Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has advised the Federal Government to allow the South-East to pull out of the country if the support for secession for the region is widespread and has the backing of their leaders.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Director, Publicity and Advocacy of NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said all Nigerians are paying the price of the failure of two sets of leaders.

He said political leaders in the South-East appear to have submitted to violence and terror of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Baba-Ahmed said muted voices of millions of Igbo cannot be heard so that fellow Nigerians could understand the degree to which secession by the Igbo represents the popular choice.

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“The Forum has arrived at the difficult conclusion that if support for secession among the Igbo is as widespread as it is being made to look, and Igbo leadership appears to be in support of it, then the country should be advised not stand in its way.

“It will not be the best choice for the Igbo or Nigerians to leave a country we have all toiled to build and a country we all have responsibility to fix, but it will not help a country already burdened with failures on its knees to fight another war to keep the Igbo in Nigeria.

“The Forum insists that attacks and killings of Northerners and Federal Government employees and destruction of National assets must stop,” NEF said.

The Northern elders further said those who have been involved in the destruction of national assets must be arrested and prosecuted.

“Until the Igbo decide whether it wants to secede or remain part of Nigeria, the law applies to it, and Federal and state governors who have a responsibility to enforce the law and protect citizens must enforce it.

“We support calls for Northerners who are exposed to harassment and violence to consider relocating to the North.

“Unlike the postures and complacency of the leaders of the South-East, we advise that all Igbo and other ethnic groups from the South residing in the North should be accorded the usual hospitality and security,” the Forum added.

On constitution amendment, NEF said the Forum believes that it is vital to address amendments to the constitution and achieve major changes in the structure and operations of our Federal system now.

“Members of the National Assembly elected by Nigerians have lost touch with the people they are supposed to represent.

“This explains the major distances which exist between the people and the vital national institution which should play a major role mitigating national crises.

“The National Assembly should explore additional avenues for tapping into opinions that can help redress serious limitations to the Federal system before the 2023 elections.

“The North is willing to discuss all matters related to constitutional amendments/ restructuring with the leadership of the country and other groups who see their presence in the future of Nigeria,” NEF noted.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

 

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