A Coalition of Northern groups, tagged ‘Kaduna Declaration’, has dared Governor Nasir El-Rufai, as it insisted that the Nigerian Government should as a matter of urgency, initiate the process for a peaceful referendum to allow the Igbos go their way.
The groups had on Tuesday came up with a position paper presented as the Kaduna Declaration, calling on the authorities and the international community to step in to formalize the actualization of the dream of a people who have said they are Biafrans not Nigerians.
In a swift reply, El-Rufai ordered the immediate arrest of all signatories to the statement, even as he assured residents in the state of “their freedom to reside where they choose”.
However, according to a joint press statement issued on Thursday through its spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and made available to newsmen in Kaduna, the coalition said:
“We are today compelled to make this further statement to clarify our stands after our meeting to review the fallout of the Tuesday’s declaration. Our groups have arrived that some elements have for reasons best known to them, mischievously distorted the intent of our original script by alluding such words as ‘violence, ‘ ‘threat, ‘ ‘war’ and ‘mass action’ to it.
“We find this mischievous because as cultured Thoroughbred Northerners, we have never anywhere and at anytime, under whatever circumstances, called anybody to violence as a means of conflict resolution.”
“We find this mischievous because as cultured Thoroughbred Northerners, we have never anywhere and at anytime, under whatever circumstances, called anybody to violence as a means of conflict resolution.
“In strict observance of that tradition, we never employed violence as a means of pursuing our interest and at every opportunity, we opt for peaceful engagements and implore people to eschew violence in all its ramifications.
“This informs why, a majority of discerning Nigerians, not necessarily northerners alone, understood and identified with our express call for the Biafrans to be allowed to actualize their long-held secessionist aspiration.
“We wholeheartedly endorse the moves made variously by our leaders to allay those fears and urge people to be peaceful and law-abiding while at the same time resolutely insisting on having the right thing done by allowing the Igbos to have and move to their dream country in accordance with the universal fundamental right to self-determination.
“We restate our determination and commitment to ensuring that the North will never partake in any contrived arrangement that would still have the Biafran Igbo as a component.
“We reiterate our call on Nigerian authorities and recognized international bodies such as the ECOWAS, AU and UN to hasten the initiation of the process for the final actualization of the Biafran nation out of the present federation.”
The groups noted that despite the minor distortions that caused some measure of anxiety, “We make bold to say that the cheerful responses to our position which flowed through the internet and by way of personal telephone and conversations nationally and universally has resonated that peace-loving Nigerians who have been tormented and menaced by the irredentist proclivities of the Igbos are overwhelmingly desirous to put an end to it.
It continued: “As we acknowledge this outpouring of patriotic support across the nation, we implore people, particularly our cultured northerners to remain restraint in the face of any provocation from any quarter and to debate intelligently.
“We assure them that we shall be firm and resolute in honestly and painstakingly pursuing what we all know is a noble and just cause without hurting anyone.
“We have taken time to analyze the reactions that trailed our Declaration, and were nauseated by the comments of some disgruntled northern political power mongers.
“We are particularly disappointed by the treacherous positions assumed by Nasir Ahmed El-rufai and Kashim Shettima who in pursuit of their blind ambition for the vice presidency, chose to side with the secessionist Igbos against the interest of peace-loving Nigerians.
“El-rufai and Shettima are openly known to be waiting in the wings for Mr. President Muhammadu Buhari to die so they can further their plots to seek the presidency.
“It appears that characters like El-Rufai have no limit on how low they can fall in their inordinate desire to achieve their long held dream of power grab at the expense of the peace, well being and stability of our country.
“We would like to assure El-Rufai and his ilks that we shall continue to expose their recalcitrant treachery and opportunistic proclivities.
“We also assure them that the drive for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria in which the Igbos are not partners, will continue unabated.
“Similarly, we are irked by the hordes of lies and misleading innuendos issued by Kashim Shettima, ostensibly on behalf of 19 Northern governors in which he refered to us as faceless and violent.
“By our antecedents and track record, no politician or leader of honorable pedigree and impeccable character will associate us with such fabrications and this goes to prove that Shettima has disconnected from reality as he gets intoxicated by immoral wealth and property acquisition at the expense of people of the state suffering the devastation of Boko Haram.”