The apex umbrella for the Igbo populace, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the North could not drive Ndigbo out of Nigeria.
Reacting to the letter written to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo by the coalition of Northern groups, the apex south eastern group says that the Ohanaeze insisted on the restructuring of the country and not secession, The PUNCH reports.
Speaking through the Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the group stressed that the northern youths lacked the mandate to speak for the Igbo, but were rather trying to start another war in the country.
Ibegbu stated, “In the first place, I want to thank the Acting President for the role he is playing in this situation. He is a peacemaker and he has shown himself to be conversant with the dynamics of leadership.
“The Acting President has told all the parties to allow peace to reign. Igbo are peaceful people; so, we will abide by what he said.
“We are conscious of what the Acting President told the Igbo leaders and the traditional rulers when they visited the Presidential Villa. Therefore, we will not be drawn into taking issue with these northern youths; they are people who have shown themselves to be lawbreakers and warmongers.
“The activities of these Arewa youths have shown that there is more than meets the eye to the ultimatum they gave the Igbo in the North. They simply want to drag the country into another war.”
Ibegbu stressed that agitation for separation was not peculiar to the Igbo, as claimed by the Arewa youths.
The Ohanaeze spokesman observed that the agitation in the South-East was largely a protest against marginalisation, rather than a wish for secession.
Ibegbu added, “That some individuals are pushing for self-determination in the South-East does not mean that the Igbo want to secede. The real situation is a protest against marginalisation.
“We should not forget that even now, as we speak, the Boko Haram sect is still canvassing Islamic rule in the North, using violent means – that is a form of agitation for secession.
“So why should the northern youths ignore the log in their eyes to bother about the speck in another person’s eyes; why the venom against the Igbo?”