The federal government has assured all Nigerians of safety and security following the ultimatum given to Igbos by a northern group to leave the region.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, ACYF, a coalition of socio-political groups in northern Nigeria, had on Tuesday issued a three months ultimatum for all Igbos in the 19 northern states to vacate the region.
Responding on Wednesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the threat is not new.
“It is not the first time that different groups will issue such threats,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed, who spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council, which held inside the council Chamber of the Presidential Villa also said the threat is being handled by the relevant agencies of government.
“It is not new, but what I want to assure you is that the security agencies are on top of the situation,” he said.
Also, the Kaduna State Government has assured every resident of the state that nobody can tamper with their freedom to reside where they choose.
In a statement issued in Kaduna on Wednesday, the state government said that the constitutional right of every Nigerian to own property, move freely and to live in peace and harmony is sacrosanct.
Signed by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the statement said that the Kaduna State Government strongly condemns the inciting, hate speech delivered by some self-appointed “northern youths” seeking to target and violate the rights of our citizens of Igbo extraction.
The Kaduna State government said it takes exception to the fact that the “northern youths” did their irresponsible press conference in Kaduna.
“This government has been consistent in taking action to punish hate speech and incitement. People who may feel unhappy about irresponsible comments or actions that have taken place in other states must know that two wrongs cannot make a right, and they cannot use our state to do or say things that threaten the peace,” Mr. Aruwan said, adding that the state government “has therefore ordered the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the signatories to the statement.”
The spokesperson said the Kaduna State government believes in and will uphold the right of every Nigerian to live safely and develop his/her full potentials within its territory.
“Reckless disregard for the rights of other citizens drips through the press statement by these “northern youths” who have chosen to use the discourse around restructuring to promote their own agenda of hate, division and incitement. This sort of opportunists cannot be allowed to distort debate, or turn it into a pretext for a barely-disguised agenda of displacement and dispossession of some citizens.
“We will not tolerate such irresponsible statements and conduct in our state. The statement issued by the “northern youths” violates the laws of Kaduna State. Therefore, the Kaduna State Government has directed that its Ministry of Justice should prepare charges and prosecute the signatories and anyone complicit in arranging this egregious assault on the rights of fellow citizens,” he added.
Mr. Aruwan said, “Preparatory to prosecution, the police have been directed to immediately arrest, interrogate the signatories to the statement and investigate all the circumstances and persons that may be implicated in the matter.
“The Kaduna State Government urges all residents to ignore the threats from the “northern youths”. We are in contact with the leadership of the Igbo community in Kaduna, and we delighted to say that this community, like all our other communities, believes in the strength of the constitutional order to protect all citizens.
“KDSG wishes to encourage all our people to celebrate the diversity with which the Almighty has blessed us, to continue to shun agents of division, and to stand firm in upholding a common humanity. Everyone has a right to live in peace and harmony.”