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We'll allow IGBOs to have BIAFRA, we wont seize their properties in the North - Alhaji Yerima Shettima

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The President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum,Yerima Shettima, has said the North will allow Igbos have Biafra if they so wish to go.
He made the disclosure in a chat with Daily Sun. The Quit Notice, issued by a Coalition of Northern Youths , he said, was to help Nnamdi Kanu and Igbos quickly have Biafra.
Speaking further in the interview , he said, they have no intention of unleashing mayhem of their Igbo brothers and sisters living in the region nor confiscate their properties as they secede from Nigeria.
Below are some of the highlights of the interview:
With your quit notice to the Igbo, don’t think you are committing a treasonable offence?
Well, I don’t understand what some people mean when they claimed that we had committed treasonable offence based on our stand. How did they come about that? Look, the issue is simple. IPOB leaders have intensified their campaign of secession from Nigeria and we said, ‘ok, my brother, we will help you realise your agenda. Don’t even waste further time and energy, demanding it. In fact, we will help you put pressure on the international community and the Nigerian government to respect your wish for self-determination, as enshrined in the UN Charter’. Why are we doing all these? Simple! We don’t want it to create chaos in the country. We want peaceful resolution of it. So, how does this become a treasonable offence? Our statements are still in public domain and contain nothing suggesting intent of unleashing violence on our Igbo brothers and sisters.
It’s strange how some mischief makers, who may have not even bothered to read our statements have tried albeit unsuccessfully to turn this matter into Arewa vs Biafra. It’s not true. And those suggesting that we committed treason are simply trying to cause unnecessary friction. I am glad that some Igbo leaders are beginning to realise that Kanu is the architect of the latest problem for Igbo and that if left to continue this way, it may drag Igbo into a needless chaos. We are equally optimistic that Kanu and his group would take a second look at what they are driving the Igbo into and quickly retrace their faltering steps. If IPOB leaders tomorrow reverse their position and declare that they are now ready to remain in Nigeria and join the struggle forrestructuring of the country, we will embrace them.
But the youth groups talked about appropriating Igbo properties in the North. What is your take on that?
We have no intention of confiscating properties owned by Igbo in the North. Nobody is taking over anybody’s property. All we are trying to do is to assist them achieve their quest without dragging the country into violence. 

Let me also restate here that our demand for Nigerian government to let Biafran agitators go and fulfill their self-determination does not apply to all Igbo. Those who opted to remain in the Nigerian federation will not be forcefully evicted from the North. There is nowhere it is mentioned in our statements that all Igbo would be expelled from the North. What we were saying is that ‘those who believe in IPOB campaign for an independent country called Biafra should feel free to peacefully leave the North and go form Biafra’. That’s all.
Why did northern youths did make such controversial demands on Igbo?
Well, what I can tell you is that when certain normal situation suddenly becomes abnormal and all efforts to sort it out through normal process become impossible, one is left with no other choice than to adopt abnormal tactics. I was drawn into this latest issue of Biafra and we decided to take the stand that we communicated to Nigerians through our communiqu├ęs and press conferences because of the way Nnamdi Kanu and his members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are dragging the matter lately. We are not comfortable with the way Kanu and co are taking this issue, which may snowball into violence. So, basically, our position was just an intervention to save this country from plunging into chaos or another civil war.
Everybody who knows me well, will easily tell you that I had special relationship with the leaders of the MASSOB (Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra) led by Chief RalphUwazurike. And that’s because of their non-violent approach to the struggle. My relationship with them is such that I even attend their annual memorial events in Owerri and usually deliver speeches in solidarity with their cause.
Now, Nnamdi Kanu’s version of Biafra struggle, which is different from what Uwazurike-led MASSOB was known for; has put everybody on the edge. Kanu’s rude and arrogant approach to the Biafra struggle is what many of us are uncomfortable with. We believe that the conduct of IPOB leaders, if left unchecked could cause trouble for this country. That is why we came out with a clear proposal that would save the country from trouble.
And our position is simple: We want those who want Biafra to be allowed to go and fulfill their wish. Since Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB is threatening that it is either that they are not allowed to secede from Nigeria or they rain down fire, we don’t want that to happen. We don’t want Biafra struggle to breed violence or civil war. We want peaceful solution to the issue. That’s the simple and summary of our position. But, many took our position on the matter out of context, to mean that we were planning to sack or eject Igbos from the North. That’s not the truth. There is nowhere in that declaration that says we are forcefully going to remove the Igbo from the North. People misinterpreted our position.
Unfortunately, many people will always find ways to misinterpret whatever anybody with genuine intention of this country says or does for the betterment of everybody because of the usual mutual suspicion.  Our position is that since the Igbo led by IPOB say they want to secede from Nigeria, let them be allowed to go without any violence. I believe in self-determination and so, see no reason the Igbo should be stopped from pursuing that dream.
Our position is also geared towards sensitising a lot of Igbo on the dangers of what these guys are preaching. We believe that such could serve to bring Kanu and his followers to their senses and influence the opinions of other Igbo leaders because from what we have learnt, they actually enjoy backing of a lot of them. There is urgent need to compel Kanu to apply caution on this Biafra struggle and to educate most Igbo that IPOB’s violent stance on this matter is not even in their best interest. They need to know that we are not the enemy in this issue. We are simply trying to avert crisis.

We'll allow IGBOs to have BIAFRA, we wont seize their properties in the North - Alhaji Yerima Shettima Reviewed by Blessing Admin on 03:28 Rating: 5

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