The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has advised the Federal Government to allow the South-East pull out of the country if the support for secession for the region is widespread and have the backings of their leaders.
It said that political leaders in the region seemed to have submitted to violence and terror of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this, yesterday, at a press conference in Abuja after a closed-door meeting of the forum.
Baba-Ahmed said: “The forum has arrived at the difficult conclusion that if support for secession among the Igbo is as widespread as it is being made to look, and Igbo leadership appears to be in support of it, then the country should be advised not to stand in their way.
“It will not be the best choice for the Igbo or Nigerians to leave a country we have all toiled to build and a country we all have responsibility to fix, but it will not help a country already burdened with failures on its knees to fight another war to keep the Igbo in Nigeria.”
Baba-Ahmed expressed disappointment that armed criminals of all types have increased their audacious stranglehold over our lives in all parts of the country, adding that Irredentists are increasingly asserting their influence over in the South East and some part of the country, and in the manner that millions of Nigerians now live: “Rhetoric from political leaders and ethnic champions who speak in threats and demands routinely suggest that the sentiments in support of irredentism are becoming more widespread.”
NEF called for the urgent arrest and prosecution of perpetrators for peace to reign.
His words: “Northern Elders Forum has reviewed events and tendencies which suggest that the country is headed for more crises. Nigerians live in fear of violence today, and in fear of an uncertain future. The capacity of the Nigerian State to secure citizens, protect the country’s territorial integrity and resist violent assaults on our unity is weakening to the levels of making threats that have no impact.
“All Nigerians are paying the price of failure of two sets of leaders. At the national level, the administration appears to have lost the capacity to halt the gradual descent of the country into anarchy. Political leaders in the South East appear to have submitted to violence and terror of IPOB and ESN. Muted voices of millions of Igbo cannot be heard so that fellow Nigerians could understand the degree to which secession by the Igbo represents the popular choice. This nation has had to fight a terrible war to preserve the country.
“The North had paid its dues in that war, as indeed it did in many ways throughout the history of the country. Under our current circumstances, no Nigerian should welcome another war to keep the country together. The North in particular has more than enough challenges, and we recognize that violent secession by any part of Nigeria will compound the problems all Nigerians live with. The Forum has arrived at the difficult conclusion that if support for secession among the Igbo is as widespread as it is being made to look, and Igbo leadership appears to be in support of it, then the country should be advised not stand in its way.”