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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says it will not be stampeded into adopting an agenda that will hurt its basic “interests”.

Wantaregh Paul Unongo, leader of the forum, said this on Thursday in reaction to the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Unongo said the north acknowledges “the legitimate questions on the current operations of the Nigerian state.

“What the north will not allow, however, is to be stampeded into adopting an agenda and grand designs from other parts of Nigeria which will hurt its basic interests.

“The north will demand a respectful and responsible approach to its participation in the search for answers to the many questions confronting our country.

“We will also insist that the constitution and our national institution, such as the national assembly be accorded due and appropriate recognition in all initiatives and efforts towards addressing our challenges.”

The leader of the forum commended the president and south-east governors for the proscription of IPOB.

He said the north has been a victim of terrorism over the years and recognises the outline of an emerging terrorism now growing in the south-east.

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“Regarding the ongoing agitations in the country manifested in various shades and guises which have led to the recent unprovoked attacks and killings of northerners, the NEF recognises the duty of responsible governments anywhere in the world to protect and defend the lives and property of its citizens under all circumstances,” Unongo said.

“It is in this connection that the NEF commends the readiness and willingness of the federal government of Nigeria to take all necessary measures that are permitted under the law and by the constitution of the land to check all these existential threats to Nigeria.

“Protecting the lives of all abiding citizens of Nigeria and to bringing to book any and all groups that threaten national security, is a sacred duty of government.

“The NEF also welcomes the presence of the Nigeria’s military and other security personnel, in all areas where the country where peace and security are several threatened.

“The president and commander-in-chief has the prerogative of deploying the armed forces for the purpose of keeping the peace. This prerogative should be respected by all well-meaning Nigerians.

“The NEF welcomes and commends the decision taken by the south-east governors to denounce the activities of the organisation known as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its proscription in their respective state.”

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