Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, has ordered the arrest of some Northern youth leaders for ordering Igbos in the North to leave the region before October 1.
El-Rufai, who described the youth leaders’ action as irresponsible, said his government would not allow Kaduna State to become hotspot for violence.
Those that had been declared wanted over the issue are – Nastura Ashir Sharif (Arewa Citizens Action For Change), Shettima Yerima (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 People’s Front).
However, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called for caution against unguarded statements capable of breaching the peace and unity of the country.
The governor, who spoke through his Media aide, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, at a press conference held at the Kaduna State Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat, said the state government would uphold the right of every Nigerian to live safely and develop his/her full potentials within its territory.
He said, “The Kaduna State government 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.
“Kaduna State government has therefore ordered the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the signatories to the statement.
“The state government condemns in the strongest terms the press statement by some self-appointed northern youths that threatened the safety and property of our citizens of Igbo extraction. Government assures every resident of our state that their constitutional and human rights to live peacefully and own property wherever they choose is sacrosanct. Even 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.
“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.
“Preparatory to prosecution, the police had 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.
“Kaduna State government 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.”