Former Abia governor Orji Kalu assures Igbos they have nothing to fear after meeting Arewa youths

FORMER Abia State governor Dr Orji Uzor Kalu has reassured Igbos living in northern Nigeria that they have nothing to worry about come the October 1 deadline given to them by Arewa youth groups after he held talks with several of them.


Earlier this year, a coalition of Arewa youth groups had given all Igbos living in northern Nigeria an ultimatum to leave the region by October 1 or face forceful eviction. Widely condemned, their threat has heightened tension across the country and in a bid to find a solution to the crisis, Dr Kalu held meeting with several Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) leaders.


Speaking in Abuja yesterday, Dr Kalu said he had a very fruitful discussion with the leadership of the northern groups in order to review their position. Leaders of the coalition who attended the meeting included the chairman of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum Yerima Shetima, Abdulazeez Sulieman, Aminu  Adamu and Balarabe Rufai, who were representing other northern groups.


Dr Kalu said: “The discussion was very fruitful. You know the diversity of this country is the strength of the country and the demography of this country is very essential to what we are doing.


"People who think that any part of the country has nothing to contribute for its development are making a  mistake. Agriculture remains very crucial if this country wants to be serious, as agriculture can make more money for this country  than anything on earth and next to agriculture would be tourism."


He added that Nigeria is  a very big country that transverses between the Sahara desert and Atlantic Ocean and is the only country that can proudly boast of having the two. Dr Kalu stressed that some people are asking God to give them one of the two but Nigeria is fortunate to have both the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean.


“I want to thank Yerima Showtime for agreeing to come out openly for this meeting. We have been talking for a very long time as every day, I call him and we discuss this issue and we are getting to a common ground.


"Arewa youths are making a serious consultations and I want to assure the southerners who are living in the northern part of Nigeria that we will continue to put our efforts, nothing will happen to them. We are going to move forward.”


Alhaji Shettima said they had a very fruitful discussion which will end the current impasse, assuring everyone that the country will remain one Nigeria. He added that ever since this issue of ultimatum came up, Dr Kalu has been engaging them until they agreed to honour his invitation and  speak to the public.


“We will work within the framework to ensure nobody holds the country to ransom. We have embarked on a lot of consultations to review our position on the  ultimatum,” Alhaji Yerima added.



Meanwhile, the leader of Biafra Nation Guard, Innocent Orji, who has been in prison custody since 2009 over an alleged role in the kidnapping and killing of two Chinese working for Innoson Group of Companies, Nnewi,  was yesterday released from Onitsha Prisons. He was set free along with 16 other members of his group.


Mr Orji was released by the Onitsha High Court presided over by Justice Ikeogu on the ground that he has  overstayed 10 years, the number of the years for the offence if he was  found guilty. He has consistently denied kidnapping or killing anybody, alleging  that he was roped into the case because of his insistence on the actualisation of sovereign state of Biafra.