The Northern Consensus Movement withdrew its earlier 14-day ultimatum to Igbo inhabitants in the North, citing talks with Alex Otti, the governor of Abia State.
The ultimatum was issued by NCM, an alliance of locally based socio-cultural and economically-oriented northern organizations, following Otti’s conversion of Lokpanta Cattle Market to a daily, non-residential one.
For those in the north, the governor’s choice was seen as a resignation letter.
But following the governor’s meeting with the Umuchieze Cattle Market leadership, the NCM revoked its directive.
Awwal Aliyu, the group’s president, who escorted the Umuchieze cattle traders’ leadership to the meeting at the governor’s mansion on Tuesday, declared the decision to remove the quit notice.
Aliyu said at the meeting with the governor, they realised that there was no tribal sentiment attached to the state government’s decision.
He declared that Otti means well and is interested in the security and safety of the traders at the cattle market contrary to earlier allegation that he had asked northern residents in the state to leave.
“I’m using this medium to say that we have cancelled that 14-day ultimatum that was given to easterners,” he declared.
He applauded the governor for consenting to help the vulnerable residents of the northern community find housing outside of the market and for visiting with them on a regular basis to discuss matters pertaining to their well-being.
Aliyu gave the state’s northern residents advice on how to uphold the law, show respect for legitimate authorities, and represent the Northern people well wherever they go.
As he welcomed his guests, the governor reiterated his desire to put a stop to the murders, kidnappings, and other criminal activity occurring at the Umuchieze Cattle Market on a regular basis.
The governor emphasized that he is a Nigerian who has been detribalized, saying that he is unaware of segregation and cannot be connected to tribalism.
He clarified that the previous order from the government had been misinterpreted and that the purpose of establishing a daily market was to protect the space for the benefit of both vendors and locals.
Otti stated that he called the meeting in order to clarify the government’s actual position and to emphasize that progress would not be possible in the absence of security.
“Anytime we allow religion and ethnicity to play a role in what we are doing, we are missing the point. What I have come to do in governance is to give service to the people. We want everyone living in Abia State to live in peace and harmony,” he said.