*Calls on DSS to arrest conveners of Arewa youth coalition for incitement of violence against Igbo in northern Nigeria
Prominent Civil Rights Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has called for consistency in the new posture of President Muhammadu Buhari to explore the option of dialogues as a way to resolve the fiasco over agitation for self determination in the South East Championed by the outlawed indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB).
The Rights group however carpeted the governors and political leaders of South East of Nigeria over their recent resolution in denunciation of the agitation for self determination by the indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and other similar groups in the Igbo speaking region of Nigeria.
HURIWA said it was illogical for South East governors who were initially instrumental to the proscription of the peaceful and unarmed indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) before it was later proscribed nationally by President Muhammadu Buhari, to pretend not to know how significant the agitation for self-government not just in Igbo speaking areas but even in the South West of Nigeria, has become.
“It is a big incurable fallacy for the South East governors to live in denial and say they do not recognize IPOB’S agitation for self determination but on another breath to set up committees on dialogues with the same agitators.”
“The most logical step is for South East governors to undo the illegal banning of IPOB in South East that they did before President Buhari took it a notch further, and after unbanning IPOB, the South East governors can then be in a better frame of mind logically to convince President Buhari to withdraw the national proscription of IPOB as a terrorist group and the proper constructive dialogue can take place in an atmosphere of mutual understanding”. “In as much as we believe in a united Nigeria but these agitations from all over means that Nigeria’s status quo is unjust and unfair and should be restructured”.
HURIWA said there exists no reasonable ground for the proscription of IPOB when it is notorious that they are non violent and indeed all the alleged violent actions attributed to them by the police and Army have been denied by them and also the same organisation enjoys global legal recognition. Besides, why has Muhammadu Buhari’s administration refused to proscribe Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association which backs armed Fulani herdsmen as a terrorist group but has maintained the ban on IPOB? The South East leaders ought to engage IPOB and others to step down their agitations for break up of Nigeria but to opt for fundamental restructuring of the Country instead “.
“We commend President Buhari for finally seeing the need for dialogues. We hope he will be consistent and not treat it like the way he is handling the concept of restructuring which he promised during his campaigns and the All-Progressive Congress even set up the governor El Ruffai – led committee on restructuring, but only for the same President to castigate campaigners of restructuring few days back. So consistency is needed on this issue of dialogue, we hope Mr. President actually promised to adopt dialogue as was reported to Nigerians by his labour Minister Chris Ngige”.
Relatedly, the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) read to our utmost chagrin and disappointment the ill-omened Press Statement authored by one nebulous group going by the name, Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), signed by its Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman. In a nutshell, the Group said that only referendum for Igbo exit can guarantee peaceful Nigeria.
The Northern Coalition wanted Nigerians to see as hypocritical desperation the efforts of the Igbo leaders to deescalate the Biafra agitation and reassure Nigerians of the Etnic group’s commitment to one Nigeria. To Coalition said the Igbos leaders are only trying to buy time in order to restrategise for a deadlier onslaught for actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, accusing them of complicity and duplicity in propping up the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its secession agenda.
The Northern Coalition stated: “With the level of commitment of the Igbo public to the point of young men killing their parents who dared oppose Kanu’s activities, the rest of the country cannot be expected to accept to continue as a nation with the Igbo on the apparent weakness of the assurances of a handful of affrighted Igbo leaders.”
This Press Statement of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), is nothing but a deliberate subterfuge, red-herring and ethnic profiling carefully designed to put the Igbos on the spot and reopen the wounds of the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War with the aim to discredit the campaign for Nigerian President of Igbo Extraction. As if determined to clear any doubt in this regard, the Group noted that Ndigbo ought to count themselves lucky that since they lost the civil war, they ought to suffer more severe marginalization. In their words; “the vanquished in a civil war are always oppressed, marginalized and don’t enjoy the privileges of equal citizenship for decades afterwards”. To this Northern coalition therefore Igbos cannot be equal citizens with the rest of Nigerians and can only take whatever is thrown to them as the vanquished.
HURIWA wishes to observe that the ethnic profiling of Ndigbo being promoted lately by some known Northern leaders and some amorphous groups is an ill-wind that will blow no one any good. Apart from the Colaition of Northern Groups, Hakin Baba Ahmed recently made the same call for an Igbo referendum on behalf Northern Elders Forum. That other call for Igbo referendum came about the same time that a serving Northern Senator to the same Igbo ethnic group that they would get war if that was what they wanted.
