Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, on Tuesday received leaders of the Igbos resident in Northern Nigeria under the auspices of Igbo Delegate Assembly and Northern Igbo Chiefs, reassuring them that, they and their property in the region will be protected.
This was also as the Governor assured the Igbo leaders that, no matter how long it will take, Northern youths who signed the quit notice to Igbos would be arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.
El-Rufai, however urged Igbo leaders to prevail on their youths against making statements and agitations capable of dividing Nigeria.
According to El-Rufai, “Kaduna State Government is grateful to the Igbos for coming. Kaduna has suffered so many crises, so we are very sensitive to comments that incite and cause disaffection among the people. Therefore, the Northern youths behind the ultimatum will not only be arrested but will be prosecuted”.
“Kaduna used to be a home for all, but so many crises have divided the state and the metropolis across religious lines. As a government that is why we abolish indigeneship, once you live in Kaduna you are an indigene.
“We have arrested so many people for hate speeches and we are trying them. We are going to arrest the Arewa Youths and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes. Since the press conference was done in Kaduna.
“If they had done it in any other place we would have just condemned them, but since it is in Kaduna we are going to arrest them no matter how long it takes.”
“I have the mandate of the Northern Governors Forum under the chairmanship of Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, to reassure the Igbos in the 19 Northern states and Abuja that their lives and property are safe in the North”, El-Rufai said.
On his part, President General Igbo Delegate Assembly, Chief Chikezie Nwogu, commended the Federal government and Governor El-Rufai for their swift reaction to the quit notice issued by the Northern youths.
Chief Nwogu, who led the Igbo traditional rulers from the 19 Northern States to Kaduna on a courtesy to Governor El-Rufai, said the Igbos are ready to remain in the north.
He said, “we are here in Kaduna to hold a meeting based on what has been happening in the North, especially with the Arewa Youths and the ultimatum given to Igbos and the agitations by IPOB. We are not here to condemn anybody. We thank the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and other Northern governors, traditional rulers and the Federal government for their interventions at the heat of the issue.”
“We want the government to tackle the root cause of agitations and subsequent quit notice by Northern youths and find solution. Let us look at the problem of the Youths when there is complains, also is good to restructure in a way that will benefit everyone.”
“We are not happy with the call for division. We want Nigeria as one so that all of us can benefit. Northern youths have been our brothers. The Igbos are not going anywhere, we will remain with our Arewa brothers in the north,” Nwogu said.