From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development (CONEPD) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being unfair for excluding the South-East in the recent appointments of the federal Service Chiefs, describing it as an ‘injustice being done to the Igbo nation’.
CONEPD National Coordinator Engr Zana Goni, in a statement, called on President Buhari to review the appointment to favour the South-East zone in a bid to give them a sense of belonging.
‘We also wish to draw the attention of our Northern elders to the continual injustice being done to the Igbo nation over the just concluded appointments of service chiefs in the country where no Igbo man from South East was appointed in two straight appointments of service chiefs.
‘These appointments to us, remain insensitive and remain unfair until Mr President exercises his discretion by reviewing it to include at least an Igbo officer from South-East.
‘Igbos are more Nigerians, more reliable than most tribes in Nigeria. Go to any state and village in Nigeria, you will see an Igbo man doing business there.
‘How can we continue to accuse such people of not believing in Nigeria? Is it because of the actions of one fugitive known as Nnamdi Kanu and his group, IPOB and which notable groups, leaders and stakeholders have all come out to denounce several times?
‘As it stands in Nigeria today, every region has one security challenge with some groups championing and nobody is holding it against the region. Why is the Igbos’ own different? Why are some mischievous people using IPOB to judge the loyalty of Igbo to Nigeria? Is this fair? Obviously no.
‘We believe it is nepotism that is playing out against the Igbos and we appeal to President Buhari to write his name in gold by correcting these wrongs against the South-East.
‘We humbly appeal to all Northern elders, stakeholders, opinion leaders to come out and speak for South-East people at this time because what goes around must come around.
‘Bringing Igbo into the core security architecture would have naturally given them some sense of belonging and some of these unnecessary agitations would naturally die down.
‘It is sad that Igbo people cannot hold some appointments in this country since the inception of this government and this must he addressed soonest for justice and equity to reign.’
Goni restated his unflinching support to President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC-led federal administration in the country.
He appealed to Nigerians to be patient and believe in the Buhari government, saying the president was taking steps to addressing the current challenges especially insecurity confronting Nigeria.
This is even as he berated stakeholders in the region over what they described as their long silence in the face of unbearable criminal acts by herdsmen across the country thereby denting the image of the region.
‘We are deeply concerned about the wanton and brazen criminal activities of some of our Fulani kinsmen and the shameful loud conspiracy of silence by some of our notable northern elders and stakeholders that should have risen up to speak against the evil acts.
‘These despicable acts by some of our kinsmen masquerading as herdsmen is highly condemnable, and we must begin to speak out against them now if we must be taken seriously in Nigeria.
‘The activities of some of these criminal herders started like a joke and because we kept quiet which showed that we were rather supporting them, they heightened their actions which have regrettably gotten us in this present situation.
‘In every part of the country now, Fulanis have been tagged as the people behind Kidnappings, armed robbery and other violent crimes.
‘While we must acknowledge that they may be some local collaborators, Fulanis remain the masterminds and arrowheads in most criminal activities going on across the country today”,”this is highly unacceptable and must be stopped now.
‘The unhealthy drum of war that is currently raging in Nigeria today is greatly caused by the insecurity perpetrated by actions of these our brothers and the continued silence of our elite. Threat to peace anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere and this is why we must speak out now.
‘We strongly commend some of our Northern clerics who have risen to this occasion and have started speaking out to the Fulani community, especially sheikh Gumi. This singular act and many more is commendable and should be sustained.’