From Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Ohanaeze Ndigbo has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to find a solution to the widespread security threats across the country rather than blame the South East for insecurity in the region.
It said this in reaction to Presidency’s warning of South East leaders to speak more forcefully against insecurity in the region in the wake of the killing of some Nigeriens in Imo State by unidentified gunmen.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation said it was unfortunate that cases of insecurity in other regions, especially in the Northern parts, were treated as national issues but when the same occurs in the South East, it becomes a regional issue and leaders of the region are blamed for it.
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alex Ogbonnia, made the position known in a statement, yesterday, in apparent reaction to a statement by the Presidency following attacks against non-indigenes and law enforcement officials by terrorists in the South East.
The Presidency had called on the “community and religious leaders to speak more forcefully against the killings and to stand up and defend the ethos of the nation’s cultural and religious heritage.”
But a statement by Ogbonnia said Ohanaeze joined the Presidency and indeed the good people of Nigeria in condemning the dastardly act that occurred at Imo State, South East of Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze has repeatedly explained that amongst the Igbo, human life is very sacred. The sanctity of life is so elevated that killing a human being in whatever circumstance is considered an abomination. In fact, it is not in the character of the Igbo to kill in whatever disguise.
“These recent developments are indeed very much alien to the reflexes, culture and norms of the South East. And we have often called on the Nigerian security operatives to ensure that the perpetrators of such acts are brought to book as a deterrent to others. Surely, the failure of the Nigerian security agents to fish out the criminals cannot be blamed on the Igbo.
“Ohanaeze, however frowned at the statement by the Presidency which is nuanced against the South East as a haven for terrorists that attack non indigenes and law enforcement officials; implying that the insecurity persists because the leaders have not forcefully spoken.
“This is very unfair to the Igbo, especially when the presidency knows the root cause and the nature of the insecurity in the South East. It needs to be added that the solution to the insecurity in the South East lies in the enormous powers of the presidency.”
The statement added: ”Paradoxically, when the district head of Daura, the hometown of Mr President, was kidnapped and was freed after two months, Mallam Garba Shehu was quoted as saying that the “incident was evidence that Daura was not receiving preferential treatment and that insecurity was a national problem.
“In other words, when insecurity manifests in the North West, it is a national problem; but when on the other hand, it occurs in the South East, it is blamed on the inability of the “community and religious leaders to speak more forcefully against the killings and to stand up and defend the ethos of the nation’s cultural and religious heritage”.
“I can state without any fear of contradiction that the Igbo possess the greatest wanderlust as well as the most hospitable dispositions amongst the various ethnics in the world. The non-indigenes in the South East enjoy untrammeled friendliness, inter-ethnic assimilation and conducive business environment; what happened to the non-indigenes in the South East is most regrettable as part of the current national calamity.
“In conclusion, it is very uncharitable, if not mischievous, to poison undiscerning minds by insinuating that non indigenes and security officials are killed by the terrorists in the South East. On the other hand, to appropriate national problems to the South East of Nigeria is an ethnic prejudice taken too far.
“Invariably, banditry in the North Central persists because their leaders have not forcefully spoken or rather they are publicly celebrated and turbaned or still, offered the Sheik Gumi option.
Both history and current events in the country must have shown that unjust policy against the just shall ultimately vindicate the just.