Following a 72-hour ultimatum issued by the Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA) for people of Yoruba ethnic group to leave the 19 northern states and the FCT, the northern leaders on Friday cautioned its youths against taking laws into their hands.
Yoruba leaders had same Friday, called on the northern leaders to caution their youths, warning them of the grave consequences of such ultimatum.
Meanwhile, the ultimatum by the AYA was in response to a declaration on Wednesday by Yoruba activist, Sunday Igboho, who advised Yoruba indigenes that were residing in the northern part of the country to return home.
However, Igboho, during his declaration didn’t ask the northerners living in the South-West to leave the region but merely stated that the Yoruba no longer wished to be part of Nigeria given grave injustice done to the region by the Nigerian government.
Responding to Igboho’s declaration, the Arewa Youth Assembly in a statement signed on Friday, by its spokesman, Mohammed Salihu Danlami, said Igboho should, in the next 72 hours, evacuate his people from the North or they would help him to do so.
But the apex northern leaders’ forum, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), on Friday cautioned the northern youths not to resort to self-help, saying Igboho and those sponsoring him cannot compel the North to encourage anarchy in the country.
National Publicity Secretary, ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, said: “We have warned our youths not to take the laws into their own hands. We have said it before that no Nigerian has powers to deport another Nigerian from one part of Nigeria to another.
“There is nowhere in our Constitution that deportation is allowed. The majority of Northerners are law-abiding citizens and will not be provoked by Sunday Igboho and those who are promoting him behind the screen to join them in creating a situation of anarchy and lawlessness in Nigeria.
“If they want to break Nigeria as they have now sworn to do, that is not the business of Arewa Consultative Forum”.
However, on his part, the National President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Alhaji Yerima Shettima, warned Igboho to be guided in his utterances.
He said, “We in the north are not known for talking and we are not talkative but good in action. We are calling on Yoruba people, particularly the elders to call him to order; let him go back to his local business and remain there.
“Our concern now is how we can move this country forward, but we are watching and our silence should not be taken as foolishness. He should be called to order because his utterances are a clear indication that he does not understand what it takes; he does not understand the game of struggle and what it takes to protect and defend people. He should learn from his seniors; they don’t talk anyhow or talk too much”.
Meanwhile, the new leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo, said the continued refusal by President Muhammadu Buhari not to restructure Nigeria may lead to the disintegration of Nigeria, noting that restructuring will douse calls for such ultimatum.
He said: “That is the pressure we are having from our youths and that is why we have been pressing on Buhari to do restructuring now. All the youths in the country are tired of this administration. All we have been saying is that if we do restructuring, there is no need to pull out of Nigeria.
“You often hear me say that no restructuring, no Nigeria and as they are talking of elections in 2023, I have told them that they are just wasting their time. There is no country, let us have a constitution that we can all agree on and that is where I stand. I don’t want the country to break but if you continue to rule me under this constitution, to thy tents oh Israel.”