By Zika Bobby
The Igbo World Assembly, the umbrella organization of Ndigbo in the Diaspora has cautioned the Federal Government against the use of force to stop the Nigerian indigenous ethnic groups from seeking self-determination.
The group during an emergency meeting Thursday said having reviewed the abduction of Kanu in a foreign land and his detention in Nigeria, called for his release and that of other political prisoners, while the government focuses on addressing massive insecurity, unemployment, hunger, poverty and other challenges.
The group, in a communique signed by its Chairman, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, noted that Nigeria can only be saved in one form or the other, devoid of the current structure and 1999 constitution; through a negotiation that allows Nigerians to express their will and discuss their peaceful co-existence based on equity, respect and fairness.
“We need a serious dialogue among all the ethnic nationalities for Nigeria to continue to exist.
“The current situation whereby Southern Nigerians agitating for a free homeland are killed, arrested and detained, while herdsmen that kill our people and rape our women are protected can no longer be tolerated.”
IWA while affirming their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people through a national dialogue further noted: “The very existence of the IPOB, Sunday Igboho’s group and many other such groups is a response to the present Nigerian administration’s treatment of Nigerian indigenous ethnic groups. The Federal Government can use brutal force to arrest individuals but cannot arrest the people’s agitation, and the will of the people cannot be arrested and suppressed by force. However, negotiation could bring a lasting solution.
“It is not a crime for anyone or group to express intention to leave any country peacefully and be on their own without intending to occupy others. The Federal Government should negotiate with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and other Southern Nigerian and Middle Belt Nigerian stakeholders on how to allow Nigerians to decide what type of country they want to be in.”
The group cautioned that failing to release Kanu and others is a declaration of war on the indigenous ethnic groups especially those in the Southern and Middle belt region.
“And any harm to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu may lead to unintended consequences to the corporate existence of Nigeria. While not all the Igbos or all Southerners are members of IPOB, we are all members of Nigerian Indigenous Ethnic Groups who feel the same pain.”
While applauding the communique issued by the Southern Governors after their Lagos meeting, the group added: “The Nigerian Government has not been able to establish any proof of IPOB killing of innocent citizens compared to the number of people killed by Fulani herdsme. Why is IPOB deemed a terrorist group and Cattle Herdsmen/Miyetti Allah not so considered.”