The Lagos chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has condemned the destruction of public and private property in the state and other parts of Nigeria.
It described as unfortunate the degeneration of a peaceful protest by Nigerian youths to violence, to the extent that lives and properties have been lost.
In a statement by Everest Ozonweke, Secretary, Ohanaeze Lagos expressed worry that the protest, which saw Nigerian youths from all parts of the contry united, in their quest to draw attention of government to certain misgivings, is being given ethnic colouration.
It condemned the attempt by some people to pit Igbo against Yoruba in Lagos State, with the insinuation that south easterners are the ones destroying property of Yoruba.
“This twist of events is highly unfortunate and unacceptable. It’s nothing but malicious lies from pit of hell and illusive imagination of agents of destabilisation. We condemned this in its entirety. Thank God we are in the age of social media where evidences and facts are not far fetched,” Ohanaeze said.
Condemning the attempt to blame Igbo for the destruction of property in Lagos, Ohanaeze said south easterners have no cause whatsoever to attack their Sourh West brothers and sisters as they “have maintained strong synergy with the Yoruba.”
Pointing out how Igbo and Yoruba work together, the group said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere have been in strong alliance in the Southern Nigeria leaders forum, which includes the PANDEF and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria, respectively. We share a common value in life, peaceful coexistence and unity among our people.”
It said Ohanaeze national leadership has been in the campaign for peaceful coexistence, oneness and respect to the culture and tradition of our host communities in Lagos, stating: “We have maintained a good working relationship with the government and good people of Lagos State. In line with our policy of leaving it better than we met it, Igbo will not destroy the house that gives him shelter but will do everything possible for its preservation.”
Ohanaeze condemned the shooting of protesters at Lekki toll gate, saying: “Our heart bleeds and goes out to our falling heroes, the Nigerian youths who paid the supreme price at Lekki tollgate, even as we condemned the atrocious act in strongest terms. We are in full solidarity with our torchbearers, the Nigerian youths, the pride of our nation that are still hanging unto our National Flag, the very symbol of our oneness. They are the hope of greater Nigeria.”
It also condemned the destruction of public and private facilities in Lagos State, while calling for “calm and total restrain from hate speeches and action that may lead to further breach of public peace in the state.”
The group enjoined Igbo in Lagos State “to adhere completely to the directives of Lagos State government in observance of the 24 hours curfew until it’s relaxed by the state government.”
It advised Igbo to “stay indoors and maintain peace and order in your neighborhood,” while calling on security agencies to rise up to the occasion in “protecting life and property of Nigerians wherever they may be to avoid vandalisation of their means of livelihood in various markets.”
Ohanaeze Lagos said Nigeria had gone through worst case scenarios and came out stronger and united, while expressing optimism that the current crsis “will not be an exception; by His grace we shall overcome.”