In what will come to be known as the Awka Declaration, an Igbo group known as Ndigbo Peace Movement (NPM) in solidarity with Arewa groups from the North has sued for peace and unity among youths and groups from the Southeast and the North.
In a statement issued after their joint press conference held in Awka, Anambra State yesterday, the two groups said they had gathered to take a stand for peace and unity as critical ingredients to the survival of Nigeria.
According to them, in the statement, “The Igbo Peace Movement in agreement with the Arewa groups hereby unequivocally declares it unwavering commitment to the peace and unity of Nigeria.”
Among those present at the conference were the Coordinator of NPM, Onyekachi Divine Ngobidi, and Secretary, Victor Igwilo. For the Arewa groups, Alhaji Bello Maigari Suleja represented Hausa Community Youth Leader in Anambra State; Alhaji Gidado Sadiq (Chairman Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Southeast zone) and Alhaji Usman Farank (Sarkin Chamba).
While the groups agreed that there were valid reasons for agitations in the country, they also stated that notwithstanding, “there are laid down lawful procedures for presenting and addressing these concerns,” as they joined other Nigerians to condemn the use of violence as a “means of pressing our demands.”
Acknowledging that Nigeria’s strength and unity were in its diversity, the statement added: “The Igbo are peace-loving people and for the avoidance of doubt, we want to state that majority of them are not Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members.”
Calling on MASSOB, the Igbo Youth Congress, IPOB, the Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Youth Congress, the Concerned Northerners and every other stakeholder in Nigeria to work in making the country great again, the groups in their statement commended the visit of some northern state governors to the South-east region and the recent proscription of IPOB by the Southeastern state governors.
The NPM asked all the Igbo people living in the northern states to “disregard any threat to their safety and to go about their lawful duties without fear of molestation, and for our brothers from the North, we also guarantee their safety. Ndigbo are a peace loving people and will continue to be so.”