Southern Leaders Forum has handed Acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, an ultimatum, to inform the zone of the Federal Government’s plans to protect Southerners residing in the North, against the backdrop of an October 1, 2017 deadline from Arewa youths to Igbo, to leave the region.
Besides, southern leaders have also given Osinbajo another ultimatum, which much be achieved by December 2017: implement the 2014 National Conference report and also, allow the 36 states assume their status as federating units, as guaranteed by the country’s Constitution.
Rising from a meeting in Lagos, yesterday evening, the forum insisted it will not tolerate any threat or attack against any part of the South. They reiterated that any attack against any part of the zone is an attack against the entire region.
Forum President and former director general of the Department of State Security (DSS), Albert Horsfall, said southern leaders will not tolerate any threat and would ensure that any attack against the South will get the response it deserves.
Horsfall said Southern leaders are unhappy that up till date, no action has been taken by the Federal Government.
He said Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, must inform Nigerians of federal government actions and plans, to protect southerners living in the North.
“We are disconcerted that, up till now, no action appears to have been taken regarding the October 1 threat issued by Arewa youths. We, therefore, demand that Osinbajo inform Nigerians of what actions and steps has been taken to protect the Igbo and all Southerners who live in the North against the the threats of the Arewa youths. We reiterate that any threat or action against anyone from the South will be treated as a threat or action against all Southerners.”
The forum also stated that the federal government, should, as a matter of urgency, implement recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
“We note with gratitude, a statement by the acting president, that the issue of restructuring will be addressed soon and we urge him to follow his statement with immediate action by acting on the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. The issue of restructuring and change was an integral part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) manifesto.
“We want the 16-point agenda that was submitted by the South-South delegation, submitted in their meeting with the acting president to be acted upon immediately, to avoid youth restiveness and sustain the current peace.
“There is an urgent need to restructure Nigeria to achieve true federalism. We will not be distracted by individuals who claim ignorance of what restructuring means or those who try to imply a non-existent sinister plan to break up Nigeria because of the demand for restructuring. We affirm our commitment to the unity of Nigeria and also, insist on the urgent need to restructure Nigeria, to achieve true federalism.
“For the avoidance of doubt, restructuring is a return to the constitution of independence which our founding fathers bequeathed to us. That constitution allowed the states autonomy in the management of their affairs.
“The states will be federating units, with its own with rights to have their own constitution. The states will have control of its resources and make agreed contributions to the federal government for general services.
“We will identify those areas of our Constitution which should allow for effective administration in the states. It is important that action be commenced immediately, to ensure that the entire changes are implemented by December 2017.”
The forum also noted what it describes as the menace of armed Fulani herdsmen and proliferation of Fulani armed settlements in the South.
“We want to alert the international community and we also want the FG to take appropriate actions against them. We want the FG to make an official statement on this and take appropriate action to put them in check.”
Those in attendance were former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Attah, Afenifere chieftains, Ayo Adebanjo, Femi Okurounmu, former managing director of Niger Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe, Tony Uranta, President of Ijaw Monitoring Group, Joseph Eva, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw and Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin.