Igbos residing in Northern Nigeria have been asked to stay without fear of attack in the region by the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum who had earlier issued an October 1 quit notice to them.
Although the notice was withdrawn last week, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had urged the Igbos in the region to leave saying the northerners cannot be trusted.
However, Yerima Shettima, Arewa youth leader, responding to the allegation has urged the Igbos to “ignore IPOB” assuring them of their safety.
“There is no need for them (Igbo) to go anywhere. They can ignore IPOB; they are not even popular,” Shettima told Punch.
“We have a culture; we have a background and when we say something we stand by it. We are not like IPOB that talks from both sides of the mouth.
“Before we arrived at our decision, we consulted widely. Our people are not violent. We have leaders and when they speak, we obey them. It is part of our culture.”
Shettima however, stated that the Arewa youth groups were still hell bent on pushing for a referendum for the Igbos.
“Our focus is to unify the country and for the nation to remain one. It is left for the political elite and the traditional rulers to get them to embrace peace. For us, we have demonstrated our patriotism to the country,” he said.
“But we still insist on the call for a referendum for the Igbo to leave the country; we are working on it. We want a referendum to be enshrined in the constitution.”