The recent tension in the country has restrained the federal government from taking certain actions – The government is said to be careful not to heat up the polity that is already charged – Efforts are on to ensure the peaceful resolution of all the issues raised.
A report by The Nation indicates that the federal government shelved the idea of arresting the leaders of the northern youth groups who issued an ultimatum to Igbos to leave the north, for fears that their arrest may trigger violence in the northern region.
The government is now said to be weighing options on how to tackle the issue with emphasis on dialogue. Sources quoted in the report said security agencies advised the 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, Professor Yemi Osinbajo had with northern and Igbo leaders a few days ago. Osinbajo had reviewed intelligence reports on the renewed separatist agitations in the country with service chiefs, security chiefs and the police hierarchy on Sunday, June 11.
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. Most importantly,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.”
A source said: “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.” The security chiefs 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 South-east leaders and their colleagues from the north.
“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,” a source revealed.