Northern Elders Forum has said that the Northern region is not afraid of the proposed restructuring of Nigeria.
The North, according to the elders, recognizes the legitimate demands and questions on the operation of the Nigerian system.
The forum president, Chief Paul Unongo, who gave this indication at a news conference in Abuja, however, warns that the North will not be stampeded into adopting an agenda from other parts of the country, that will hurt its basic interests.
Unongo explained that the North has a very clear ideas on all issues and position on the challenges facing the Nigerian federation, and ready to dialogue on them.
He said, “We wish to reiterate our consistent position that there are no issues of disagreement and demands by individuals and groups in the country or anywhere in the world that dialogue cannot resolve. NEF acknowledges that we the citizens of Nigeria are capable of resolving our issues internally.
“The North recognizes and acknowledges that there are demanding and legitimate questions on the current operations of the Nigerian state. The North has very clear ideas on all issues and positions that the nation sees as challenges and is willing to dialogue on all of them.
“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.
“It is with considerable disquiet, therefore, that the NEF has witnessed the recent developments in Nigeria, which have tilted towards subversion of the Nigerian State and violation of the principles and tenets of the rule of law and the protection of the lives and dignity of all Nigerians.
“These developments have primarily been triggered by some misguided elements of our country who have apparently harassed, threatened and intimidated the rest of the country.
“The recent unprovoked attacks against Northerners in some states in the South-East and South-South of Nigeria pose an existential threat to the entire country.
‘’NEF notes and commends the restrained and mature reaction of the Northern leadership represented by the 19 Northern state governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives and state assemblies, traditional rulers, religious leaders, community associations, politicians, elders, coalition of youth groups and the millions of citizens of Nigeria from the North who recognized the value of peace, and did not respond against the people from the states from where killings and recent atrocities were perpetrated against Northerners.”