The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has told the international community to blame Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), if there is an outbreak of violence in the country. The coalition also accused Igbo religious and political leaders of issuing half-hearted condemnations of the activities IPOB, the reason for which it has made fresh formal complaints about the IPOB leader’s conduct to international bodies.
CNG’s position was contained in a statement issued after a recent meeting in Kano to review the progress of the Kaduna Declaration it made in June. Signed by Mr. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the coalition’s spokesperson, the statement said despite CNG’s commitment to peace, as shown by its meetings with groups from other parts of the country, Mr. Kanu and IPOB have remained provocative and belligerent by breaching the rights of Nigerians across the South-East geo-political zone.
“His recent action of forcefully grounding movement of people, including those from other regions, by shutting down most South-East cities, notwithstanding the mild and ineffective condemnations by some Igbo political, cultural and religious leaders, has foreclosed the avenues for an expected early peaceful resolution,” CNG said.
This development, it added, further justifies the concern it expressed the Kaduna Declaration and subsequent correspondences with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the international community.
According to the Northern coalition, Mr. Kanu’s unceasing inflammatory statements and actions have compelled it to push further for national and international action that will bring the Biafran issue to a closure once and for all.
The CNG stated that it is opposed to seeing the nation slip into anarchy and has alerted the international community as to where the blame should lie in the event of an outbreak of violence.
Among those whom the CNG said it has alerted through official communication are the President of the United Nations General Assembly, President of the United Nations Security Council for the month of August, President of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).
Others are Chairman of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), President of the African Court of Peoples and Human Rights in Banjul, The Gambia; Chairman of the African Commission on People's and Human Rights, Speaker of the Pan-African Parliament, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Chairman and Executive Board members of the National Commission on Human Rights.
“We are compelled to insist on this line of action based on our belief that the sole motivating factor behind Kanu's action is to bring about a major ethnic and religious crisis across the country. While we faithfully await action from the Federal Government of Nigeria and the international community, we initiated a series of town hall meetings in major cities of the three geo-political zones of the North,” stated CNG.
The group recalled that it met in June, when it examined the impediments to national integration and identified IPOB’s agitation for Biafra as the major factor currently impeding Nigeria's stability. As a result, CNG said it took a position, through the Kaduna Declaration, which contained an ultimatum to Igbo people resident in the North to leave by 1 October. The declaration also contained a similar order to Northerners resident in the South-East to quit by the same date.
The coalition said it followed this up with a petition to the Secretary-General of the United Nations as well as major foreign diplomatic missions.
“We drew attention to the emerging trends in the country that are pregnant with complications and unforeseen consequences. We can proudly say, today, that this objective has to a large extent been achieved as the Biafran issue, which was neglected for 50 years, has now been brought to the front burner of our national discourse,” CNG added.
As a result of its initiatives, CNG explained that it has held meetings with many peace-loving groups, agencies, religious, cultural and traditional leaders with a view to achieving peace and stability.
Among those it met, disclosed CNG, were the Sultan of Sokoto, Northern Governors Forum and the National Peace Committee, which CNG charged with the responsibility of harmonizing previous and future efforts to resolve the crisis.
The first of such meetings was held in Kano on 3 August. At the end of the meeting CNG said it opened a dialogue with Igbo leaders in the 19 Northern states. The dialogue was facilitated by the State Security Services and supported by the Kano State government.
On account of the new the new lines of communication, CNG said it will make definite pronouncements at an international press conference in Abuja on Monday, August 14, 2017.
“We appreciate the concern of the State Security Services, Kano Command, in facilitating peace processes and the government of Kano state for its support and cooperation,” CNG said.