From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has advised Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo to channel its energy towards securing the South East from multiple threats instead of tackling its spokesman, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
NEF’s Convener, Prof Ango Abdullahi, claimed that Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s Spokesperson, Alex Ogbonna, had called for the arrest of Baba-Ahmed over his unfriendly comments against the South East.
But Prof Abdullahi, in a statement yesterday, described the call as “dangerous and irresponsible, designed to achieve only one goal: to put the life of Dr Baba-Ahmed in peril.”
He maintained that group will always stand by Baba-Ahmed because all comments and press briefings issued by him got the endorsements of NEF.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to comments by spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, on the Director of Publicity and Advocacy of Northern Elders Forum, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
“These comments are, to say the least, dangerous and irresponsible, designed to achieve only one goal: to put the life of Dr Baba-Ahmed in peril.
“The Northern Elders Forum states categorically that all comments and statements made by Dr Baba-Ahmed are authorized, and they represent its positions.
“The Press Statement which he read on the 8th of June, 2021 at the Forum’s Headquarters in Abuja in presence of the full Forum was the Statement of the Forum by which it still stands.
“We are aware of attempts to create the impression that this statement is recent, as well as other attempts to misrepresent its contents to create scapegoats for the failure to limit the damage of irredentism.
“In spite of many efforts to inform the public appropriately, it appears that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has fallen prey to more mischief, or is itself actively involved in incitement against a citizen.
“The Forum stands by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, a Nigerian whose pedigree and service to our nation has few parallels.
“It sees the claim that Dr Baba-Ahmed is a security risk, and the demand that he should be arrested as pathetic and beneath even the ordinary standards of Ohaneze Ndigbo.
“We serve notice that we know who to hold responsible in the event of any harm to Dr Baba-Ahmed.
“The Forum advises Ohanaeze Ndigbo to focus its attention on contributing to securing people of the South East from multiple threats, and ensuring that Ndigbo has a befitting relevance in Nigeria.
“The Forum affirms its full confidence in Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who will continue to serve the country and the North as we search for a future that accommodates all interests in Nigeria.”