Don’t take our calm approach for weakness – Igbo youths warn Northern groups over Ruga ultimatum

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The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths Council (OYC) in South East has warned its Northern counterparts not to describe their peaceful approach to national issues to mean weakness.

The umbrella body of Igbo youths in the geo-political zone stated this while reacting to the 30-day ultimatum of their counterparts in the Northern region.

The Northern youths had on Wednesday threatened to ensure southerners residing in their domain were made to pay for the rejection of Rural Grazing Areas (RUGA) in the South.

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the implementation of Ruga settlements across the nation as a permanent solution to herders and farmers clashes. The move was interpreted as a land grabbing mission for herdsmen by critics of the administration.

Majority of state governors that rejected the initiative in their domain are from the South and this has earned them a 30-day ultimatum from Northern Youths who vowed to tow their own preferred of action at the expiration of the duration.

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Responding, Ohanaeze youths warned that their peaceful approach to national issues should not be interpreted as weakness on its part.

“We are fully aware that this recent threat is targeted only on the lives and properties of peaceful Nigerians of Igbo extraction doing businesses in 19 Northern States, and this is a declaration of war against the Igbos,” Okechukwu Isiguzoro, President-General of the group said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Isiguzoro said though the Igbo youths would not fail to explore all peaceful avenues for the protection of lives and properties of Igbos living in the 19 Northern States, “our peaceful approach should not be understood as weakness as there are other options open to us over the recent threat.

“We urge the Coalition of Northern groups to direct Northern Governors to opt for the second option of ranching through this peaceful National livestock Transformation Programme rather than Ruga settlement, which was clearly rejected by the Southern Nigeria, especially the South East /South-South Governors and the people.

“OYC wishes to remind the leadership of the coalition of Northern groups of the grave implications of this recent threat. In the interest of national peace and security, they should withdraw the 30-day ultimatum, immediately,” he added.

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