It is important to remind those profiling other ethnic groups and calling for Igbo referendum, that it is not only Biafra secessionist agitation that is going in the country. A section of the Yoruba nation is calling for Oduduwa Republic, while Boko Haram terrorism has the simple objective of creating an Islamic Republic in the North East. What could be more secessionist than such? And how come such groups are not calling for Yoruba Referendum or a referendum for an Islamic state in the North East if indeed their motivation is partiotic and in good faith?
While HURIWA does not support any form of secessionist agenda, the point being made is that singling out the Igbos for condemnation is clear case of scapegoating – giving dog a bad name in order to hang it. It is important to further noted that the Igbo leaders cannot be held responsible for Biafra agitation any more than the Northern leaders should be held responsible for the activities secessionists and terrorists like Abubakar Shekau and Boko Haram or for banditry. It is the primary duty of Government to deal such problems within the laws of the land. Nnamdi Kanu for example does not live in Igbo land but in Britain and only the government of Nigeria can approach the British government if indeed they want to hold anybody accountable. Igbo ethnic group cannot deal with Britain as a country even if they want to and cannot apply for Nnamdi Kanu’s extradition.
HURIWA therefore sees the call for Igbo referendum on the account Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB activities as being orchestrated in bad faith and carefully calculated to set up the Igbo ethnic group to be decimated once again, as was the case with the first military coup in which soldiers of many ethnic groups participated. Yet, it was tagged an Igbo coup planned and executed to enthrone Igbo hegemony. Igbos as a result of this evil coloration given the First Coup where visited with pogroms and ultimately the civil war which claimed over 2 m of them.
Contrary to the claims of this Northern Coalition, marginalization for the South East is real and something needs to be done about it by the government of the day. Beyond the marginalization of the Igbos which the coalition shockingly says is justified for losing the war, this northern Coalition needs to be reminded that Nigeria as presentl constituted is not working anybody, including the North. If Nigeria were working, there will be no Boko Haram terrorism and armed banditry ravaging the North. These are worse centrifugal forces tearing the country down much than the activities of IPOB.
Those calling for Igbo Referendum ought to worry more about why secessionist agitations are springing up all over the country and not create the impression that it is a sole Biafra or Igbo franchise. They should not continue to justify the current repressive system of unitarism, social injustice and faulty lines of our fumbling country. Such groups if indeed they are fired by patriotic zeal, need to help Nigeria to urgently restore true federalism through massive devolution of powers, egalitarianism, social justice, equity and fair play. They needed to be reminded that perpetuation this current inequitable skewed and extortionist system that is alien to all known principles of federalism, because it benefits a section of the country will never permit peace and development in Nigeria. Scapegoating the Igbos will not solve the problem; it can only exacerbate it.
Reminding the Igbos that they must keep quiet because they have investments all over Nigeria is equally unfortunate. Apart from recent remarks including that of President Muhammadu Buhari calling the Igbos a mere dot in the circle that is Nigeria, the Northern coalition, equally stated, “From Kano to Port Harcourt, to Lagos, the Igbo continue to keep and expand their trades and businesses and enjoy a 60 per cent monopoly of the total available commercial, financial, banking and insurance activities. On the other hand, people of the other regions, particularly northerners, could only run small businesses and do menial jobs as the level of hate and uncertainty has denied a favourable atmosphere in the Southeast for any other ethnic nationality to flourish in commerce, education or any other enterprise.”
HURIWA urges the Igbos to continue to play the role of being the glue that holds Nigeria together, to continue to develop wherever they find themselves. They should not succumb to the emotional blackmail being orchestrated by some self-serving individuals and groups to frustrate them out of Nigeria, a nation they have laboured more than any other ethnic group in the country to build.
HURIWA blamed Arewa group for the murder of the Igbo private medical practitioner in Niger State few days ago, Dr. Precious Chinedu in Salka town of Magama Local Government Area of Niger State. HURIWA said the persistent incitement to commit violence against Ndigbo in the Northern states being promoted by the group aforementioned and other notable Northern politicians but sadly the DSS see Northerners are UNTOUCHABLES AND SACRED COWS.
HURIWA recalled that Dr. Chinedu, the proprietor of a private medical facility in Salka town was reportedly killed by the masked gunmen and his remains abandoned in the bush.
The six gunmen according to the report stormed Precious’ hospital at about 9p.m. demanding for him. Immediately Precious was identified, he was taken away only for his remains to be found in the bush the next day.
It was said that a report was immediately made to the police in the area but no action was taken.
A staff of the deceased said “When they took the doctor away we reported to the police and the local vigilante.
“The following day (Thursday afternoon) the vigilante called us that they have seen a corpse inside the bush and we were able to identify it as that of our oga.”