From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Elder statesman Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has slammed Northern elders on their recent call for a law to hasten the exit of the South East from Nigeria.
Chief Iwuanyanwu, who is the Chairman of the Elders’ Council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, made his feelings known in a statement he released through his media aide, Ben Osuagwu, in Owerri on Thursday.
He maintained that the resolution of the Northern elders was hostile to the unity, peace and stability of the country and urged all patriotic Nigerians to view it with great concern.
According to him, the resolution of the Northern elders does not represent the opinion of the true leadership of northerners and true northern elites.
He recalled the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with South East leaders during his visit to Owerri, pointing out that the meeting was a right move towards reconciling Igbos and other ethnicities.
Iwuanyanwu said that he made it clear to the president that Igbos were domiciled in virtually all communities in Nigeria, pursuing their businesses in peace.
He affirmed that no group in Nigeria can claim greater ownership of Nigeria today than the Igbos, adding that at every stage of the country’s history since 1914, Igbos have played a major role.
‘In the struggle for independence, Igbos championed the crusade. In other areas, economy, education, industry, sports, etc, Igbos have continued to play their roles and make tremendous contributions,’ he said.
‘Igbos will, therefore, want to make it abundantly clear to all and sundry that if anybody plans to expel Igbos from Nigeria and dispossess them of the hard-earned assets they have all over the country, Igbos will never accept that.
‘It is important to note that most of the people who want to expel Igbos and seize their assets do not have their states anywhere near the River Niger where Nigeria derives its name from.
‘We now want to tell Nigerians that Igbos are substantial owners of Nigeria. In some geopolitical zones, militants, Boko Haram and Herdsmen are operating dangerously, killing many innocent people. These people are secessionists. They have even mounted their flags in some local governments and collected taxes. I want to point out the fact that the Nigerian flag is flying everywhere in Igbo land,’ Iwuanyanwu said.
He appealed to all Igbos living outside Igboland to remain calm and peaceful and pursue their legitimate business without fear, assuring them that, as law-abiding citizens, they have nothing to fear.