The Coalition of Northern Groups has called on the United Nations (UN) to initiate a referendum that would lead to a resolution of the raging Biafra agitation led by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The coalition also wants the UN to invoke relevant statutes to which Nigeria is a signatory to pronounce IPOB a terror outfit, proscribe the activities of the group and initiate criminal actions against IPOB and its leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
The coalition made its position known in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mr. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman. It recalled that after its Kaduna Declaration, which ordered Igbo people resident in the Northern part of the country to return to their home states by 1 October, it wrote a letter to the Acting President, Mr. Yemi Osinbajo, asking him to bring about a curtailment of the activities of Mr. Kanu and the IPOB.
It commended Mr. Osinbajo for initiating discussions with regional leaders towards ensuring lasting peace and stability. It equally commended the regional leaders, who cooperated with Mr. Osinbajo to engender a conducive environment for meaningful discussions.
Similarly, the coalition said it is has been reassured by previously reticent national leaders and those from the Southern part of the country, who have issued condemnations of IPOB’s activities.
“Prominent among these is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a respected former Nigerian president and by all accounts, a reputable African statesman. The genuine concerns shown by a cross-section of the civil society, organized peace movements and other well-meaning Nigerians across board are also reassuring of our collective desire for peace and national stability,” the coalition stated.
It stated that it remains convinced of the capacity of Mr. Osinbajo to bring Nigeria back from the brink it has been put by the IPOB.
Despite the various efforts to restore peace, said the coalition, Mr. Kanu and the IPOB have intensified their divisive campaign, confirming a plan for secession from Nigeria.
It noted that IPOB’s incendiary campaign peaked when Mr. Kanu publicly announced that he would order former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his entire family to be killed.
The coalition claimed that it was moved by this threat to conclude that Mr. Kanu has breached Nigerian and international laws that prohibit the use of terror to achieve a goal, a reason for which it wrote officially to the UN, urging its intervention in two key areas.
“We urged the UN to invoke the relevant statutes to which Nigeria is a signatory to pronounce Kanu and IPOB as terror outfits, proscribe their activities and initiate criminal actions against them. Since it is becoming all the more obvious - by the way IPOB and Kanu enjoy massive support from the Igbo back home - that the issue of the drive for Biafra nation is still a boiling issue, we urged the UN to intervene by initiating processes for a peaceful referendum as the only option to finally settle the Biafran issue,” reasoned the Northern coalition.
While awaiting the decision of the UN and the Nigerian authorities, the coalition said it remains committed to one Nigeria and is opposed to violence.