A palpable panic has gripped non-northerners resident in Kano State following a threat by Arewa Youth Development Foundation (AYDF) insisting that southerners must obtain settlers permit to remain in the North.
Indication to this effect emerged after an emergency meeting of the Ethnic Traditional Leaders Forum in Kano, which consisted of traditional rulers of the South-west, South-east and South-south regions.
A press release signed by His Highness Alhaji Abdullahi Salihu, Oba Yoruba, Deacon Fred Akhigbe, Enogie and Igwe Boniface Ibekwe expressed their fears and also condemned the threat by the northern youth group that non-northerners residing in any part of the North should relocate to their various regions of origin within two weeks to give way for northerners coming back home.
The traditional rulers further declared that there is no iota of truth in the accusation of harassment of northerners in the south as contained in the statement signed by the AYDF National President, Aliyu Usman, a lawyer.
They, therefore, charged the Federal Government and the relevant security agencies to treat seriously the threats made by the Arewa Youth Development Foundation (AYDF) in the interest of all.
They stated further: “That we, as leaders, distance ourselves from the tumultuous intolerance being exhibited by AYDF as non-indigenes whose main task as true Nigerians is to preach unity and peaceful co-existence for the good of all.”
They advised southerners in the north to stay put and continue to do their lawful businesses even as they implored the southern governors not to join the mischief-makers working against the sustenance of a united Nigeria.
“We shall not be a party to the agenda of failed leadership whose allegiance is to their cabals of origin masquerading as “owners of Nigeria” instead of building a more united, stronger and progressive nation the group said.
Last Wednesday, the Arewa Youth Development Foundation had charged Northern governors to come up with deliberate policies compelling southerners residing in the north to immediately obtain settlers permit.
The youth group made the call during a protest rally held at the palace of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11, where they presented their petition to the new monarch, alleging that northerners in the south were subjected to intimidation and harassment.
The youth group, which appeared to be fronting for some interests in the state, carried placards that rained unprintable abuses on the people of southern Nigeria during the rally.
They also challenged their governors to take practical steps to ensure the immediate release of northerners currently detained in the south while asking the Federal Government to bring an end to the killings and destruction in the region.