Felix Ikeme, Nsukka
A youth group under the aegis of Save Enugu Youths Initiative (SEYI) has cautioned Nigerian security agencies not to be pressured by any group into harassing, intimidating or molesting the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese of Enugu State, Most Rev Godfrey Onah, following the recent crisis that erupted in Nsukka Local Government Area between a Keke rider and a female Muslim trader, which degenerated into protest and burning of the worship centre.
The group, which was reacting to a threat issued by the leader of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) a few days ago, which called for the arrest of Bishop Onah of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, following an accusation that Onah in his recent church sermon “incited Christians to attack Muslims and destroyed mosques” in Nsukka.
The group challenged the director of MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, to make public the video clip wherein Onah made such disturbing comments.
SEYI in a statement signed by its Convener and the State Coordinator, Comr. Gwiyi Solomon and Chibueze Nwoga explained that the recent crisis in Nsukka was never in any form connected to anything traceable to the revered Bishop of Nsukka Catholic Diocese.
“The recent Nsukka Crisis was a clear case of a female Muslim trader refusing to pay for the cost of her transportation by a tricycle operator. And she even became the aggressor which resulted in onlookers destroying everything insight in defense of the Keke rider.
“Following the incident, the Government of Enugu State has since intervened, doused the tension and even pacified the victims of the attack, while assuring that such incident will never repeat itself in the state.
“So, why is the Muslim group beating a drum that will further escalate the already calmed situation in Nsukka? And where did they even dig out their claims of Bishop Onah inciting Nsukka Crisis?” the statement queried.
The group wondered what the Islamic group did when the Igbos in the North were given quit notice by AREWA youths, with prominent northern Elders such as Prof. Ango Abdullahi and co backing such infamous decision.
“AREWA youths had given the Igbos quit notice to leave the North and heavens did not fall. And not even one person was arrested. Oba Akiolu of Lagos had threatened that Igbos in Lagos would be drowned in the Lagoon and nothing happened. And not even a question was raised to that effect.
“So why were you not interested in getting these individuals punished? Why dissipating energy unnecessarily in Enugu State?” The youth body queried.
The youth group further called on the leaders of the region such Chief Nnia Nwodo, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi and Chief Arthur Eze (Who is a friend of Muhammadu Buhari) to prevail on the federal forces not to think of harassing the Bishop of Nsukka Catholic Diocese, as such action is capable of raising another temper in the state.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) had petition Inspector-General of Police and Director-General, Department of State Security (DSS) accusing the Bishop of inciteful speech against Muslims.
NSCIA in the petition alleged that Bishop Onah’s hateful sermon had led to recent attacks on Muslims in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria which resulted in the loss of property worth billions of Naira, vandalisation and burning of Mosques including ancient ones built by Indigenous Igbo Muslims.
NSCIA had in the petition implored the security agencies to as a matter of urgency interrogate Bishop Onah on it termed “his hate speech, inciteful sermon of lies fabricated to provoke hatred for the Muslims.”