Following a consultation with the Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, the Northern Consensus Movement has withdrawn a 14-day ultimatum it earlier issued to Igbo residents in the North to quit.
NCM, which is an amalgamation of community-based socio-cultural and economically-inclined northern organisations, issued the ulimatum after Otti converted Lokpanta Cattle Market to a daily and non-residential one.
The governor’s decision was viewed as a quit notice to northerners.
The NCM, however, rescinded its order after a meeting the governor had with the leadership of the Umuchieze Cattle Market.
The group’s President, Awwal Aliyu, who led the leadership of the Umuchieze cattle dealers to the meeting at the governor’s residence on Tuesday, announced the decision to withdraw 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 commended the governor for agreeing to assist the vulnerable members of the northern community in renting accommodation outside the market as well as holding periodic meetings with them on issues concerning their wellbeing.
Aliyu advised northerners in the state to be law-abiding, respect constituted authorities, and be good ambassadors of the Northern people, wherever they find themselves.
The governor, while receiving his guests, restated that his interest in making the Umuchieze Cattle Market a daily one is to end the killings, kidnappings and other criminal activities going on in the market.
The governor emphasised that he is a detribalized Nigerian, noting that he does not know about segregation and can never be associated with tribalism.
He stated that the government’s earlier directive was misunderstood and pointed out that the aim of making the market a daily one was to secure the place in the overall interest of traders and residents alike.
Otti said that the meeting convened at his instance was to explain the true position of the government, adding that without security, there would be no development.
“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.