The meeting of major ethnic militia groups in Owerri, Imo State capital on Thursday had nothing to do with 2015 general elections, National President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Mr. Yerima Shettima, has said.
Rather, he said the parley was facilitated to forestall a break-down of law and order before and after 2015.
The meeting which held at the residence of the Leader of Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Mr. Ralph Uwazuruike, had in attendance Shettima, Maj. Hamza Al-Mustapha, ex-militant and leader of defunct Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo; the founder of Oodu’a Peoples’ Congress, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun; and late military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha’s son, Mohammed.
Shettima added that the meeting was held to discuss the general interest of the country.
He said, “We realised that there is a threat to our unity. It is glaring; it is becoming more obvious and visible than anybody could ever imagine.
“The politicians are busy overheating the polity and some of us believe strongly that if we don’t begin to take measures of extending hands of fellowship to our brothers in other parts of the country, there’s a possibility of pre-election and post-elections violence.”
On threats to the peaceful co-existence of the country by Asari-Dokubo over President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term ambition, Shettima said the threats were regrettable and that the ex-militant had realized his errors.
Although Asari-Dokubo would not withdraw or apologise for his utterances, Shettima said, “We discussed with him extensively and he now realizes there’s hope from the meeting.”
He continued, “What we discussed at our meeting was far beyond whether Jonathan is re-elected as President or not; we discussed the unity of the nation and our people, so that there won’t be any violence in the country. Nobody would use any groups or individuals against one another, whether from the North or South.”
In a brief chat with reporters at the airport in Owerri, Asari Dokubo said the meeting was called to discuss issues bordering on security and other challenges facing the country with a view to proffering solutions.