The All Progressives Congress has commended governors and political leaders in the northern part of Nigeria for condemning the ultimatum to Igbos by Arewa youths to leave the region.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, on Friday in Abuja, described the action of the governors and leaders as “proactive and decisive”.
The statement said: “We are delighted to see that the pressures mounted by the various leaders have forced the group to reverse its misguided ultimatum and threats.
“However, our party remains disturbed by the increasing spate of separatist agitations by individuals and groups in the country.
“While we affirm the inalienable rights of citizens and groups to agitate for legitimate causes as a key ingredient of participatory democracy, we believe such agitations should be guided by extant laws.”
It added that agitators must be peaceful and should demonstrate respect for the constitutional rights of other citizens who may not share in their separatist aspirations.
The party observed that the nature and content of recent agitations clearly transcended the boundaries of the law and exceeded the limits of freedom of speech.
It also stated: “They are therefore, patently inimical to national cohesion and the sustenance of our hard-earned democracy.
“The National Assembly, the courts and several lawful avenues are available to citizens, groups and sundry interests to make change, seek redress and advance legitimate causes.
“We therefore call on agitators to either join a political party which shares their ideology or form a new party to push their cause.”
The statement condemned any utterance, ultimatum or actions that threatened the corporate existence of the country.
It expressed hope that security agencies would investigate and prosecute promoters and sponsors of the provocative, divisive, inciting and undemocratic declarations and actions.
The party also expressed optimism that in spite of its challenges, the strength of the country lay in the diversity of its people.
This, it said, must be used to the advantage of all in the quest to lift the country to its deserved heights.
It called on political leaders in the South-East to emulate their Northern counterparts by reining in separatist agitators in the region and arresting the spate of provocative and inciting declarations and actions.
It added: “This is the leadership responsibility imposed on them by the positions they occupy.”
It stated that the party was disappointed to see that non-state actors could effectively subvert civil order in the face of duly constituted political authorities.
The statement stressed that such unfortunate situation should not be allowed to repeat.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and Northern Emancipation Network had at a news conference in Kaduna asked Igbos in the North to leave before October 1.