From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, yesterday, said there was no order given to any ethnic or regional group to quit any part of Igbo land.
Viewing the alleged quit notice order as reprehensible and highly unacceptable, Ohanaeze urged the public to discountenance it as it did not come from it or any recognised Igbo authority.
In a statement issued, yesterday, by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, the organisation said: “For purpose of clarity, the said quit notice is unknown and did not emanate from any known political or social cultural recognised authority or institution in Igboland.
“We are aware of the various interest groups with weird claims on leadership of Ndigbo. However, Ndigbo recognise the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, led by Ambassador (Prof) George Obiozor as the apex authority on such matters of national importance.
“It is, therefore, very instructive that the general public is, hereby, emphatically advised to always verify the sources of information regarding the position of Ndigbo on where they stand on sensitive national issues.”
Ohanaeze, however, call on the relevant federal authorities to come up with actions, policies and strategies that would stop all the objectionable acts of destruction of farmlands, violation of community and cultural sanctity over land, customs, kidnappings that generate conflict between the host communities and the herders.
It also congratulated the South East governments and governors for their ban on open grazing in the the zone, noting that, “It is clear that only by creating an environment of social justice, equity and fairness that Nigeria can attain a sustainable political and economic stability.”
Noting that Igbo were very outreaching, hospitable, hardworking and adapt themselves to legitimate businesses in all parts of Nigeria and the world, Ohanaeze stressed that Ndigbo were known to promote cordial relationships all over the world.
“It is, therefore, highly inconceivable for a sensible Igbo group to issue quit notice to non-Igbo who are engaged in lawful means of livelihood in Igbo land,” the statement said.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, however, advised non-Igbo, in general, and the herders, in particular, not to take undue advantage of the Igbo character of hospitality and friendly acceptance of non Igbo in Igbo land by engaging in actions, behaviour or attitudes inimical to the culture and wellbeing of Ndigbo.
“It must be categorically stated and understood that freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria for all citizens does not include and will never include the right to destroy, desecrate or violate the laws and cultures of any part of Nigeria you live in, and certainly not forceful entry into another’s farmland with impunity, and disregard of the peoples’ customs and traditions over land. Freedom does not mean anarchy or lawlessness.”
“Therefore, it is in the interest of peace and mutual coexistence that the sensibilities of the host communities are respected.”