Python Dance II: Igbo and Arewa groups jointly sue for peace
In what will come to be known as the Awka Declaration, an Igbo group known as the Ndigbo Peace Movement, IPM, in solidarity with some Arewa groups met on September 20, 2017 in Awka, capital of Anambra state to sue for peace between youths and groups from the Southeast and the north.
In a statement issued after their joint press conference in Awka, the two groups said they had gathered to take a stand for peace and unity as critical ingredients to the survival of Nigeria. “The Igbo Peace Movement in agreement with the Arewa groups hereby unequivocally declares her unwavering commitment to the peace and unity of Nigeria,” the statement read in part.
Those present at the conference was the Cordinator, IPM, Onyekachi Divine Ngobidi and Secretary, Victor Igwilo. For the Arewa groups, it was Alhaji Bello Maigari Suleja (Hausa Community Youth Leader, Anambra state), Alhaji Gidado Sadiq (Chairman Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Southeast zone) and Alhaji Usman Farank (Sarkin Chamba).
While the groups agreed that there were valid reasons for agitations in the country, they said that notwithstanding, “there are laid down lawful procedures for presenting and addressing these concerns,” and joined other Nigerians in criticizing the use of violence as a “means of pressing our demands.”
Acknowledging that Nigeria’s strength and unity was in its diversity, the statement said “the Igbos are peace-loving and for the avoidance of doubt, we want to state that majority of Igbos are not IPOB members.”
Calling on MASSOB, the Igbo Youth Congress, IPOB, the Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Youth Congress, the Concerned Northerners, and every stakeholder to work on making Nigeria great again, the groups in their statement commended the visit of some Northern state governors to the Southeast and the recent proscription of IPOB by the Eastern state governors.
The IPM asked all the Igbo’s living in the nineteen Northern States to “disregard any threat to their safety and to go about their lawful duties without fear of molestation, and for our brothers from the North we also guarantee their safety. Ndigbo are a peace loving people and will continue to be so.”