Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the socio-cultural group in the South-East region, has said the people of the region is ready to defend themselves from whatever threats from the North.
The umbrella body of the Igbo predominantly area stated this in response to threats from Northern youths to unleash mayhem on Igbos residing in the North over the rejection of Rural Grazing Areas (RUGA) in the region.
Although said to be optional, for interested states, the federal government has suspended the implementation of the project largely due to rejection by southern states.
The Northern youths who are known to always tow the violence part had threatened to tow their preferred line of action if state governors who rejected the Ruga implementation in their states fail to retrace their steps and issued 30-day ultimatum to that effect.
Reacting, Nnia Nwodo, President-General of Ohanaeze, who described RUGA policy as an Islamization and a Fulanisation policy called on the people of the region to get ready to defend themselves.
“My attention has been drawn to a broadcast by Abdul Azeez Suleman, speaking for a coalition of Northern Groups in which he had the audacity to give the Federal Government an ultimatum of 30 days to rescind its decision on the suspension of its RUGA settlements policy,” Mr Nwodo said in a statement Thursday.
“Abdul went further to threaten the expulsion of Southerners resident in the North at the expiration of his dateline if the Federal Government does not rescind its suspension decision.
“This irresponsible, unlawful and provocative outburst reminds me of the quit notice from Northern Youths two years ago.
“The threat to evict law abiding Nigerians from their places of abode in Northern Nigeria is treasonable and obviously like the gun trotting herdsmen will go unnoticed by our Federally controlled law enforcement agencies.
“Let Abdul, the Federal Government and others like them take notice that Ohanaeze has no objections to all Igbos in the North returning home so long as all Northerners in the East leave the East and we dismantle the Federal structure imposed on us by the military and return to Autonomous Federating Units.
“The nepotism exhibited by this Federal Government, her duplicity of standards in law enforcement, her undisguised Fulanisation policy is repugnant to rule of law and good governance. We will no longer tolerate any further threats from these Northern war mongers.
“After all, who should be the aggrieved under the circumstance? The millipede that has been marched is whimpering, but the person that marched it is complaining that his foot has been soiled. The South that is bearing the yoke of oppression from cattle herders are trying their best to coexist with their aggressors, yet it is the aggressors that are threatening further mayhem. This cannot be.
“I call on all Igbos to be ready to defend themselves. Enough of these threats!” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the youth wing of the socio-cultural group has warned the ultimatum issuers that its peaceful approach to national issues should not be taken as weakness.