Youth leaders of the 19 northern, states under the aegis of Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), yesterday, condemned the quit notice by a coalition of northern youths to citizens of Igbo extraction living in the northern part of Nigeria.
The statement was signed by Mr. Steve Ogebe, Secretary, OMPALAN National Youth Affairs Committee & Leader, 19 Northern youths of oil & solid mineral producing areas of Nigeria.
He said, “It is to be noted that Nigerians have built solid bridges of peace across ethnic and religious divides over the years — cementing age-long fissures that were generated by ethnic and religious bigotry. Nigeria is far from 1966 – making the success of ethnic war in 2017 very remote.
“This means that an Igbo man will protect a northerner if threatened in the east and vice-versa. Mistakes have been made in the past by our political leaders and we cannot continue to live in the past as a progressive nation. Let us throw the bitter past into the trash can of history and forge ahead into the future as a people with a common destiny impelled by the rule of law.”
Ogebe called on all Nigerians to unite across political cum ideological divides in order to build the desired momentum to defend the country’s hard-earned democracy from the common enemies of progress who are working hard to control the levers of power for purely egocentric goals.
He noted that it is the constitutionally guaranteed inalienable right of every citizen of Nigeria to live and work in any part of the country without any form of molestation or threat.
According to him, the orchestrated action by the so-called coalition of northern youths can provoke a dangerous domino effect across the length and breadth of sovereign Nigeria with the concomitant effect of plunging the country into an irreversible trauma if not confronted head-on with the seriousness it deserves.
Ogebe cautioned aggrieved ethnic nationalities in Nigeria to exercise maximum restraint and avoid unguided statements in order to sustain the polity.
“The international community must not remain mute and bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich pretending that all is well while our shared institutional values are been threatened by religious bigots who metamorphose into terrorists at will and equally threaten their institutions. The whole civilized world must present a common front against any threats to enshrined democratic values,” he said.