The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has backed the Federal Government’s official proclamation, proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its activities throughout Nigeria.
The NEF Convener / Leader, Wantaregh Paul Unongo, who addressed journalists on Thursday in Abuja, said the support was necessary because the north, which had also been a victim of terrorism over the years, recognised the outline of an “emerging terrorism” in the South-East.
Unongo said the NEF would not “sit idly and watch the nation sink into chaos under new and additional threats”.
He renewed the NEF position that there were no issues of disagreement and demands by individuals and groups in the country or anywhere in the world that dialogue could not resolve.
He said, “The North recognises and acknowledges that there are demanding and legitimate questions on the current operations of the Nigerian state.
“The North has very clear ideas on all issues and positions that the nation sees as challenges and is willing to dialogue on all of them.
“What the North will not allow, however, is to be stampeded into adopting an agenda and grand designs from other parts of Nigeria which will hurt its basic interests.
“The North will demand a respectful and responsible approach to its participation in the search for answers to the many questions confronting our country.
“We will also insist that the constitution and our national institution, such as the National Assembly be accorded due and appropriate recognition in all initiatives and efforts towards addressing our challenges.”
The NEF commiserated with the families of the victims of the attacks in some states in the South-east and South-south.
The NEF, therefore, welcomed the presence of the military and other security personnel in all areas where peace and security were several threatened.
It hailed the “restrained and mature reaction” of the Northern leadership and the decision taken by the South-East governors to denounce the activities of the IPOB.
Unongo said the NEF would remain vigilant over the security and welfare of the northerners in South-East, South-South and all over Nigeria.
The body called on the Federal Government to investigate the reports of illegal importation of huge quantities of arms into the country and prosecute those found culpable.