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The National President of the AYCF, Yerima Shettima made the remark while backing President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to deal with agitators like Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Sunday Igboho.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that Buhari had issued the threat during his speech to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day anniversary.
The President had vowed to go after violent agitators like Kanu and Igboho, who threaten
the cooperate existence of Nigeria.
However, speaking to newsmen on Saturday, Shettima said those whose agitations are endangering the lives of Nigerians should be dealt with in line with Buhari’s directive.
He described Kanu as a blind man who is leading IPOB into a death trap.
Faulting the violent approach of IPOB, Shettima pointed out that the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, go about their agitation peacefully without endangering the lives of Nigerians.
According to Shettima: ‘All of us are victims of the society today in one way or the other, so if, something goes wrong, you don’t have to behave abnormally. When you look at the situation on ground and think the only way out is to become violent at the expense of people’s lives, then such agitation is not worth it.
‘Yes, certain things went wrong and we also, in Northern part of the country have suffered the same problem. In fact, we have even suffered more than where the agitation is coming from.
‘Can the situation today in the Northwest or Northeast be compared to the realities in the Southwest and Southeast? The answer is no. For over two decades now, we have been suffering from one trouble to another. From poverty to marginalization to deprivation and so on. Even at that, we never deemed it necessary to take up arms against the state; so, no matter how you look at it, their approaches are wrong.
‘Don’t we have other groups agitating, like MASSOB? Do you see MASSOB endangering the lives of innocent citizens of the Southeast? The answer is no. Was it not from MASSOB IPOB broke out and is led by that blind man who puts the lives of people in danger? MASSOB goes about their demands which are very genuine by their thinking and feeling.
‘MASSOB has said she really believes that the Southeast is being marginalized and if Nigeria can address some of this injustice meted on them, they are willing to come back and build the nation. However, the IPOB’s approach by this their blind leader who is leading them to death zone is wrong, and two wrongs can not make a right.
‘Looking at this situation, you can’t solve problems with problems. We have faith in the country despite the shortcomings. We believe some days we will turn things around instead of balkanizing the country in the name of agitation. Most of those agitators are young elements who should come together and build a synergy within themselves that would fight against those oppressing them.
‘Anybody found disobeying the law of the land should be dealt with decisively; nobody is above the law. If you balkanize the country, where will you go to? You can’t be an American citizen, you will still remain a Nigerian. If you balkanize here, where will you run to? You are a refugee anywhere you run to.
‘We suffered during the war and we can’t go back there again. If there is a way we can amend what happened in the past to ensure that the war never happened, we would have done that. It has happened and all we need now is to forgive ourselves and move forward. We can’t continue to reflect on that and expect to make progress.
‘Everybody suffered for that, so is that where they want us to return to now that there is arms proliferation? We can’t survive a second war, so Nigerians must learn to stay together. We can agitate without endangering the life of anybody.
‘The statement coming from the president shows he is a leader and people should know that we are not in Banana Republic. I’m not an advocate of the president, neither am I in the government but a victim of the society and I lead a group of people who are already victims.’
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK