Governors of the 19 Northern states and traditional rulers in the region have implored Nigerians to stop beating drums of war, saying the North is committed to the unity of the country.
They made the imploration at a meeting of the committee set up by the Northern Governors Forum and the Northern Traditional Rulers Council to aggregate views of Northerners on the restructuring debate in the country.
Chairman of the committee and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who spoke on behalf of the governors and royal fathers, appealed to agitators across the country to be calm.
According to him, even if the country goes to war, people will still have to come back to discuss their issues on the round table.
He said, "There is a process going on in the country for engagement and I am sure the federal government is willing to listen to all these agitations at the end of the day.
"And don't forget that even if you embark on a war at this stage, you don't get result through war. You will always come back to the round table and discuss the issues. So, I want to call on all Nigerians to give peace a chance".
Tambuwal said the committee agreed that a technical committee be set up to work on the previous documents, conferences and position papers and then come back to the committee of the whole house within three weeks.
He continued: "Thereafter, every state will conduct public hearing and we will be meeting on 24th October 2017 by the grace of God to review all that. So, by the end of October, God willing, we shall be able to get back to the larger body of the Northern Governors Forum and Northern traditional leaders and Council.
"All the issues that are going to be brought up by a technical committee that has been constituted by this body will be critically looked into so that we can subject them to a very robust database debate across the North and the outcome of that will be presented to Northern governors and traditional rulers".
In his remarks, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, also called for the unity of the country, just as he stressed that dialogue was the only way of addressing the agitations.
He said, "I believe in the conversation. We have just looked into three main items that stood out clearly. The first is that we have heard our commitment to the unity of the country and we are going to have a regional conversation to express the pressing issue that has been raised.
"The second point is that, we have to look into constitutional reform of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is important because it will help us to answer questions like what exactly is the division of power of state, what exactly should be the role of local government and whether there should be an opportunity for different state to discuss issues around fiscal responsibility, sharing of revenue and all that can be discussed.
"And it is not just sharing of revenue but also whether the entire revenue of the government should be used for payment of salaries, constitution amendment and the issue of national minimum wage".
The meeting also had in attendance Governors Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Umar Tanko Almakura of Nassarawa and deputy governors of Gombe and Plateau states.
Also in attendance were Emirs of Zazzau, Dr Shehu Idris; Etsu Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar; Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba Gyang and Emirs of Fika and Gummi.
APC Seeks Restraints Over Secession Agitations
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for calm and restraint over recent reports of violent clashes linked to members of the indigenous people of biafra (IPOB) in Abia and Rivers State.
The Party also regretted the incident at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, where some journalists were assaulted, even as it commended the Nigerian Army for tendering apology and promising an investigation into the matter.
While the party insisted that security agencies must adhere to globally-stipulated rules of engagements and laws governing their operations, it however said security agencies must be allowed to conduct their constitutional roles of securing lives and property without hindrance and provocation.
In a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, APC also called on citizens, social commentators, media influencers and other stakeholders to be careful and mindful of their utterances on the clashes.
It admonished that stoking tensions by inciting utterances, hate speeches and all other forms of awful propaganda will only push the country to the precipice.
The statement noted: "When we see the devastation of the Country's North East by Boko Haram, the 1966 Nigerian civil war and similar conflicts in other countries, we are reminded of the effects of internal strife.
"We must not yield to elements beating the drumbeats of war. We owe the peace and unity of our dear country to the present and unborn generations. We must speak and stand up for peaceful coexistence on our social media platforms, places of worship and all other public spaces we belong.
"On the backdrop of recent agitations and actions which have the potential of undermining the unity of our country and our relationship across religious and ethnic divides, the Party cautions that we must ensure that such agitations are peaceful and lawful. The Party reiterates its belief that it is in our collective interest to support and remain steadfast to the cause of a united Nigeria".
ACF Calls For Caution In Handling Crisis In south East
Also, the apex Northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has called for caution in the handling of the reported clashes between troops of the Nigerian Army while on Operation Python Dance11 and members of IPOB in the South East.
It noted that with the dusk to dawn curfew in place, the military and other security agencies should ensure that peace and harmony in the areas affected are not only restored but sustained.
In a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, in Kaduna yesterday, ACF commended the prompt intervention of Abia State governor, Chief Okezie Ikpeazu, by imposing a three-day dusk to dawn curfew on Aba town in order to douse the tension and bring the situation under control.
ACF also commended the efforts of the South East Governors Forum for setting up a probe committee to investigate the clash in order to unravel its remote causes and proffer an enduring solution to such problems.
It said all the identified perpetrators of the crisis should be made to face the wrath of the law in order to serve as deterrent to others.
"In this regard, ACF urges the Governors of the South East and South South regions to take adequate and necessary steps to protect the lives and properties of the innocent and law abiding citizens living in their states", it added.
ACF has also appealed to members of IPOB and other agitators for whatever cause to always pursue their concerns within the confines of the law and the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.
IPOB Plans To Make Nigeria Ungovernable, Says CNG
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has accused the indigenous people of biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu of deliberately hatching a plot to render Nigeria under the leadership of president Muhammadu Buhari ungovernable.
The group said, the strings of violence and unnecessary provocations being incited by IPOB is a deliberate act to disrupt the incumbent federal government, with the aim of further causing disunity in the country.
In a press conference held at the Kano NUJ press centre yesterday, spokesman of the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleman, said, "The agitations and disturbances that have been ongoing ceaselessly since the coming to power of the Mumammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo administration in 2015 are aimed at rendering the country practically ungovernable and ushering in of anarchy and instability, thereby occasioning a change of government by whatever means and tactics.
"The targeting of President Buhari's administration and singling him for attacks and irreverent treatment is aimed at causing inter-regional crisis possibly leading to general unrest".
The group condemned the violent method adopted by IPOB in their agitations, alleging that the IPOB struggle lacks character and cogent ingredients that defines a true struggle.
The chairman of the group, Shettima Yerima, while responding to questions from journalists, commended the curfew imposed on Aba, following the pandemonium that broke out in the city.
He said the group will not review its decision to rescind the quit notice order previously issued and later squashed by the group.
Stressing that the ongoing violent activities being perpetrated by IPOB is a script being played out, Shettima warned that Northerners are not cowards. "We are not cowards, what is happening is a script, we call for calmness", he stated.
Shettima commended Igbos residing in the North, saying the relationship between Ndi -Igbo resident in the North and their host communities is enviable. "The only problem is the mad man called Nnamdi Kanu, who is a half Nigerian", Shettima alleged.
He called for the formation of a coalition that would comprise peace loving Nigerians, stressing that the emergence of such a coalition would curb the illicit activities of organizations with similar aims as IPOB.