From Magnus Eze, Enugu
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has slammed the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for alleging that Igbos perpetrate most violent attacks on their people in Southern Nigeria.
The group urged the Federal Government to call the NEF to order and make them rescind their inflammatory statement to avoid the possible mayhem and confusion it could cause in the country.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, frowned at the provocative statement credited to Prof Ango Abdullahi, the leader of the NEF.
Nwodo, who said that Abdullahi by his learning, experience and exposure should have known better, noted that the comments are capable of setting the country ablaze.
A release on Wednesday by the Ohanaeze leader’s media adviser, Chief Emeka Attamah, wondered where and when the Igbo could have killed their Northern brothers when there had never been any case of mayhem and killings against the North in any Igbo-speaking state.
He challenged Prof Abdullahi to make public facts to substantiate his claims, unless it was intended to set up the Igbo for another round of killings in the North, adding that with the statement, Igbos in the North are not safe.
Nwodo reminded Abdullahi that Igbos had borne the brunt and have been victims of age-long attacks by Northerners at times of social upheavals in the country, sometimes even as a result of an event outside the country and that no restitution has ever been made for such losses.
He also regretted that Igbos, apart from deaths in such crises, had lost property valued at trillions of naira during such attacks in the North.
The Igbo leader told the Northern Elders to exhibit more caution and wisdom in addressing such sensitive national issues, rather than stoke further the fires of ethnic violence by making claims capable leading to the break down of law and order in Nigeria.
According to Attamah, ‘[Nwodo] reminded them that knowing that Nigeria is now a tinderbox, especially with the heightened frayed nerves arising from the unfortunate mismanagement of the fabric of the nation, caution should be the watchword.
‘Chief Nwodo further reminded Prof Abdullahi that at the twilight of his life, he should espouse salutary views that should bind and heal the wounds of the country so that he will leave behind a better and united Nigeria.’