SAN FRANCISCO, August 12, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, has explained that the Arewa youth groups which asked Igbos to be out of the North by October 1, 2017 were not arrested because they claimed to have been misquoted by the media as regards the quit notice.
The youths under the Coalition of Northern Youths had met at Arewa House in Kaduna from where they were widely reported to have handed a three-month ultimatum for the Igbo to leave the northern region, and asked northerners in the South-East to return within the period.
But addressing a press conference on Friday, Dambazau disclosed that the youth denied making any inciting comment, adding that they informed Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and the Department of State Services, DSS, that their position was not properly represented.
The minister pointed out that the efforts currently being made by the Kaduna state government, where the notice was issued, and the ongoing dialogues were other reasons why the Arewa youths are roaming free.
His words, “They (the youth) later claimed the media quoted them out of context. I am very much aware that the DSS invited all of them, held a meeting with them to which they made a statement to the effect that what was reported in the media was not what they said.
“They further wrote to the acting president indicating that they did not make inciting statement as to the issue of violence or forceful ejection of the Igbos in the north. However, it was on the basis of that, the northern elders called them to also reaffirm from them that what was reported was not exactly what they meant.
“Secondly, it is on this basis that I am answering the question, but it is something that the Kaduna State
government is handling since that is where it happened. I want to think that it was on that basis that the arrest was not made.
“Again, there have been several efforts to dialogue between the northern youths and the Igbo youths. Several of such meetings have been held including the reported one that (ended in a) stalemate about one week ago but
my understanding is that these various groups are sitting down among themselves to reach an understanding.
“More importantly, government gave assurance when the Acting President met with leadership from various parts
of the country that nothing is going to happen to any person. Government has assured that everybody should stay and continue with their normal businesses.”
When asked whether the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, has so far violated his bail conditions, Dambazau stated that that is left for the court to decide.
He went on to say, “If those conditions were violated, the court knows what to do. We cannot assume that those conditions are being violated. Yes, the public knows but the determination of
the extent of violation will be left for the court.
“It is not like the police will go after Kanu to arrest him on the grounds that he violated the bail conditions. Kanu will have a day in court and the court will determine his fate because it is the court that gave those conditions.”