By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Some Northern elders have described as unfortunate a statement credited to Prof. Ango Abdullahi, to the effect that many people from northern part of the country were killed in the South East during the #EndSARS protests.
The elders condenmed the statement and said it is “false, unfortunate, insensitive, callous and meant to instigate Nigerians against one other”.
The elders operating under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, said that Abdullahi acted on his own and not the general position of Northern elders as he portrayed.
The statement signed by the group’s National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni and National Women Leader, Hajia Mario Bichi urged Northerners and Southerners to ignore this statement in its entirety.
They lamented that the statement by Abdullahi came at a time Nigerians had put to past the ugly civil war experiences and were building bridges and working on consolidating national reconciliation was the least unfortunate.
“We wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the statement credited to a well-read and respected elder statesman from our region, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, to the effect that Igbo people killed many northerners in the South East during the #EndSARS protest which was hijacked by some sponsored criminal elements.
“This statement is false, unfortunate, insensitive, callous and meant to instigate Nigerians against one other. Making this unfounded claim, especially at a time Nigerians had worked past the ugly civil war experiences and are building bridges and consolidating on national reconciliation, is the least unfortunate.
“We wish to let Nigerians know that Prof. Ango Abdullahi’s statement was his personal opinion and did not represent the position of Northern Elders as he had portrayed, ” the statement read.
They further said “We expect that an elder statesman of his status with such level of education ought to have known the difference between criminality and ethnic agenda.
“What happened in some South East states was a pure act of criminality and not an Igbo agenda and was not peculiar to the region.”
“How can he say Igbo people killed Northerners? Nothing can be more misleading than this.”
“People were killed and properties destroyed in several parts of the country including some parts of the North. It is unfair to attribute this act of some misguided deviants as a collective Igbo agenda.”
“It is an established facts that during and after the uprising, so many Igbo group rose to condemn the attacks by these criminals and even shared intelligence with security agencies which led to the arrest of so many of these misguided youths.
“Prominent groups in Igbo land also condemned the activities of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in public. So we wonder where Prof. Ango got his fact from,” they further said.
The elders made an appeal for Nigerians to eschew divisive statements “It is our humble appeal that we guide our comments especially those capable of igniting hate across the country.”
“We must continue to preach national unity and work together to defeat criminality in our country instead of attributing such act to a particular region,” they tasked.
“We therefore call our Northern and Southern brother to ignore this statement in its entirety,” they said.