The controversial leader of the coalition of Arewa Youths Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima has called for more stringent measures against the leader and members of the proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Yerima who blamed the notoriety of IPOB for the quit notice earlier served the Igbo residing in the North, insisted that the prescription of IPOB by the Federal Government was not enough to serve as a deterrent to other groups threatening the peace and unity of the country.
“The Government should take more decisive action against Kanu and his dissident group to discourage any group from taking laws into their hands”.
He explained that the action of the Arewa Forum was largely misunderstood by majority of Nigerians who thought it was a plot to unleash mayhem on the Igbo in the North, adding that it was a retaliation to the continued insult and denigration of the North and other parts of Nigeria by the IPOB leader.
According to Yerima who was in Owerri for the 6th Memorial of Odimegwu Ojukwu’s death, “we are not against any group agitating for self-determination but it should be in line with the provisions of the constitution of the country. You cannot run a parallel country within a country.”
“We have been working with the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and we have been going on well without friction until two years ago when Kanu came out with IPOB and started insulting everybody and referring to the Northerners as animals, that was why we decided to make it easier for him to go because we were thinking that he was speaking on behalf of the Igbo”.
He however said that the Arewa group rescinded the quit notice after the intervention of prominent Northern and Igbo leaders, including former and serving governors.
“We withdrew the quit notice and toured the 19 Northern States calming frayed nerves and no one soul was hurt, despite the fact that IPOB killed some Northerners.
“We are also engaging other groups on how best to come together and build our nation. The issue of marginalization which the separatist groups have hinged their agitations is not restricted to any zone, we in the North are even more marginalized. Go to the remote parts of the North and see poverty but we have continued to believe and work for a one and indivisible Nigeria”.