Men's Roundtable: Beyond the Kaduna Declaration: Beating the drums of war

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Abdul-azzez Suleima, Shettima Yerima and Mohammed Eneji Abdulhamid, the conveners of the Arewa Group

The war drums being beaten by some youth groups in different parts of the country is surely doing more damage to Nigeria than they had envisaged.

When on June 6, 2017, the so-called Northern Youths Coalition, a conglomeration of some groups in the Northern parts of the country made the now infamous Kaduna Declaration where it gave an October 1, 2017, deadline for Igbos living in the north to leave within three months, little did they know they were setting the tempo for the silent war drums to be unleashed.

The misguided declaration which was released in a statement jointly signed by the comprising the Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and Northern Emancipation Network, has more than anything else, ignited a fire they never envisaged.

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The group also asked Northerners living in the South-East and other parts of Nigeria to relocate to their home states, warning that as from October 1 which happens to be Nigeria’s Independence Day, they will commence implementation of visible actions (whatever that means), to prove they are no longer part of a federal union that includes the Igbo.

They said their action was based on the pro-Biafran activities of some Igbo groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by Maxi Nnamdi Kanu and the Ralph Uwazuruike led Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), that has been angling for cessation and independence.

 

The Northern group held that they are no longer comfortable or safe to continue sharing the same country with the 'ungrateful, uncultured Igbos who have exhibited reckless disrespect for the other federating units and stained the integrity of the entire nation with their insatiable criminal obsessions.'

And rather than certain sections holding the whole country to ransom at every stage, each should be allowed to go its own way.

Part of the communique reads:

'Emboldened by the apparent indifference of the Nigerian authorities, the Igbo secessionist tendency is widening in scope and action at every stage, with adverse effects on the law-abiding people of other regions residing in or passing through the East, while the Igbo leaders and elders by their utterances and direct action or inaction appear to support and encourage it.

This is happening irrespective of the undisputable fact that:

i.  The cruel Igbos have done and are doing more damage to our collective nationhood than any other ethnic group; being responsible for the first violent interference with democracy in Nigeria resulting in a prolonged counter-productive chain of military dictatorship.

ii. The Igbos similarly orchestrated the first, and so far, the only civil war in Nigeria that consumed millions of lives and sowed the seed of the current mutual suspicion and distrust.

iii.  The Igbos are also responsible for Nigeria's cultural and moral degeneracy with their notorious involvement in all kinds of crimes, including international networking for drug and human trafficking, violent robberies and kidnappings, high-profile prostitution and advanced financial fraud.

 

iv.  At the peak of the devastating Boko Haram violence in some parts of the North, available records show that the Igbo people have variously been apprehended while attempting to convey catches of dangerous arms and ammunition to the troubled regions.

v.  There is today sufficient reasons to suspect that some Igbos masquerade as Fulani herdsmen to commit violent atrocities across the country in order to cause and spread ethnic disaffection.

vi.  It is also on record that since the inception of the current democratic dispensation, the Igbos have shown and maintained open contempt and resentment for the collective decision expressed by a majority of Nigerians at various stages via generally acceptable democratic processes.'

The obnoxious quit notice given to the Igbos by the self-serving group has continued to polarize the nation with certain Northern elders like Prof. Ango Abdullahi giving the youths his support but they have beaten the war of drums which is capable of consuming the nation if care is not taken as it has set a chain reaction where other groups across the country with each one of them remembering that they also need self-determination.

Shortly after they made the declaration, a new group called the Region of Niger Delta (RONDEL), also came out with a communique declaring self-determination, which was quickly followed by some groups in the Middle Belt states declaring their own independence.

Next to follow were youth groups in the South West which also declared its own O'odua Republic.

In all of these, the so-called youths do not know that they are playing with fire, neither do they not know they are beating the drums of war which will do no one any good.

Our youths are clearly acting out the fable of a monkey using the paw of a cat to rake roasted chestnuts out of the burning coals.

One wonders whether they have sat back and thought out their actions as they allow themselves to be used by politicians to set us on a division path. Everything in Nigeria is politicized and such statements are definitely going to be used by the politicians who only see what they stand to gain in a divided country.

 

They politicians play each one of us using religion, ethnic and tribal sentiments and unfortunately, we all fall for their tricks without sitting back and thinking twice. We need to ask them what they stand to gain by pitting us against one another. We need to ask them what they stand to gain by these divisive tendencies they bring into our midst.

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These war mongers have refused to learn from history that there is no use in setting the country on fire no matter what their grievances may be. They need to take a look anytime there is a football match involving any national team, how everyone rally around the team and temporarily forget their division and get behind the teams as one Nigeria.

The war drum they are beating is doing no one any good and even if any group think they are better off on their own, it does not call for war or a fight.



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