…Nigeria Should Revisit Gowon’s 3 Rs-Program, Says Musa
- As Police Begins Manhunt for Signatories to Quit Notice Text
By ‘Dotun Akintomide
The quit notice handed Igbos residing in the northern part of the country has been described as an empty threat coming from a group of disgruntled youths that lacks significant influence in the political affairs of the country and particularly in northern Nigeria.
A second Republic Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa disclosed this to The New Diplomat in an exclusive chat. He said the youths cannot bet their threats on anything significant, saying that it was a group of frustrated youths trying to vent its anger on innocent people, thus fueling the embers of war.
His words: “This is a call for war by section that is not even at the base of power in Nigeria and even in the north. The so called Arewa youths and and even agitators in southeast are not at the base of power in the country. Who are those of them in the north making the threat, they are youths and virtually all of them, I do not know except the group headed by Yerima. They can’t bet their threat on anything significant and those of them in the East are also youths. So, it’s a group of frustrated youths with their actions rising from genuine grievances.”
Speaking further, he said to address the Southeast grievances, Nigeria should re-invent the clock and go back to the implementation of the former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s program after the Biafran civil war: 3-Rs – Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation as the panacea to resolving the southeast agitation. “If we can do that, I believe we can get over this. But we can’t get over this should they continue with this madness.”
Blaming the action of the youths on the education gap existing between northern and southern Nigeria, Musa said, “In the case of the youth, the northern youths are the most deprived among the Nigerian youths because their capacity cannot be compared with that of others elsewhere. The level of educational development in the North is 40 years behind that of the south and this affects the youths. Based on this, these youths are not qualified to participate in the affairs of the country equally. So, it’s very easy for them to be manipulated because of their capacity.”
However, he observed that the success of the Sit-At-Home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that was effectively carried out across the 5 States of the southeast means the agitation cannot be pushed aside by the Nigerian government anymore.
“Nobody should say the successful demonstration of that group (IPOB) in Southeast can be rubbished. It cannot be rubbished, it’s genuine because it was successful,” says the Kaduna state’s erstwhile Governor.
He challenged the federal government to sit tight on the matter and resolve it, saying this was how the Biafran civil war started in 1967 due to laxity on the part of government at the time to address the core issues that triggered the war.
In another development, the Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement expressed regret over the outburst of the Arewa youths, calling on Igbos in the north to remain calm and vigilant.
The statement signed by Chukwudi Ibegbu, national deputy publicity secretary said “this invidious act has no doubt sent shock wave over the country. The President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chief Nnia Nwodo call on Ndigbo all over the North to remain calm but vigilant.”
Ohanaeze expressed hope that Nigerian security agencies will do the needful by protecting the lives and properties of all Nigerians in general and Ndigbo in particular in the North in view of the threats.
Nwodo said he would not react to the statement made by the Northern youths until the northern elders speak on the matter. “I will not react to a statement made by the Northern youth. I will not. If their fathers speak, then I will summon my executive and we deliberate on it. Thereafter, I will speak. It is our hope that the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders Forum will also rise to the challenges of the moment,” he said.
Meanwhile, following Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s directive, the police in Kaduna said a manhunt has been launched for the signatories to the statement. The manhunt, according to the police, is backed by the order given by Kaduna State government to have them arrested.
In his reaction, Force Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Moshood Jimoh stated that every Nigerian has a right to live anywhere in the country as enshrined in the constitution. According to him; “Kaduna state government has reacted promptly to the issue. We are also using this opportunity to warn anybody that wants to foment trouble to beware because we will deal decisively with such group or persons.”