Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide on Sunday warned the Coalition of Northern youths that its peaceful approach to issues of the nation should not be misconstrued to be weakness.
The youths who condemned the 30-days ultimatum given to the federal government and governors to implement the suspended RUGA settlement policy or they will sack Southerners resident in the North and establish the settlements across the nation, said the ultimatum was a declaration of war against the south and southerners living across the Northern part of yhe country.
In a statement issued in Abakaliki by Mr Okechukwu Isiguzoro, President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth council worldwide, the Igbo group vowed that it will explore all peaceful avenues for protection of lives and properties of the Igbo resident in the North.
The youths commended the federal government for suspending the RUGA settlement and urged the Northern youths to obey the suspension and stop issuing threat over it.
The Igbo youths accused the Northern youths of promoting hate speech banned by the federal government through the ultimatum and called the federal government to call them to order.
“We studied and weighed the implications of the recent threat and 30days Ultimatum from a Northern group named ” Coalition of Northern groups” over the suspension of Ruga settlement by Presidency, and there have been unnecessary tension in the Southern Nigeria especially Igbos emanating from the threat of these Northern group.
“We are fully aware that these recent threat are targeted only to the lives and properties of peaceful Nigerians of Igbo extraction doing businesses in 19 Northern States, and this is a declaration of War against the Igbos.
“ Instead of resorting to threats or Hate speech, or counter threats over the 30days Ultimatum of Arewa Youths under the aegis of” Northern Youths Coalition Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth council worldwide will facilitate a peaceful dialogue with the leadership of the Coalition to ensure that the ultimatum will be resolved peacefully like the previous threat of quit notice issued against Igbos in 2017 by the same group.
“ We will not fail to explore all peaceful avenues for the protection of lives and properties of Igbos living in the 19 Northern States, but warn that our peaceful approach should not be understood as weakness as there are other options open to us over the recent threat, but we will legitimately pursue peaceful ways to avert this imminent mayhem and genocidal ethnic cleansing against Igbos in the North.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth council worldwide congratulate the President Muhammadu Buhari for the suspension of the Ruga settlement program and the careful approach of the National Economic Council under Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and the Sub Committee led by Governor David Umahi over the clarification of the controversial Ruga settlement program, and reintroduction of “National livestock Transformation Programme “which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs, as a voluntary programme for any willing State to participate.
“We urge the Coalition of Northern groups to direct Northern Governors to opt for the second option of ranching through this peaceful National livestock Transformation Programme rather than Ruga settlement which was clearly rejected by the Southern Nigeria especially the South East /South-South Governors and the people.
“OYC wishes to remind the leadership of Coalition of Northern groups of the grave implications of this recent threat, reminding them that “Hate speech ban” is still effective and in the interest of National peace and security to withdraw the 30days ultimatum immediately since there is another option for Fulani herdsmen to have ranching in North through NLTP, except they are out to use the guise ofRuga settlement program for land grabbing and neferious activities in the South East or anywhere in Southern Nigeria, which was clearly rejected and resisted by Southern Nigerians
“We warn that the Youths of South East and South-South are not ready to stomach the threat of genocidal ethnic cleansing against the Igbos in the North, we call on Ndigbo to be vigilant and defend themselves in the North, and relocate immediately their business headquarters to the East,
“If the Northern Governors, Northern Elders forum, Arewa Consultative Forum , Northern Traditional Rulers led by Sultan of Sokoto and Religious leaders are not behind the recent threat, they should condemn it vehemently and call the warring Youths to other, but if they fail, we will hold them responsible for any loss of life or properties resulting from the intended ethnic cleansing by the Coalition of Northern groups”, the statement said.