should arrest, detain and prosecute them for treasonable felony.
â€œPANDEF insists that this call by Arewa yourhs, must be nipped in the bud and the Federal Government should, as in the case of Nnamdi Kanu, arrest, detain and prosecute them for treasonable felony, with immediate effect. In this matter of threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria, there must be no sacred cows.
â€œWhilst we do not support Nnamdi Kanu and the various seccessionist organisations in the South-east, for reviving the call for Biafra; and whilst we have to restate that the South-south is not part of the said Biafra, we take the view that this regrettably dangerous statement by the northern youths, is unwittingly lending profound support to demands of the Biafra agitators which is totally unacceptable to every patriotic Nigerian and a violation of the constitutionâ€ it said.
PANDEF considered the statement by Arewa youths as tragic and more treasonable than the offence allegedly committed by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB for which he was held for about a year adding â€œnot only that in this statement, a potent threat to the corporate unity of the country, but in our view, appears the most dangerous statement ever made by any group to the unity and existence of Nigeria since the end of the civil war.
â€œWe must not forget how we came into the civil war that lasted 30 months and the avoidable calamities it wrought on our country. 50 years thereafter, now things have changed a great deal, loyalties and commitments should be total of all Nigerians to a Nigeria where all will be free to stay in any part of the countryâ€ it added.
PANDEF said further â€œthis statement by the Arewa youths which strikes at the very roots of Nigeria, we believe, is indeed, an attempt to divide and break up the country, whose unity is guarranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
â€œIn condemning this statement, PANDEF calls on all Northern state governments, elders, particularly Arewa Consultative Assemblly not only to condemn thw statement but also take concrete steps to reassure Igbos. and indeed all Nigerians that they are free to stay in the north.