The Coalition of Northern Groups has called on the Federal Government to initiate a process allowing the Igbo to vote in a referendum that will allow them to have an independent state of Biafra.
The group, which comprised of the Arewa Citizens Action for Change; Arewa Youth Consultative Forum; Arewa Youth Development Foundation; Arewa Students Forum; and the Northern Emancipation Network, in a statement issued on Thursday, following the backlash that greeted its Tuesday statement in which a three-month ultimatum was issued to Igbo living in the North to leave the region.
“We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria as a matter of urgency to initiate the process for a peaceful referendum to allow the Igbo to go. Let them go. 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 recognised international bodies such as the ECOWAS, AU and the UN to hasten the initiation of the process for the final actualisation of the Biafran nation and with it the excision of the Igbo out of the present federation,” the group said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman.
The group, which had on Tuesday urged Igbo leave the North for “their newfound country in order to allow other people have peace” said its statement was twisted out of context, hence the need for clarification.
“We are today compelled to make this further statement to clarify our stand on some issues that trailed the Kaduna Declaration made on Tuesday. After meeting to review the fallout of that Tuesday’s declaration, our groups have arrived at the following fundamental observations: That some elements have for reasons best known to them, mischievously distorted the intent of our original script by alluding to 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 any time, under whatever circumstances, called anybody to violence as a means of conflict resolution. In strict observance of that tradition we never employ 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,” it said.
The coalition noted that despite the minor distortions that caused some measure of anxiety, many Nigerians were in support of its position, describing them as people “who have been tormented and menaced by the irredentist proclivities of the Igbo.”