The leader of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF, Yerima Shettima has disclosed they will start lobbying the National Assembly to include referendum in the ongoing constitution amendments.
Shettima told Punch that the Northern youths would not use force to effect the quit notice it gave to the Igbos.
The AYCF leader, however, expressed confidence that the referendum would not favour the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, and other secessionists.
He said the people of the South east would reject secession.
The referendum, he explained, would enable those who were desirous of leaving the federation to do so without force.
He said, “We are also planning to lobby members of the National Assembly to formally agree to a referendum on Biafra. We want the Igbo to have the opportunity of voting on this issue.
“We are saying Nigeria cannot sign international treaties and not implement them. We want a constitutional amendment for referendum because it is not currently part of our constitution.”
Shettima further said the group will hold consultations across the North on the need for a referendum.
He said, “We are expecting the UN to respond and we would also talk to our lawmakers, but we are in consultation. Nigerians should not panic; we are not a violent organisation.
“We have made it abundantly clear that we would not enforce anything. We are not the government and we do not have the power to enforce anything, but we are using legal means because the issue is about Nnamdi Kanu who is heaping abuses on our people and undermining the government.
“We are saying the government must rise to the occasion and checkmate the guy. We may review our position after our consultations , but we mean no harm, we won ’t harass innocent Nigerians, no. It is not in our power to do so.
“The truth is that Biafra cannot succeed even through a referendum. The truth of the matter is that an average Igbo man does not believe in Biafra but rather some few individuals are clamouring for it just to survive.
“When the referendum holds, it would not favour Biafra. It will not favour Kanu. He cannot speak for strong intellectuals like Chief Emeka Anyaoku and other Igbo intellectuals.”
He alleged that Kanu was being sponsored by disgruntled Nigerians in foreign countries seeking political relevance, adding that such people were being deceived by Kanu.
“Most of those funding the Biafra agitations are Nigerians in foreign lands who have lost relevance. They want to come back home. They want to be more relevant because they are not relevant at all.
“Kanu is using their psyche assuring them that there would be a new Republic of Biafra. We are doing what we are doing to expose them to the international community that these guys are just jokers and that they are not speaking for the Igbo.
“The real Igbo who want to stay in Nigeria are more than 80 per cent and he cannot in any way speak for them . Through a referendum, you would get to know that truly, more Igbo believe in Nigeria,” he said.