Contrary to the impression given by the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups on Sunday that the quit notice issued on the Igbos to vacate all northern states by October 1st is set to be reversed, the group has denied that no such decision has been taken.
In denying such plans, the group said emphatically that the ultimatum remain sacrosanct.
The coalition, made up of 16 different groups which are signatories to the quit notice, at a meeting with former Abia state governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, in his office in Abuja, the chairman of the group, Shettima Yerima, restated their position on the ultimatum.
Yerima said even though the groups in the coalition have held meetings on the ultimatum, they have not said they have lifted the quit notice.
Addressing a joint press conference with Kalu, he said that the coalition was holding consultations with stakeholders across the country with a view to reviewing its position but admitted that they were meeting to douse tension in the country.
His words : “I do not also remember specifically saying we are going to finally withdraw the quit notice. No, certainly not. But we said, within the week, we are going to make a statement.”
He, however, assured that there was no cause for alarm as he expressed the coalition’s belief in a united Nigeria.
The coalition chairman said they were concerned about the unity of Nigeria and would not allow it to be threatened.
“It is only those who are blind that will say the unity of this country is not being threatened. But you have prominent Nigerians like him (Kalu) who have shown a lot of worries over this situation.
“To us, we strongly believe that Nigeria is for us and Nigeria belongs to everybody and we are all equal in this project.
“We will not in any way accept anybody who wants to undermine the unity of this country” he said.
He noted that since the quit notice was given, things have changed as they have engaged with prominent Nigerians on how to resolve the issue.
Yerima warned that they would not allow anyone to hold Nigeria to ransom but also assured that those who want to live in Nigeria are free to do so while the safety of Biafrans could not be guaranteed.
According to him, “We need to do a lot of work, we are in consultations now. We are likely going on consultations in northern region, we will discuss issues before we finally review our position.
“But you can be rest assured that those who believe in Nigeria should remain where they are and be assured of their safety. But to those who don’t believe in Nigeria, we cannot guarantee their safety.
“So, it’s better if you want to do your Biafra, you stay and do your Biafra over there.
But if you believe in Nigeria, we intend to work side by side with you to build the nation of our dreams.”
In his remark, the former Abia governor said he would soon meet with leader of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and other leaders of the Biafran agitation.
He observed that Nigeria had been cut in pieces by agitations and would require to be sewed together like a beautiful cloth.
Kalu also noted that the Biafran agitation was affecting the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the south east states as they have lost the patronage of neighboring countries who traded with them.
While noting that the diversity of Nigeria was its strength, the former governor stressed that all parts of the country were equally important as they contributed in the same way to its wellbeing.
He however advocated restructuring and admonished the north not to view it as being against its interest.
Kalu explained that restructuring was just to reorganize the way government operated for the maximum benefit of the people.
“Restructuring does not mean breaking the country. There are certain things we have outgrown. We need to address the issue of how our economy should be run so that the masses, the poor people will benefit from efforts of government” he said.
The former governor however assured southerners in the North that they would be safe “and nothing will happen.”
Kalu stressed the need for at least 75 percent of budget allocations to be given to capital expenditures.
He commended the coalition for agreeing to meet with him, saying that the outcome of their discussion would be made public soon