Northern Govs Defend Arewa Youths On Oct 1 Ultimatum

Northern governors, yesterday, decried the harassment of youths from the zone who recently gave the Igbo of South-eastern part of the country October 1, 2017 ultimatum to leave the North.

A coalition of Northern groups had given the eviction order about two months ago and they have since been subjected to condemnations and harassment from several quarters.

But speaking yesterday in Abuja, after a meeting with leaders of the Coalition of Arewa Groups which gave the ultimatum, Chairman, Northern Governors Forum (NGF), Kashim Shettima, stated that further harassment of the youths will do the nation no good.

He noted that the youths have agreed to review their decision even as he stated that they have shown commitment to the national course

Shettima, who is also Borno State governor said the meeting which had begun in Kaduna since Saturday had to be continued Sunday in Abuja because of the importance both sides attached to it.

“I started the conversation with them right from Kaduna yesterday and we continued the discussion today. And Insha Allah, in the fullness of time, it is going to yield bountiful harvest.”

He also assured that they had “formed a common understanding on the challenge confronting us as a people, and the solution to those challenges. I have to commend them for honoring our invitation because political problem needs a political solution.”

He, however, noted that: “Criminalising them, harassing them, intimidating them, will not find solution to our challenges. They hold us in high esteem. They have agreed to review their decision.”

He also assured that “We’ll follow it up to its logical conclusion and Insha Allah, in the next couple of days, we’re going to get good news from them. I don’t want to preempt them by saying this is what is going to happen or on this X, Y, Z, they’re going to meet.

He added that “But definitely, they have shown responsibility, they have shown commitment to the national course. And they have wider plans to promote the course of national unity and integration.

“I think I will not shy away from acknowledging that they have shown a lot of commitment to the course of national unity based on this eye-opening interaction I had with them. It was a very free, open, frank discussion.

“They aired their reservation, I too spoke my reason. I gave them my reason. And believe me, without preempting the outcome of their meeting this week, I believe that Nigerian will heave a sigh of relief.”

He also called on Igbo leaders to take the same initiative with a view to curtailing the excesses of the leader of Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), stressing that it takes two to tango.

Also speaking, the spokesperson of the coalition, Abdulazeez Suleiman, spokesman of the coalition ‎who addressed journalists in the midst of his co-leaders said they held the meeting based on the immense respect and confidence they have in the Northern Governors.

“We have listened to Governor Kashim Shettima. This is the first time we are meeting any leader in government and doing it before the media. It is a major development and we are going to make some consultation with other representatives of different groups in the north afterwhich we will make our resolution known by addressing the media”, he said on behalf of the coalition.

He also described as a major development,,stating that “The chairman of NGF has taken the initiative, he invited us yesterday, we started negotiation . This is the first time we are meeting publicly with any leader on this issue. Thus it’s a major step. We will go on with our consultations. Like he said, we are committed to the unity of Nigeria.”

Spokesman of the coalition, Abdulazeez Suleiman, who addressed journalists in the midst of his co-leaders said the meeting came they met with the Northern Governors out of respect for their leaders.

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