The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) has asked all Igbo people in the northern part of Nigeria to immediately get ready to defend themselves in the face of threat from the region.
The warning came on Wednesday, June 7 against a notice by a coalition of northern organisations asking Igbo people in the region to leave within three months.
The group also warned northerners in the south-east to begin to move back to their original states.
The OYC described the warning from the northern coalition as a security threat and a crime against the Nigerian state in an emergency conference with journalists.
The group asked all Igbo people to remain wherever they have existed in the north but be very ready to defend themselves where they are provoked to do so.
The president of the OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, warned that the northerners were brewing for war with the ultimatum and urged the security operatives act fast.
“They are on it again and this is a sad reminder of the civil war. This is how it started as a joke and before we knew it, a coordinated and simultaneous attack was launched against the Igbos in the North.
“This is a sad development considering efforts being made to unite this country; this is a sad commentary considering that sacrifices Igbos have made in this country.
“We, however, wish to state unequivocally that Igbos are not cowards. We are not afraid of Alhaji AbdulAziz Suleiman, Yerima Shetimma and their cohorts.
“Ndigbo want to make it categorically clear that we are ready for him; we cannot be intimidated by his ranting.
“The era of taking properties belonging to Ndigbo by force is gone. We won’t let that happen again.
“To this end, we are calling on our people in the north not to shift any ground; they should remain where they are; this country belongs to all of us. Any attack on our people shall receive commensurate reaction,” he said.
He urged the governors int the north to immediately arrest those fanning the embers of war so as to show to the world that they are not partners in the plot.
He said: “This is a drum of war coming from the north and should the Northern leaders fail to act accordingly, we shall be left with no option than to go beyond this stage.
“We call on the northern traditional and religious leaders headed by the Sultan of Sokoto to assure Igbos of their safety in the 19 northern states.
“We are calling on the president-general Arewa Consultative Forum to call NORTHERN YOUTHS to order; they must be compelled to tender unreserved apology to Ndigbo and stop fanning the embers of disunity among Nigerians.
“We will not leave the north for the NORTHERN YOUTHS after developing the north with assets and business investment worth over N44 trillion.
If they are preparing ground for abandoned properties, they have failed.
“May we all call on security agencies to provide protection to all the Igbos in the 19 Northern States and their properties. Anything on the contrary means giving a backing to this orchestrated genocidal plot against Igbos.
“May we call on the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to ASSURE Ndigbo that they are part of this country, by living up to expectations of their protecting lives and properties.
Failure to do so, we shall be left with no option than to defend ourselves.
“We also call for the immediate arrest of Yerima and his group; this is a crime against the State and it should not be treated with levity.
“Rather than chase around unarmed Biafra agitators, the DSS should go after these men who have declared war on the Nigeria state.
“In the meantime, our people should be careful and vigilant. They should not hesitate to report any assault on them. We are watching and waiting.”