The Arewa Youths Coalition is set to withdraw the October 1 quit notice handed Igbo in the North to leave.
The youths were waving the olive branch after a meeting with Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima in Abuja yesterday.
Arewa Youth Coalition spokesman Abdulaziz Suleiman told reporters that consultations were ongoing among members with a view to withdrawing the quit notice.
Suleiman ascribed the decision to withdraw the quit notice to what he described as “positive developments” that came out of the meeting with Shettima and persuasions from the Northern Governors Forum.
On the actual date for the withdrawal of the notice, Suleiman said: “You will hear from us this week.”
He added: “What we can say is that there has been a major development. Now the chairman of the Governors’ Forum has taken the initiative and invited us to start negotiations. This is the first time we are meeting publicly with any leader and we believe that it is a major step forward in our ongoing consultations.
“We hold the governor in high esteem and we have the unity of the country at heart”.
Suleiman said: “You see, I wonder why you talk about quit notice. We only issued a Kaduna declaration, quit notice is just a part of it. Let us do the recounting of the successes of our declarations first. We are sill going on with our consultations”.
Shettima said his discussion with the group was fruitful and that members of the executive of the coalition demonstrated a lot of courtesy and respect during the meeting.
The governor said he was able to impress it on the youths to appreciate the enormity of the challenges facing the country and how the quit notice they issued had compounded the situation.
Shettima, who is the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, added that the governors have also been in discrete consultations with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa ‘ad Abubakar on this and other issues.
Confirming the decision of the Arewa Youths to withdraw the quit notice, Shettima said they had agreed to review their position and that he was expecting the good news from them in the next few days.
The governor said: “We met with the leadership of the coalition of Northern Groups in my capacity as the chairman of the Northern Governors Froum.
“We had very fruitful discussion with them and they have shown a lot of courtesy and respect for the establishment. This is the first time that they are sitting down with the leadership of the forum.
“They were having interactions with His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto. I started conversations with them right from Kaduna yesterday and we continued the discussion today and by the grace of God, it is going to yield fruits.
“We are trying to have understanding of the challenges confronting us as a people and solutions to those challenges. I have to commend them for honouring our invitation because a political problem needs a political solution”.
Shettima cautioned against criminalising the group, adding that harassing and intimidating them would not bring solution to the nation’s challenges.
“They have agreed to revisit their decision and we will follow it up to its logical conclusion and I believe that in the next couple of days, we are going to get the good news from them.
“I don’t want to preempt them by saying that this is what will happen or not. But definitely, they have shown responsibility and commitment to the national cause and they have wider plans to promote the cause of national unity and cohesion.
“It was a very open, free and frank discussion, we heard their reservations and I gave them my reasons and believe me, by the time they hold their meeting this week, I think Nigerians will heave a sigh of relief.
“I wish to call on the leadership of our brethren in the South Eastern part of the country to equally pick the gauntlet, because it takes two to tango, to take the gauntlet and rein in the excesses of Nnamdi Kanu and his group”.