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Quit notice: Northern group leaders evade arrest, go underground

By Andrew Agbese on 18/06/2017

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•Northern youth at the press conference where they issued the Igbo quit notice.
•Northern youth at the press conference where they issued the Igbo quit notice.

Facts have emerged as to why leaders of the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups that issued the notice to all Igbo resident in the north to quit have not been arrested.

Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, had condemned the notice and ordered the arrest of those behind it a day after.

Leaders of some northern youth groups had issued an ultimatum to all Igbos resident in the north to leave shortly after members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) organised a sit-at-home.

Leaders of the coalition who signed the press statement are; Nastura Ashir Sharif, Arewa Citizens Action For Change; Amb. ShettimaYerima, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum; Aminu Adam, Arewa Youth Development Foundation: Alfred Solomon, Arewa Students Forum; Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, Northern Emancipation Network; Joshua Viashman, Northern Youth Vanguard, Mohammad A. Mohammad, Northern Youth Stakeholders Forum; Mohammed Tasiu Pantami, North East Assembly and Nathaniel Ajegena  Adigizi, North Central  Peoples Front.

The Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, had in his capacity as chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, also condemned the quit order.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that leaders of the group have since the order for their arrest fled Kaduna, where they held the press conference and gone into hiding.

Spokesman of the group, Abdulazeez Suleiman, confirmed to our correspondent via phone that he and his colleagues ‘went low’ after the order for their arrest, saying ‘that is natural’.

Abdualazeez said it was myopic for anybody to think that they were being protected by some northern political leaders when “it is the same northern establishment that is fighting us”.

Most of the leaders of the group are not based in Kaduna, but only chose the town for their press conference due to its strategic importance to the politics of the North.

A source within the group said they chose Arewa House for the conference because of its importance to the history of the northern region.

Our correspondent observed that immediately the leaders of the groups held the press conference where they asked the Igbo to leave northern Nigeria, most of them travelled outside Kaduna, to far and adjoining cities like Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, where they reside.

A source close to some of the youths said they had taken special precaution to avoid crowded places where they could be easily recognised and picked up.

One of the leaders of the group who remained in Kaduna where he is based is said to have avoided places he used to frequent before the order for his arrest with other members of the group.

Spokesman of the group, Abdulazeez Suleiman, who is well known in political circles, having led a pro-Goodluck Jonathan campaign group in 2015, is said to have cut off from such political gatherings for now.

Another leader of the group, Shettima Yerima, is said to have suspended his activism for now.

Suleiman said, “We are not collaborating with any big politician from the North. We are Nigerians who are fed up with this daily agitation, and that is why the support is overwhelming.”

He said though the order for their arrest was made by Governor El-Rufai, he did not see how that should translate into something concrete “as El-Rufai is a political and not a security agent.

“He is a politician and the security agents must do their investigation to establish if we have done anything wrong before they can arrest us and not just act because one politician said so. No, this is an era of change”.

Our correspondent observed that road blocks have been mounted across Kaduna to arrest the northern groups’ leaders.

A source in the Kaduna Government House, who asked not to be named, said the leaders of the group had not been arrested because most of them were not based in Kaduna and because nobody had come up with any useful information about their whereabouts.

Efforts to get the police speak on the matter were not successful. (Daily Trust on Sunday)


Source News Express

Posted 18/06/2017 09:45:58 AM


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