Deputy Leader of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Paul Unongo, has berated Arewa Youths who have raised the tension in the country with comments calling the Igbo of the South-East geo-political zone to leave the North by October 1.
The youth groups have since altered their position hinting at a referendum. They have received the backing of an NEF spokesman, Professor Ango Abdulahi; though the Emir of Katsina has vowed to shed the last drop of his blood to ensure the Igbo remain in his domain.
Other groups in the north have backed the Igbo remain in their areas, but others have warned that everyone should be ready for any eventuality so as not to be caught unawares by the northern youths and their sponsors.
However, Unongo said: “I am the Deputy Leader of the Northern Elders Forum and Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule is the leader. So, only the two of us can speak for the forum on sensitive matters like this. Therefore, if Professor Ango Abdullahi is backing those ignorant youths, then he is speaking for himself.
“We cannot support the nonsense those boys said. We fought civil war with our blood to keep Nigeria one. So, any Nigerian can live in any part of the country he feels like. Igbos are welcome in the North, they are welcome in Yoruba land and my own village in Tiv land and they have right to pursue their daily bread and own property.
“We couldn’t have killed three million people to keep Nigeria one and come back and allow these kids (the Northern Youth Groups) to insult our intelligence. We knew why we fought the war, we knew why we killed the people we loved.
“We knew why we made the sacrifice of three million men dead. So, Northern Elders Forum cannot take same position as those young men, if at all they took a position.
“So, if the young men cannot build a nation, they should not destroy the one we put our lives on the line to build for them. We cannot allow young men who did not fight the civil war with us to destroy our country, because Nigeria cannot afford another civil war.”