ABUJA— The Federal Government has explained why it cannot arrest a coalition of northern groups which issued a ‘quit notice’ to Igbos resident in the region, saying the coalition has already stated that they were misquoted by the media (not Saturday) Vanguard).
Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau who disclosed this at a news conference Friday in Abuja also added that it was of no use arresting the group despite the “arrest order” issued by the Kauna state governor, Nasiru el-Rufai, adding that on the invitation of the Department of State Services DSS, the coalition has also denied making any inciting comments.
He said that the self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu has violated his bail conditions, but that the government cannot arrest him until the same court which gave him those terms declare that Mr Kanu has violated them and should be arrested.
He said; “The group that called themselves coalition of Arewa Associations that held a press conference in Kaduna where they gave October 1 ultimatum to the Igbos to quit the north as a response to what they termed as issue of separatist agenda of the IPOB and claim that there were cases of incitement from the Igbos against the northerners to which the Kaduna State governor responded that they should be arrested for what they reported.
“Of course they later claimed that the media quoted them out of context. I am very much aware that the DSS invited all of them, held a meeting with them to which they made a statement to the effect that what was reported in the media was not what they said.
“They further wrote to the acting President indicating that they did not make inciting statement as to the issue of violence or forceful ejection of the Igbos in the north. However, it was on the basis of that, the northern elders called them to also reaffirm from them that what was reported was not exactly what they meant.
“Secondly, it is on this basis that I am answering the question, but it is something that the Kaduna State government is handling since that is where it happened. I want to think that it was on that basis that the arrest was not made.
“Again, there have been several efforts to dialogue between the northern youths and the Igbo youths. Several of such meetings have been held including the reported one that (ended in a) stalemate about one week ago but my understanding is that these various groups are sitting down among themselves to reach an understanding.
“More importantly, government gave assurance when the Acting President met with leadership from various parts of the country that nothing is going to happen to any person. Government has assured that everybody should stay and continue with their normal businesses”.
‘Kanu has violated Bail Terms’
“The other issue is that, yes, Nnamdi Kanu has violated his bail conditions but it is not time yet for him to go back to the court for trial. We have this assumption but I think it is left for the court that gave those conditions to determine whether those conditions were violated or not. If those conditions were violated, the court knows what to do.
We cannot assume that those conditions are being violated. Yes, the public knows but the determination of the extent of violation will be left for the court. “It is not like the police will go after Kanu to arrest him on the grounds that he violated the bail conditions. Kanu will have a day in court and the court will determine his fate because it is the court that gave those conditions”, he explained.