Northern governors, represented by the Governor of Borno State and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday in Abuja, met with a group of northern elders and key leaders of the coalition of Arewa groups at a closed-door meeting that lasted four hours.
The meeting focused on the quit notice given to the indigenes of South-East to vacate the northern region by October 1. The meeting which began at about 2.30pm lasted till 6.30pm at the Borno Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.
It was gathered that the meeting was the third to be held by the governor and the group since July when the northern group issued the quit notice.
A statement by Shetima’s spokesman, Mr Isa Gusau, said the meeting was approved by northern governors.
The statement read, “The meeting, which is the third since July, was at the instance of some northern governors who mandated Shettima to engage the coalition with a view to preventing possible outbreak of violence in the event hoodlums take advantage of quit notice to perpetuate violence by the time the ultimatum expires on October 1.”
The meeting was attended by members of the Northern Elders Forum, namely Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Alhaji Sani Daura, Air Marshall Al-Amin Daggash (retd.), AVM Mukhtar Mohammed (retd.), Prof. Yima Sen and Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed who represented the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation.
Leaders of Arewa groups, Yerima Shettima, Ashir Sherrif, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, Aminu Adam, Balarabe Rufai and leaders of other groups in the coalition were also in attendance.
“The meeting ended on positive note while the Arewa coalition is expected to meet members of the AbdulSalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee who invited them for a meeting” Gusau added.
The governor had held three separate meetings with leaders of the Arewa coalition in Kaduna, Abuja and Maiduguri before holding Wednesday’s meeting that included elders.
Gusau quoted the northern groups as saying that their action was in response to insults against the north by agitators for the Republic of Biafra led by Nnamdi Kanu.
He said northern elders also discussed other problems in the region, especially the Boko Haram insurgency, backwardness in education and children roaming the streets.
Meanwhile, a northern group under the auspices of North-East Unity Forum has warned Nnamdi Kanu to stop any further inflammatory statements against the north and its people.
The Chairman of the group, Alkasim Abdulkadir, said at a press conference held at the Late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Tomb, Bauchi that unless Kanu and followers stopped making inflammatory and hate speeches, the forum would be forced to join the Patriotic Coalition of Northern Groups to evict the Igbo on October 1.
“We advise Kanu and his rowdy crowd to desist from making further inflammatory remarks against our people and our leaders.
“If Nnamdi Kanu does not stop his Biafran campaigns and his continuous derogatory statements, we, the North East Unity Forum, will have no choice but to join the Patriotic Coalition of Northern Groups and insist that they (Igbos) leave the north on October 1st,” he stated.