South East governors have urged Igbos leaving in the northern part of the country to remain where they are and go about their activities without fear of being attacked.
They also assured Igbos in the north of their security despite a three- month ultimatum given to them to leave the region.
The Chairman of the Forum, David Umahi, gave the assurance at a press briefing in Abakaliki on Thursday.
He was reacting to the ultimatum issued by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (ACYF), a coalition of socio-political groups in northern Nigeria, to all Igbos in the 19 northern states to vacate the region.
The Federal Government and the Kaduna State government have since condemned the call, assuring the Igbos of maximum security.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai has since called for the arrest of those that signed the eviction notice to the Igbos.
Governors of the 19 northern states have also disowned the Northern youth groups that issued the ultimatum and assured the Igbos of their safety in the region.
Describing the ultimatum as provocative and mischievous, Governor Umahi urged northern leaders to take actions that would counteract the intended plot of the youths, in other to ensure that the grim history of the past is not repeated.
The Ebonyi governor said, “We must call on all serious minded patriots, particularly the religious leadership in Northern Nigeria; the leadership of other socio-cultural groups in Northern Nigeria; the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and all the service branches to rise up with voices of peace and wisdom to counteract the mischievousness and exuberant excesses of the northern youths.
“The ugly lessons of history are too grim to be stoked with carelessness. As leaders, we must exert the full measure of our powers and influence to forestall a repetition.
“We call on all Igbo sons and daughters resident in Northern Nigeria to go about their lawful daily activities without fear of intimidation, hindrance or molestation.”
Umahi reiterated the commitment of the South East governors to “the existence of a virile, united prosperous and progressive Federal Republic of Nigeria where Justice, fairness, equity, mutual respect and equality of opportunity to all citizens regardless of creed, ethnicity or gender will reign supreme under the inflexible rule of law.”
The governor also denied reports that the governors held a meeting on Wednesday night and resolved to send buses to evacuate Igbos in the north.