The organisation also said that the northern youths should be charged with treason, being the same offense Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was accused of.
In an interview with PUNCH on Sunday, June 11, the deputy national publicity secretary of the Ohanaeze, Chuks Ibegbu, said even though Kanu “never” issued a quit notice to the northerners in the south-east, he was charged with treason.
Ibegbu said arresting and charging the northern youths with the same offense is “the only way the government can convince Nigerians that there is justice, equity and fair play” in the country.
“The authorities know that these northern youths are calling for secession,” he said.
“The federal government should arrest them and also charge them with treason. That is what we expect the federal government to do.
“He [Kanu] was only talking about self-determination, which he has the right to aspire to under international laws.
“The question every Nigerian should ask the federal government is, how come you clamped Nnamdi Kanu in detention for calling for self-determination, but you have not arrested these northern youths who are promoting secession?
“About three days after making the threat, despite outrage expressed across the country, they are still holding meetings, issuing more threats. Are the security agencies not seeing the youths holding meetings?
“How come none of them have been arrested? What is giving them the confidence to continue to issue threats?” he asked.
According to him, the Igbos would not issue a quit notice to the northerners in the south-east, adding that they are “too sophisticated to engage in such behaviour.”
“They [northerners] are welcome and nobody will molest them in the south-east.
“In fact, we are encouraging the northerners in the south-east to expand their businesses, build factories and prosper as much as possible,” he said.
Igbebu, however, distanced from Kanu’s ideology, saying Ohanaeze believes “the Igbo are landlords in Nigeria and cannot leave this country for anybody.”
“Ohanaeze believes more in a restructured Nigeria; a Nigeria that has a level playing field for all sections of the country; a Nigeria that gives each part of the country a sense of belonging.”