Four weeks after some Northern youths ordered Igbo residents in northern Nigeria to vacate, with several counter threats demanding the Hausa-Fulanis to quit the Southeast region, The New Diplomat has observed heavy vehicular movement of humans and properties across the upper and lower side of the Niger as citizens are gradually relocating before the October 1st deadline.
A Northern Youth Groups, in what they tagged: “The Kaduna Declaration” had given all Igbos residing in any part of Northern Nigeria three months to relocate to their places of origin.
In retaliation to the order, groups in the Southeast have also asked the Hausa-Fulani people to leave the region threatening reprisals.
A visit to some motor parks, have shown that in northern Nigeria many Igbos are already returning to the East in droves to avoid being harmed.
When a reporter visited the God is Good Motor Park in Mando, Kaduna State over the weekend, the park was filled to the brim with Igbos, who are headed for their country home.
A man who gave his name as Ikechukwu Aniocha, an electric appliance dealer said he doesn’t want to risk the life of his family.
“I have been in this place for thirty years but I think I have overstayed my welcome here. I will take my family to the village and return by next week to sell off some of my belongings here,” he said.
When reminded that the federal government had since ordered the arrest of those behind the threat, the father of six angrily said,
“the federal government wont be there to save us when problem starts.
“Since they gave the order, who has been arrested? I also have my village, it is high time I returned home.”
Another lady, who gave her name as Patricia Nkiru, said she sells second hand clothes at the Kaduna Central market in Kaduna.
“I want to go and rest for a while. I really don’t know what these people are up to. I will come back when they are ready to accommodate us,” she said.
Similarly, a trip to the Kofar Ruwa Market park of the Peace Mass Transit in Kano also showed that Igbos are already returning to their home towns in droves.
A cursory observation of vehicular movement on the Niger bridge and other diverging routes that linked the Northern parts with southeast shows that an unusual traffic logjam is gradually becoming a phenomenon on many roads as people are in a mad rush daily to save their lives, families and moveable properties from the looming ruins hanging on the nation if government fails to broker peace among warring regions.
According to our correspondent, some persons were spotted with their belongings, including, mattresses, cooking pots, boxes of clothes, and other home appliances.
When approached, one of the travelers, who gave his name as Mazi Obiekwe angrily said,
“go and ask Buhari and his kinsmen why they want us to leave their land.”
When prodded further how long he has been in Kano, he simply said,”
Also, the Hausa/Fulanis living in southeast are not living anything for chance as they have began to relocate up north for fear of reprisal attacks, a leader of the Hausa-Fulani Community in Aba, who simply identified himself as Doguwa said the people in host communities to the Hausa-Fulanis in Southeast have renewed their hostilities and are threatening to go on a rampage should anything happen to Igbos in the north.
“The development has stoked tension among our people and many of them are already leaving for north. We don’t know what would happen to Igbos on October 1st should they fail to leave the north and the people who gave the threat may likely want to enforce their order, which means we are not equally save here. They will just kill all of us.
“It’s unfortunate we have to pay heavily for an order we knew nothing about.”
When asked what will happen to the Fulanis and their cows, he replied, “Many of them have started moving out with their cows with many considering north central and Southwest as alternative places where they can get good pastures for their animals.”
“And since it will take them weeks to get to their desired destination, they are not taking the threat for granted.
“In fact, the number of herdsmen in Southeast has drastically reduced since our people heard the news and the following daily developments through the Hausa BBC radio service.”
Meanwhile, prominent Nigerians, including Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, senators, past leaders as well as leaders of thought across regions in the country have affirmed that every Nigerian has the right to live in any part of the country, but the ensuing hate speeches and counter reactions have continued to exacerbate tensions and worries among Nigerians as the countdown to the October 1st ultimatum ticks away.