Monday 25th September, 2017
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That Sultan's excuse for the killing of Ndigbo in Northern Nigeria

That Sultan's excuse for the killing of Ndigbo in Northern Nigeria

The Sultan of Sokoto’s recent visit to Enugu State where he went to felicitate with Enu­gu Rangers as champions of the 2015/2016 NPFL season has been described by a sec­tion of the media and some commentators as a bridge-building one. But then, is it really?
In as much as the visit is commendable, the Sultan himself putrefied his own oil when he said that the reason why Ndigbo are killed when­ever there is a crisis in the north is “because they are the industrious ones found in ev­erywhere and in every village but nobody plans or sends people to kill the Igbos”.
Apart from being ridiculous, it is insulting to the sensibili­ties of the Igbo and horrify­ing to upright members of the society that the reason why a people are usually targeted for mass murder is because of their industry and number. They are not killed because they are bad neighbours; they are not killed because they are trouble makers, they are not killed because they are law breakers; they are killed just because they are industrious and large in number!
This statement by His Royal Highness, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, is a con­firmation of what we have al­ways known: that the Igbo are hated for nothing but jealousy and that most crises in the northern part of Nigeria have been instigated not because of anything serious but as an alibi for a systematic extermi­nation of the Igbo people.
Little wonder then the Igbo are targets of northern Islamic extremists when there is a cri­sis between Israel and Pales­tine in far away Middle East. When some Danes draw a car­toon of Prophet Muhammed in far away Denmark, Ndigbo in Kano, Kaduna and Niger would have to pay for it with their blood. When there is a furore about Nigeria hosting an international beauty con­test in Abuja or Lagos, the Igbo in Zamfara and Yobe would have to be killed and their sources of livelihood destroyed for the message to be passed that such contest is Haram to some people.
When the US bomb Iraq, the Igbo in Adamawa are bombed by northern ele­ments in return. When there is a sharp disagreement be­tween Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is the Igbo in Bauchi that pay for it. When the Sun­nis and the Shi’as have issues with each other in Kaduna or other places, it is a recipe for Igbo sons and daughters to be beheaded in those places even when they are neither Shiites nor Sunnis.
The Igbo people are not only killed by these northern Islamists simply because they can be found ‘everywhere’ according to the Sultan, in most cases, even when they disappear from the theatre of war and go into hiding even in custody of the police, they are desperately but carefully sought after and killed. This has been the lot of Ndigbo especially in the north over a long period of time.
The authorities usually hold no one responsible for these dastardly acts, no one is ar­rested, no one is prosecuted. Even if thousands of Ndigbo are victims of issues they are not in any way connected with, no action is taken against the perpetrators. Media out­rage follows, police look away, northern traditional rulers keep mute, Ndigbo bury their dead, and then they return to continue their businesses without bitterness, without vindictiveness or vengeance in mind, not even anywhere in the South East would there be reprisals. The sun rises (in the east) and sets (in the west), yet, the vicious cycle contin­ues in the north.
In as much as one would want to commend the Sul­tan for his initiative, it would have been better if he had in­sisted that all those who killed Madam Bridget Agbahime, an Igbo indigene, in Kano, be prosecuted. After all, the Sultan who is also the leader of all Muslims in Nigeria said during that visit that justice is panacea for peaceful coexis­tence. If that is the case, what did he say about the manner the case against the alleged murderers of Madam Bridget was withdrawn and the sus­pects let go just like that de­spite the hue and cry that fol­lowed that macabre murder of a harmless septuagenarian, despite the promise by the police, state and federal gov­ernments to ensure the killers face the law?
The Sultan’s visit would have made more sense if he had vis­ited Kano and insist that those killers be brought to book as panacea for peace. But no, he goes to beg the victims of his people’s murderous activities to accept their fate as the one that naturally befalls an indus­trious people with large popu­lations. It is quite ridiculous!
Like the Sultan rightly ob­served, it is the continued ab­sence of justice that has caused the unending agitations in the South East which is growing louder by the day and have started receiving the attention of the international commu­nity to the consternation of antagonists of the agitations.
Unless the Sultan, his co-traditional and religious lead­ers, state and federal govern­ment officials of northern origin stop carrying about as if they own Nigeria and re­lent from skewing justice and development against those they perceive as their subor­dinates, such visits of the emir would only remain a journey of monumental hypocrisy de­signed to make vigilant and courageous Igbo sons and daughters let down their guard while terrorist herdsmen from the Sultan’s enclave run riots even in the south east unchal­lenged while they kidnap and kill even colleague-traditional rulers in the Delta.
The governors may have laughed with him and that is because he went to felicitate with Rangers International of Enugu. That we understand. When the Sultan is serious about justice and peace, we will know. For now, the bridge he went to Enugu to build re­mains of paper quality blown away by the wind as soon as he started the work.
Ndukwe wrote through jrn­dukwe@yahoo.co.uk;
Twitter: StJudeNdukwe

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