4 January 2012

Nigeria: CAN Dismisses Boko Haram's Ultimatum

Secretary General of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern states and the FCT, Mr. Saidu Dogo, Tuesday dismissed the three-day ultimatum reportedly issued to Southern Christians to leave the north by Boko Haram, declaring that no group or section had the power to order Nigerians to leave a particular part of the country.

Also, former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Igbo groups led by the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) also urged Igbos living in the northern part of the country to remain calm and not be disturbed by the threat which they described as "empty".

Dogo while reacting to the threat in an interview with THISDAY in Kaduna, said: "This country belongs to all of us and nobody or group has the right or power to ask Nigerians leaving in a particular part of the country to leave. We know as a nation we have our problems but nobody has the right to order people to leave any part of the country under whatever guise.

"Let us also be wary that in this age of technology, some mischievous people may also be hiding under the cover of Boko Haram to instil fear and make people panic. I urged people not to panic because it is an empty threat. Those who want to cause problems in this country will never succeed because we all need each other to make progress as a nation. I think that those behind the threat don't know the geography of the north very well. Which north are they even talking about? Dogo asked.

Agbakoba, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, called for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to proffer solutions to the nation's problems.

"I think it is time for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) so that we can ask questions," he said.

Rising from their meetings in Enugu, the Igbo groups warned that no group or organisation in the country has monopoly for violence.

On its part, the MASSOB leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, said his group was not bothered by the threat of the Boko Haram, stressing however that it would continue to monitor developments with the hope of advising the people at the right time.

"I urge Ndigbo wherever they are to stay calm and be vigilant. We are aware of the present challenges confronting our people now that our leader Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu has passed on. However we are watching events as they unfold and will inform Ndigbo at the appropriate time," he said.

Briefing journalists shortly after the meeting, the convener and President, Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) Elliot Uko, said in as much as Ndigbo was committed to the peace and progress of the country, it would not tolerate development that could jeopardise the security of her people.

"It is merely a show by an aggrieved few over the state of emergency imposed on their area. But let them know that we are on the monitor of these events and will not compromise on the security of our people" he said.

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