17 June 2017, Lagos — Some groups of militants in Nigeria’s southern Niger River Delta region asked northerners living there to leave, Daily Times newspaper reported.
The call was a response to a statement earlier in June by some youth groups in the north threatening to forcibly remove members of the Igbo ethnic group, originating from the southeast, if they don’t leave the region by Oct. 1.
The coalition of militants from the Niger Delta, the country’s oil and gas producing region, gave the same deadline to northerners, Daily Times reported. They also threatened to attack oil wells owned by them, according to a statement published in the newspaper. Signatories were mostly previously unknown groups.
The calls are a stark reminder of decades-old tensions between some of the biggest ethnic groups in Africa’s most populous country.
Officials have condemned hate speeches and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo held meetings with representatives from the north and the south in recent weeks, urging unity in the West African nation of 180 million inhabitants.