The Oodua People’s Congress, (OPC) has called on leaders and stakeholders in the Southern part of the country to caution the Niger Delta Agitators (NDA), over threat of eviction of Yorubas resident in the region, warning that the backlash of such move may not be palatable.
A group, the Niger Delta Agitators was widely reported in the media earlier in the week to have threatened to evict Yorubas from the Niger Delta region.
Calling for caution over the threat, the OPC in a statement issued at the weekend with a strong tone of condemnation, submitted that such threat “could deflate the robust relationship being experienced by the Southwest and the Southern counterpart.”
According to the OPC in the statement signed by its National Coordinator, Otunba Gani Adams, the recent threat issued by John Duku, leader of the Niger Delta Agitators was the second of such in recent time, hence a call to Southern leaders and stake holders to call the group to order because ” we know that the position of the Militants may not reflect that of their leaders”
The OPC however said it identified the need for the leaders of Niger Delta to caution the Militants because “there is a need for them to speak out against the move of the group”
Warning against what it said may be the “ill effect of further threat against our people in the Niger Delta region” the OPC said though “we see the Southerners as friends but we are not in any way comfortable with the threat to quit “
Stating that the development may also have a bad effect on the solidarity of the Sothern Leaders Forum, the OPC warned the Agitators to realize that there are more indigenes of their region in the Southwest than the South westerners in their region and thus demand that “Yorubas must be safe in Niger Delta”
The OPC explained that it has not said Niger Delta people should leave the Southwest and insisted that Yorubas would refuse to be toss around.
While lauding the Southern Leaders Forum over its position on the state of the nation as stated at a media briefing it held during the week, the OPC said it is in agreement with the Forum’s stance that Nigeria had long ceased to be a federation, adding that the only solution to the issues confronting the nation at this time is restructuring of the country along regional line.
The Southwest group also condemn what it called the “emerging systematic war against freedom of speech in the country and an indirect clampdown on the media” by agencies of the Federal government, warning that Nigeria should not be dragged back into the Military era.
“Nigeria of today is different from that of the 80s, people’s freedom to speak should not be gagged if we don’t want to relapse into the brutish military era” the group warned.
In apparent reference to recent government pronouncement against statements by opinion leaders, ban on feedback comments on radio by the National Broadcasting Corporation under the guise of preventing hate speeches, the OPC submitted that” there are relevant laws in the country to deal with those who may be reckless in their public outburst, but a blanket ban on freedom of speech of the people should not be encouraged” the statement read.