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ACF To FG: Deal With Merchants Of Hate Speech


Why Arewa Youths Have Not Been Arrested — VON DG
Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called on the Federal Government to be firm and assert its authority against those propagating hate speeches in the country.
It called on the government to ensure that the law takes its full course on those who consider themselves above the law.
The Northern apex body made these calls in a Sallah statement on Sunday signed by Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, its Publicity Secretary.
It would be recalled that a coalition of Northern youth groups had asked Igbos to leave the North by October 1, which had elicited hate speeches.
The group even wrote an open letter to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to allow Biafra Republic so that Igbos will peacefully vacate the North.
“Unfortunately, ACF has observed with concern that the hate messages and actions from the agitators have continued unabated.
“ACF, therefore, urges the Federal Government to be firm and assert its authority, and ensure that the law takes its full course on those who consider themselves above the law”, the apex Northern body noted.
ACF urged Nigerians to devote themselves to prayers for unity, peaceful coexistence and especially to the sick and pray for President Muhammadu Buhari’s quick recovery.
The forum called on Nigerians to embrace peaceful dialogue as the most civilized means to address grievances rather than engage in hate speeches, threats, and intimidation that have unfortunately been trying to “polarise us along tribal, regional and religious divides.”
According to the group, “ACF also wants to use this opportunity to commend the Federal Government for its proactive approach that doused the tension created by the Biafra agitators and the subsequent quit notice issued by the Northern youth group.
“The consultations held with the various groups, leaders and other stakeholders from the North and South East for the purpose of promoting unity and peaceful coexistence was appropriate and timely”, the forum said.
It said the Ramadan period was an opportunity for Muslims all over the world to fast, pray, and devote themselves to the reading and teachings of the Holy Quran, practices and sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammud.
The forum said, “It was also an occasion for Muslims to reaffirm their belief in the oneness of Almighty Allah and the ideals of Islam”.
Why Arewa Youths Have Not Been Arrested
Meanwhile, Osita Okechukwu, Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), has defended the non-arrest of the Arewa youths who issued quit notice to Igbos to leave the 19 states of North.
Okechukwu described the non-arrest of Yerima Shettima and his cohorts “for their arrant, unpatriotic, unconstitutional and provocative quit notice as strategic.”
Citing the case of Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the VON DG cautioned that “arrest and detention wittingly and unwittingly make agitators celebrities.”
Okechukwu spoke against the backdrop of the speech made by Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, during the inauguration of 100-man advisory committee on economic and political affairs, in Enugu at the weekend.
Nwodo had stated, “What remains worrisome is the incapacity of the police to make needful arrests in the situation, pointing to double standards from our security forces.”
But at Akpakwume Nze, Enugu State, on Sunday, Okechukwu disagreed with Nwodo that the security agencies were playing double standards by not making arrests over the quit notice.
He recalled that it was the arrest and long detention of “unknown” Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that made him a celebrity, saying his detention gave rise to the disgusting and sordid situation in the country today.
“Methinks the non-arrest of Yerima Shettima and cohorts of the Arewa youths for their arrant, unpatriotic, unconstitutional and provocative quit notice is strategic; strategic in the sense that more than any other factor was the arrest and long detention of harmless but as well provocative Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which led to this sordid scenario. Detention made Kanu with no fixed address became an instant celebrity. Had Kanu not been arrested his agitation could have fizzled out unnoticed,” the VON DG said.
Asked whether he consulted the Inspector General of the Police before coming to his conclusion, Okechukwu quipped, “I didn’t consult the Inspector General of the Police or any security officer for that matter, but common sense. The security chiefs might have reasoned that it is better to allow the storm to boil over, instead of creating another celebrity. As time is the healer of all wounds.
“I am surprised why Chief Nnia Nwodo, our President General, who loves us, the millions of Ndigbo who live in the north more than ourselves did not worry, why Nnamdi Kanu was not rearrested after serial violations of court order. Is it not double standard to allow somebody who flagrantly violates court order to move about freely? If by the same token, Kanu is not rearrested, I bet you that his sponsors will thin down,” he said.
While agreeing that as the President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nwodo should be concerned about the fate of Ndigbo worldwide, Okechukwu said, “I have great and tremendous respect for Chief Nwodo and was part of his campaign against Professor Chinwike Ejike, who incidentally hails from my area.”
The DG, however, advised that in times like this, prominent people like Chief Nwodo should be more reticent, pragmatic and strategic.
“We have passed this road before and we know that the fault lines could be strengthened”, he said.
He maintained that Chief Nwodo should not bother himself with unknown Arewa youths or fringe groups in the North, but rather listen more to the likes of Emir of Katsina, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Governors’ Forum and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Okechukwu argued further: “Did you hear him talking of being in solidarity with Afenifere? Is that strategic choice among two contending Yoruba groups? Afenifere without being immodest is no more the Afenifere of yesterday. Does it make strategic sense being in solidarity with Afenifere, instead of the major Yoruba group led by Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who today is quietly and smartly harvesting the silent infrastructural revolution going on under President Muhammadu Buhari?”
On the advisory economic and political affairs committee Ohanaeze step up on Saturday, he said it was a welcome development, and he would like to work with them.
He advised the committee to work with Igbo ministers and other officials especially Geofrey Onyeama of Foreign Ministry; Okechukwu Enelamah of Trade and Investment ; Ben Akabueze of Budget Office and Abraham Nwankwo of Debt Management Office.
“It bothers one that Chief Nwodo seems to be playing politics with our destiny. Yes, we are marginalised, but has Chief Nwodo-led Ohanaeze ever found time to summon some of us to ask what our scant offices can offer Ndigbo? I doubt if he neither met nor replied the profound congratulatory letter President Buhari wrote to him?”
He noted that there are commonalities with the terms of reference of the committee and Buhari’s projects in the South East, which includes completion of the Second Niger Bridge, revamping of Enugu Coal and establishment of University of ICT Campus in Enugu.
Asked if he was opposed to return to regional government and the Jonathan confab, which borders Afenifere and Ohanaeze, Okechukwu said it does not matter whether he opposes or supports the confab.
The truism is that the confab did not recommend regions but the creation of more states.
“If we join hands and demand one additional state based on equity and justice, Nigerians will listen to us, then outright secession”, he said.

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