A former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, has warned that the South East region will not take lightly any act of violence against indigenes of the region in other parts of the country.
Mr. Kalu spoke Tuesday on a programme aired on the Africa Television Authority, AIT.
His comment was in response to the threat by some northern youth for Nigerians of Igbo ethnic nationality to leave the northern region by October 1 or be forced out.
He said the comments were coming from “un-serious northerners”.
At a separate occasion, the former governor had earlier said Nigeria had gone past “quit notice”, and urged Nigerians to live in peace.
But pressed on the AIT programme, Mr. Kalu said, “Anybody that touches any Igbo man in terms of (saying) that we should quit; the country will go into war, and I will lead the war; if Igbos are touched”.
He continued: “Nobody can touch Igbos because this is our country. If anybody kills any of our brothers, we will go and fight back. We will not take it lightly that anybody kills any of us and then you will tell us to go and take it lightly again; no! We will not take that,” said Mr. Kalu.
Again, he dismissed the call for repatriation of Igbo from the north as “nothing”, saying the threat came from “unscrupulous Nigerians seeking cheap popularity”.
“The quit notice means nothing; I know when northerners speak, I will see their hand when they speak, I was trained by them so I know when they are serious.
“No reasonable northern elder will do that; did Adamu Ciroma say so? Did Babangida say so? Did President Abdulsalam say so? Will Aliko support that? Only people who are looking for cheap popularity.”
“It’s just like you seeing me struggling for the secession of the country you will know that my heads have gone nuts. The unity of the country is not negotiable.”
“When you say northern elders, I don’t know whether Sultan, Emir of Kano and his likes are asking us to quit. If all these people come out and say we should quit; we will quit. We are not afraid of quitting. But Nigerian unity is more important,” Mr. Kalu said.
Speaking on the way forward, the former governor said Nigeria’s religious and community leaders have a huge responsibility to inculcate the culture of nation building among Nigerians.
“The hatred is too much. I think the best way is to get religious leaders to start preaching peace. You cannot imagine that if something happens in Pakistan; they will go and kill Igbo or kill someone from the south. That is not right,” said Mr. Kalu.
He added that the message of tolerance should be preached across the country.
“The meeting the Acting President was calling only Igbo and Hausa people is not the right thing to do, he should invite all the six geo-political zones because the problem is everywhere,” he said. Premium Times