By Ikenna Emewu
The Igbo interest pressure group, Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), has called on the entire Igbo population in Igbo land to do no harm to strangers living in the South East of Nigeria.
The call came after rumours of molestation and targeting of some non-Igbo especially northerners, at the wake of the Nigerian Army invasion of the South East since September 10.
ADF further charged the law enforcement to do their best and protect strangers resident in Igbo land from any attack and also ensure that whoever involves in such attack as rumoured in the media is punished in accordance with the law.
A statement from the leadership of the body cautioned that: “In spite of the present grave provocations, humiliations and slaughter in our homeland – PLEASE DO NO HARM TO YOUR GUESTS, those from other parts of Nigeria who dwell peacefully with you. Give them, their wives and children shelter and protection. Do no harm to them. Do no harm or attack their homes, businesses, their places of worship or recreation. But be vigilant.”
Remember that in Arewa land many of their citizens, especially the commoners, are treated unfairly too, so remember those on whose behalf the Great Aminu Kano, one time friend of the Great Zik of Africa, fought – the Talakawas. The Talakawas, the Christians and the Igbo and other nationalities from the South are victims. Their leaders in the North Central, who like you reject this caste system, have recently cried out to the world that they and their people are victims of the policy of Islamization.”
The ADF reminded Igbo that they are “known all over the world as industrious, peaceful, egalitarian and hospitable people and not for violence. The world also knows that Ndigbo are not cowards. Therefore, protect your families, wives and children, but never you hurt ant strangers among you.
This is another difficult period in our history. But the Igbo have a history of unquenchable thirst for justice, equity and freedom that is being assaulted. Think back at Olauda Equiano, the great slave abolitionist who was once a slave himself, or King Jaja of Opobo who fought European slavery – what about the 1929 Igbo Women Rebellion against colonialism? Think of Dunbar Creek in St James Island, USA, where thirteen (13) Igbo citizens drowned themselves rather than become slaves; Haiti, and the 1967–70 Biafra War was not a war against Nigeria alone. It was a war with the great military powers of the world.”
That war was lost, not only because it was against an overwhelming alliance of superior forces. It was lost mainly because the leadership of Ndigbo did not appreciate the political and diplomatic dynamics of the world at the time. Above all, they did not appreciate the wisdom of the Biblical David and Goliath in combat. It is futile and suicidal to confront a heavily armed army with bare hands, sticks, bottles and machetes alone.”
If the Nigerian military has invaded our land, do not fall into their traps by rushing into battle with them with empty hands. We must think and rethink our situation vis-a-vis the enemy. Remain at home and come out only when it is absolutely necessary. This is not cowardice.
Things have changed so much since 1967-70. Ndigbo are not alone in the struggle for freedom in Nigeria now. Our friends and neighbours in the non-Arewa north, Yoruba land, the Ijaw and the rest of South-South, do sympathize with our predicament. They too are victims of those who believe that Nigeria is their estate.
“That is a major reason you should not attack strangers, no matter where they come from and never forget that the innocent commoners, even a Hausa Fulani who lives in your land, has no hand in bringing the Nigerian Army to occupy Igbo land, therefore it wouldn’t be wise to attack them. We believe in justice and don’t harm those that did nothing to us.
“Because in the ADF we believe in order and the law, that is why we have filed a suit at the Federal High Court to challenge this development. We don’t subscribe to or encourage violence or injustice against anybody,” the statement signed by Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, Dr. Dozie Ikedife and Prof. Nath Aniekwu made clear.