Femi Falana, lawyer and human rights activist, says it is wrong for Shettima Yerima, President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), to be issuing quit notice to south-easterners resident in the north when he does not live in the north but in Lagos.
“Please, information is very crucial to all of us and I want to say this publicly; the man who is giving quit notice does not live in the north, he lives in Lagos,” Falana said in Abuja on Thursday at a press conference organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on recent divisive statements in the country.
“Yerima lives in Lagos, he is a Lagos man. So to stay in Lagos and be giving quit notice is not the answer.”
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He urged Nigerians to stop following those who want to divide the country, saying: “We have to look at those things that tie us together and not those that the ruling class are using to divide our people.”
Falana, who went down the memory lane to relive the killing of four students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria by the police on May 26, 1986, during the regime of Ibrahim Babangida, former military president, said that late Chima Ubani, an Igbo student, led a protest against the killing at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He recalled that the comments by Ango Abdullahi, who was then the Vice Chancellor of the university, that only four students were killed, angered Nigerians and sparked protest across campuses of universities in the country.
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“The boy who led that protest was late Chima Ubani. What happened? The state did not like the fact that there was a national protest against the killing of students of ABU. What did the government do?
“They didn’t arrest students in the north; they didn’t arrest people who were demonstrating in the west, the Babangida regime went for Chima Ubani and arraigned him and eight of his colleagues under the military decree that required that they were sentenced to death.
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“I left Lagos and went to Enugu to defend those men. We got them freed. When they returned to campus, the vice chancellor expelled them; again, I went to court and got them.
“This is important, a Hausa vice chancellor invited police and they killed young Hausa people, four of them and Nigerians protested. An Igbo man led that protest in the east against injustice. A Yoruba lawyer in the west went to free them; there are lawyers in the east. We have to look at those things that tie us together and not those that the ruling class is using to divide our people.”
BY THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM