The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Wednesday condemned the “lack of nationalism by some groups and individuals from some sections of the country”.
CAN, in a statement issued in Kaduna at the end of its emergency meeting, told the international community to hold Northern Nigeria responsible if anything untoward happened to Southerners living there.
The statement signed by CAN Chairman (North), Rev. Yakubu Pam and the Public Relations Officer, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, said Nigeria’s unity should be considered above sectional interest.
The statement urged the government to, as a matter of urgency, consider the best ways to address the issues causing the agitations by revisiting the last report of the 2014 National Conference.
It reads: “We also wish to make it clear that we are stakeholders in the region called ‘North’ or ‘Arewa’. We, therefore, condemn the hasty and ill-informed display of lack of thoughtfulness by a group by the name ‘Arewa youths’ and their sponsors asking Igbo to leave the north of Nigeria with a timeline.
“Let the world know that we disassociate ourselves from this call, and after consultation with Christian youths across the region of northern Nigerian (Arewa) they too, have condemned the pronouncement in the strongest term and disassociate themselves from the so-called group.
“We support the government and all groups that have publicly condemned this act and any other divisive call by any group in this country.
“We are appealing to all the Igbo living and undertaking businesses in the North to keep calm and not be daunted, but instead, should strategise how to expand their businesses and services in the region.
“They are fellow Nigerian citizens whom we love so dearly and appeal to them to consider the utterances and actions of the so-called ‘Arewa youths’ as an aberration and not a northern collective standpoint in any way.
“The government must also ensure the protection of all Nigerians wherever they choose to live in this great country. In addition, we call on all Nigerians to desist from threatening one another as we should be our brothers’ keepers. Without a doubt, nations are built and sustained by unity, not division…
“Finally, we, CAN 19 northern states, caution all those who are beating the drums of war to recognise that they are doing so for themselves because the equation of this country today has changed from that of 1967, and no one is ready and willing to sacrifice his/her life for an agenda that is not worth the expense such as that the agitators have contrived.
“We call on all and sundry to talk and walk for peace for the betterment of our dear fatherland.”