Leaders of Nigerian youth groups and ethnic nationalities from the Southern and Northern parts of the country have signed an accord to work for a united, peaceful and prosperous country.
After meeting in Abuja on Thursday, the groups emphasised the need for Nigeria to remain one where the rights of all citizens to live peacefully in any part of the country are guaranteed.
They issued a communiqué which was signed by N. A. Shariff of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Mazi Isiguzoro of the Ohanaeze Youths Council Worldwide (OYC), Barr. Oweilaemi Peretubo of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Prince Dapo Adepoju of the Yoruba Youth Congress (YYC), Comrade Israel Uwejeyan of the Niger Delta Youth Congress (NDYC), Mike Msuaan of the Tiv Youth, Imoh Stephen Okoko of the Ibibio Youth Council (IYC).
Others are Yerima Shettima for the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Ogbebor Emmanuel of the Urhobo Youth Forum (UYF), and Idoko Ben of the Olohi-wole Idoma National Advancement Project.
In a joint statement titled: “Towards Social Cohesion and National Unity,” the youths declared that all Nigerians have the moral duty to be their brothers’ keepers in any part of Nigeria.
They reiterated the reassurance by Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) to the Igbo and other ethnic groups resident in the North of their safety and the guarantee that they reserved the right to pursue their legitimate businesses without fear.
The Ohanaeze Youth Council Worldwide also asked all Northerners and members of other ethnic nationalities resident in the South East to go about their businesses without any fear, adding that their safety is guaranteed.
The groups said that they were dedicated to a cause that will bring Nigerians together to discuss the framework for the future in which every citizen will live in peace where his or her rights are protected, opportunities enhanced and the future secured. This is will discussed at a summit to be convened in October 2017.
Ohanaeze takes unity campaign to Sokoto
And for Nigeria to remain united, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. John Nnia Nwodo, has urged all Nigerians to promote virtues of peace and tolerance for one another, so as to promote the unity of the country.
Speaking when he led members of the pan-Igbo body on a courtesy visit to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal in Sokoto, Nwodo said that Nigeria should never be allowed to undergo another civil war.
He said although Nigeria is passing a challenging time, the cohesion that existed over the years was worthy of being maintained.
Nwodo said: “Yes, our country is facing a trying period, but we should not, under any circumstance, allow the experience of another civil war to happen again. We should not allow personal emotions to undermine our national unity.”
Nwodo, who said the visit was at the instance of the Southeast governors, assured of their cooperation for peaceful coexistence among the ethnic nationalities in the country.
He commended the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who “in the face of the ongoing ethnic tensions, portrayed himself as a father by stating recently that ‘whoever wants to attack the Igbo, should attack him, first.
“In the same vein, I came with the assurances of South East governors that any Igbo who wants to kill a northerner, should first kill them,” Nwodo said.
In his remarks, Governor Tambuwal said that Nigeria is blessed with many ethnic groups and languages, which he said, should be used to promote unity, not division.
“The recent tension especially in the South East was caused by young men who do not understand any other way of channelling their grievances other than the way they have chosen.
“I assure you that we are at peace with each other here in Sokoto and we shall continue to be,” Tambuwal said.