Ohanaeze Ndigbo, apex socio-political organisation of the Igbo, says northern youths asking the Igbo to leave the north should be treated like Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In an interview, Chuks Ibegbu, its deputy national publicity secretary, said that is “the only way the government can convince Nigerians that there is justice, equity and fair play” in the country.
He said unlike what the northern youths said, Kanu “never” issued a quit notice to the northerners in the south-east.
Ibegbu said the northern youths who gave the order should not only be arrested but “charged with treason”.
“The authorities know that these northern youths are calling for secession,” he said.
“The federal government should arrest them and also charge them with treason. That is what we expect the federal government to do.
“He [Kanu] was only talking about self-determination, which he has the right to aspire to under international laws.
“The question every Nigerian should ask the federal government is, how come you clamped Nnamdi Kanu in detention for calling for self-determination, but you have not arrested these northern youths who are promoting secession?
“About three days after making the threat, despite outrage expressed across the country, they are still holding meetings, issuing more threats. Are the security agencies not seeing the youths holding meetings?
“How come none of them have been arrested? What is giving them the confidence to continue to issue threats?” he asked.
He also said the Igbos won’t be pushed to issue a similar quit notice to the northerners in the south-east, adding that they are “too sophisticated to engage in such behaviour”.
“They [northerners] are welcome and nobody will molest them in the south-east,” he said.
“In fact, we are encouraging the northerners in the south-east to expand their businesses, build factories and prosper as much as possible.”
He however said that contrary to Kanu’s demand for a sovereign state of Biafra, Ohanaeze believes “the Igbo are landlords in Nigeria and cannot leave this country for anybody”.
“Ohanaeze believes more in a restructured Nigeria; a Nigeria that has a level playing field for all sections of the country; a Nigeria that gives each part of the country a sense of belonging.”