Concerning the existing controversy between the Arewa youth forum and the Igbos residing in the northern part of the country, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has advised the south-east governors and other leaders of the region not to retaliate over the issue.
He said: “I firmly believe that we ought to address these agitations and proclamations urgently and decisively. Burying our heads in the sand and expecting the storm to blow over of their own accord is not an option.
But equally not reasonable is falling for the temptation for tit-for-tat. It has never worked or moved us closer to a solution or resolution.
One thing is clear – violence and war are terrible things. They are easy to start but near impossible to end.
It is also clear that wars sometimes start, not with bullets, but with words. Hateful, incendiary speech, opening floodgates of blood. The tongue, like the pen, is often mightier than the sword – because it is what pushes the sword into action. When we throw words like stones in a marketplace we do not know who or what it will hit.
Knowing this, under no conditions whatsoever should we tolerate or excuse or justify hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind, especially where such is illegal. Let me of course acknowledge that as part of living together in this space called Nigeria, misunderstandings and frustrations are inevitable. Because resources are limited there will always be a striving to get what is perceived as the best seat at the table.
Let there be no doubt whatsoever of the resolve of government to ensure that no one will be allowed to get away with making speeches that can cause division or violence. We will take very seriously any attempts to cause violence or to disrupt the peace of Nigeria. And we will not tolerate such.”
The acting President gave the advice on Wednesday, in a meeting held at the presidential villa, Abuja.
A report has it that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in a statement, said the October 1, 2017, deadline given by the Arewa coalition for the Igbo to vacate northern states was a justification for its demand for the Ndigbo freedom from Nigeria and its call for a referendum to decide the fate of the ethnic nationalities.
Those in attendance of the meeting includes; Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, Enugu state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Ebonyi state Governor, David Umahi, Abia state Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu Anambra state Governor, Willy Obiano, Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, Chief of staff to the president Abba Kyari, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, NSA, chief of defence staff, service chiefs, Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, former Senate President Ken Namani, Senator Eyinaya Abaribe, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Catholic Awka Bishop Okoye, Igwebike Onah Catholic arch-bishop of Nssuka, Senator Joy Emordi, Prof. Viola Nwuleri with other ministers.