BY MAIRIGA Juliana, Minna
Niger state government has disassociated self from threats by 13 youth groups in the north under the name, ‘Arewa Youths’ calling on all the Igbos living in all the 19 northern states to leave while also asking their kinsmen in the southern parts of the country to relocate back to the north.
Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas and any other tribe living in any part of the state are welcomed any time, any day and feel safe in parts of Niger state, a miniature Nigeria, “God created us and has kept us together though tribes and tongue differs”.
State commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa made the declaration while addressing journalists against fears by southerners, Igbo people in general about their safety and that of their businesses in view of the three months quit notice by the youth group.
“Though the chairman of the Northern Governor’s Forum has made official statement disassociating all the 19 northern state governments from the group’s declaration, Niger state because of its strategic position and the gateway to the FCT, Abuja still deemed it very necessary to reassure all citizenry of their safety and that of their properties anywhere in Niger state”.
Vatsa said it is unfortunately that the youths who apparently does not know the implications of what they have done went wild delving into such sensitive issue which has created so much tension among the various segments of the Nigerian society.
“Arewa Youths has no right to speak on the issue and they do not in any way represent the voice (s) of the entire 19 northern states hence we are advising all law abiding citizens of the state to remain law abiding without fear of any form of molestations”, the commissioner said.
The commissioner said, “We are one in Niger state irrespective of the fact that we came from different background. We have people from other parts of the country as part of this government and that goes a long way to demonstrate the oneness and unity of purpose being promoted at all levels by the All Progressive Congress (APC) government”.
“Governor Bello is not happy with what is happening, he is not sleeping due to the tension created by the Arewa Youths Forum’s declaration in Kaduna a fourth night ago, giving all Igbos living in any part of northern Nigeria 3 months to leave”, Vatsa said.
Jonathan Vatsa argued that, Northerners and northern Nigeria has leaders and the group that addressed the press conference declaring the north free from continued co-existence with Nigeria as it is currently constituted, insisting that the declarations are imagination of the authors or the people behind the confusion.
While urging all to go about their normal businesses, Vatsa described the youths as a group that is not just ill informed but out for sinister motives, insisting that there are leaders who can speak when the need arises for the region and not a group of ill-informed with no links to the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) or Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) who are expected to speak for the region when the need arises.
Meanwhile, the declaration by the Arewa youths in Kaduna state has created uneasy calm among traders, businessmen and women from the southern part of the country.