Amid the growing agitation for the release of Radio Biafra Executive Director, Nnamdi Kanu, and secession from Nigeria by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement of the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), a group of northern youths has called on the agitators to lay down their arms and allow peace to reign in the country.
Members of IPOB and MASSOB have in the past few weeks held massive protests where they alleged marginalization of the South East and neglect of the geo-political zone by successive governments and demanded for a Biafran State.
The pro-Biafra protesters, who have defied pleas from concerned Nigerians and prominent Igbo leaders to allow for dialogue with the Federal Government, have vowed to sustain their agitations until their demands are met.
But the northern youths, under the aegis of Arewa Triumphant Youth Foundation (ATYF), said they would not be happy to see their brothers and sisters in the east of the country leave the Nigerian union, which they said the nation’s past leaders fought to keep together.
President of ATYF, Ibrahim Yusuf made this known at a press conference, yesterday, to herald the activities lined up for a proposed Arewa Youth Leadership Summit, scheduled for later this month in Kaduna.
According to the group, it was regrettable that major actors in the Biafra violence, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping, and Fulani herdsmen crisis across the country were youths.
He said: “There is no point for our brothers and sisters in the east of the country to agitate to pull out of Nigeria. We are brothers, and we should be able to live together as one big family, nothing should separate us. MASSOB should lay down their arms, and allow us to stay together for the betterment of this great country.
“There is no doubt that 99 percent of these people that are into these various crises are young persons, and this is because they are jobless. To stop them from being violent, government at all levels must provide jobs and enabling environments for the youths to express themselves.
“President Buhari should fulfil his promise to pay N5, 000 to unemployed persons in the country, even though I don’t support the idea of sharing money, because it may cause crisis, and make the people lazy.
“I will rather support the government to give the people nets to catch fish instead of giving them fish to eat. The government should work to rebuild the country of one nation, one vision and one goal.
“Government should realise that as one Nigeria, until it brings everybody together, the country will continue to have problem”.
The ATYF leader noted that since the youths are leaders of tomorrow, they need to be well-equipped to make them the strength of the nation.
“It is a well-known fact that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow, it follows, therefore, that the youth, to a great extent if well-equipped constitute the strength and workforce of a nation.
“In our societies today, majority of youths are faced with issues of ethnic, religious and political crisis, drug abuse, crime, violence, poverty, identity crisis, lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem.
“They are also confronted with a sense of hopelessness, confusion and ambiguity concerning moral issues, shifting economy, education disparity. All these have combined to instil fear in the hearts of many, thereby creating tension in the society.
“It is in response to these problems that our group has come and devised a means of inculcating right values into our youth to protect and teach them a peaceful and tolerant coexistence with one another by means of organising seminars/workshops, vocational activities and mentoring relationship programmes that will transform and raise a new generation of youths in the country”, Yusuf added.