The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has reacted to a letter written to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo by a coalition of Northern youths.
In the open letter on Monday, the youths had urged Osinbajo to facilitate the process of allowing Igbo to leave Nigeria.
They said, “We feel that it is risky for the rest of the country, particularly the North, to go on pretending that it is safe for us to co-exist with the Igbo given how deeply they are entrenched in our societies.”
But in its reaction, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the North could not drive Ndigbo out of Nigeria.
Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu said Ohanaeze was interested in restructuring and not secession.
Ibegbu said the northern youths had no right to speak for the Igbos, while stating that their utterances could trigger another war.
Ibegbu stated, “In the first place, I want to thank the Acting President for the role he is playing in this situation. He is a peacemaker and he has shown himself to be conversant with the dynamics of leadership.
“The Acting President has told all the parties to allow peace to reign. Igbo are peaceful people; so, we will abide by what he said.
“We are conscious of what the Acting President told the Igbo leaders and the traditional rulers when they visited the Presidential Villa. Therefore, we will not be drawn into taking issue with these northern youths; they are people who have shown themselves to be lawbreakers and warmongers.
“The activities of these Arewa youths have shown that there is more than meets the eye to the ultimatum they gave the Igbo in the North. They simply want to drag the country into another war.”
Ibegbu stressed that agitation for separation was not peculiar to the Igbo, as claimed by the Arewa youths.
Ibegbu added, “That some individuals are pushing for self-determination in the South-East does not mean that the Igbo want to secede. The real situation is a protest against marginalisation.
“We should not forget that even now, as we speak, the Boko Haram sect is still canvassing Islamic rule in the North, using violent means – that is a form of agitation for secession.
“So why should the northern youths ignore the log in their eyes to bother about the speck in another person’s eyes; why the venom against the Igbo?”