Following security advice, there were indications yesterday that the Presidency is weighing options on how to tackle the Coalition of Northern Youths and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for the actualization of the Republic of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Security agencies, sources said yesterday, have advised the Federal Government to embrace dialogue and give the two groups final warning instead of arrest, outright crackdown and revocation of Kanu’s bail.
It was learnt that some of the options were presented at the sessions which the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had with Northern and Igbo leaders a few days ago.
Osinbajo, it was learnt, had reviewed intelligence reports on the Northern youths, IPOB and the renewed separatist agitations in the country with service chiefs, security chiefs and the police hierarchy on Sunday.
At the meeting, the Presidency was briefed that “some war mongers and divisive elements” were behind the Northern youths and IPOB, and that the objective of “these elements” is to destabilise the country.
The security reports indicated that some influential Northern leaders and groups have provided back up support for the coalition of Northern youths.
They also cited intelligence reports on how key Igbo leaders, including Senators, had been paying homage to the IPOB leader before the group organised a successful sit-at-home protest.
Although those behind the quit notice to Igbo have been identified, the security chiefs “strongly advised the government to exercise caution but to read the Riot Act to all the groups and their sponsors with a final warning.”
“The government has discovered that some forces were behind the coalition of Northern youths and IPOB. Those behind the ill-fated quit notice to Igbo have been identified, but the government is employing tact in managing the situation, ” a source privy to the goings-on in the Presidency in the last couple of weeks said.
Security report available to the government pointed to the fact that these Northern youths were most likely running errands for some war mongers, he further said.
He said there is a firm belief in government that the arrest of the Northern youths could trigger spontaneous violence in the North.
He said the sponsors of the Northern youths were found to be reacting to the successful sit-at-home protest by the IPOB.
“Some Northern leaders were said to be angry that after the IPOB protest, the leader of the organisation neither had his bail revoked nor was he re-arrested for treason,” he said.
He said the security services strongly advised the government to exercise caution in arresting the Northern youths.
They further advised against the revocation of bail for the IPOB leader despite the fact that the protest by the organisation which they perceived as “act of treason.”
They said arresting Kanu might lead to more security challenges in the South-East, which could heat up the polity.
The security chiefs, however, recommended dialogue with Northern and Igbo leaders where a Riot Act will be read and final warning given to all “divisive groups.”
The advice prompted the Acting President to meet with leaders from the North and the South-East, particularly leaders of umbrella socio-cultural organisations like the Arewa Consultative Forum ( ACF) and Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Next week, the Acting President is expected to hold a joint meeting with Southeast leaders and their colleagues from the North.
After the meeting and once “the dialogue template has been followed satisfactorily,” the government may clamp down on any hate-inclined group in the country.
Security agencies are expected to be proactive in busting plots by any group, be it the Northern youths or IPOB.
“The government will no longer spare the rod in arresting leaders of groups undermining the peace and unity of the country. Also, all their sponsors will face the wrath of the law.
“There will be constant surveillance on all pressure and sensitive socio-cultural organisations nationwide,” the highly placed source disclosed.
Sixteen Northern youth groups, under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Youths on June 6 gave the Igbo up to October 1 to vacate the three geo-political zones in the North.
Some of the youth organisations in attendance at the Kaduna meeting included Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and Northern Emancipation Network on the Igbo Persistence for Secession.
The Northern youth organisations had enjoyed the backing of the spokesman of Northern Elders Forum and former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, who also lashed out at Northern governors for disowning the youths.
Abdullahi, who addressed reporters in Zaria, said he saw nothing bad with the quit notice issued by the Northern youths to Igbo people residing in the North because the Igbo were busy calling for the Sovereign State of Biafra and from all indications, their leaders, including governors, were behind them.
In a retaliatory move against the Northern youths, a coalition of Niger Delta militants demanded from the federal government the return of all oil blocs controlled by Northerners to the people of the oil producing region.
IPOB also issued a statement, calling on all Igbo sons and daughters residing in the North to return to their home
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