Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has on behalf of northern governors hosted in Maiduguri five key leaders of a coalition of Arewa groups that gave the Igbo October 1 deadline to vacate the North.
The governor had held two separate meetings with the leaders in Kaduna and Abuja in July during which he mounted pressure on the coalition to publicly withdraw the quit notice.
"The governors want the quit notice publicly withdrawn so as not to take chances because the coalition which issued the ultimatum will not be able to control possible unrest after the ultimatum. The governors feel there could be some irate youths who may be planning violence in any part of the North as soon as the ultimatum expires on October 1st. That could lead to reprisals in the south and the country boils," Shettima was quoted to have said after a second meeting in Abuja in July.
The coalition leaders in response, requested a grace of two weeks to meet representatives of different northern groups in their coalition for wide consultations and in order to avoid rebellion by any member of the coalition in the event withdrawal is announced without proper consultation.
It was gathered that the leaders held consultations with other members in Kano last week following which Governor Shettima invited them to Maiduguri to chart a way forward.
Daily Trust gathered that the five prominent leaders of the coalition that went to Maiduguri were Yerima Shettima, Ashir Sherrif, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, Aminu Adam and Balarabe Rufai.
They were said to have arrived Maiduguri on Tuesday and met with Governor Kashim Shettima at night. The source said the leaders left on Wednesday morning after concluding discussions that lasted hours.
When contacted by Daily Trust, spokesman of the coalition, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, now back in Kaduna, confirmed that he and the four other leaders of the coalition were in Maiduguri on the governor's invitation.
He also said Governor Shettima had also invited northern elder statesman, Professor Ango Abdullahi and two northern elders to attend the meeting but Professor Abdullahi who had already travelled to Abuja to catch a flight to Maiduguri, fell ill and couldn't make it. As a result, only the youths met the governor.
Shettima had in Kaduna last month invited the coalition leaders for a closed-door meeting.