• Want referendum in constitution
• IPOB flays Osinbajo’s comment on agitation
• Acting president warns quit notice givers, northern govs demand arrest
Perturbed by the October 1 quit order, an Igbo group, Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) has appealed to the United Nations (UN) for protection for the easterners residing in the northern part of the country.
In a petition to the world body, the youths also called for a commencement of steps towards a referendum in Igbo land as the way to a peaceful separation of the people from the rest of Nigeria.
The petition entitled “A call for emergency in Nigeria –Our two-point demand”, they said, was in response to the letter to acting President Yemi Osinbajo by the Arewa youths, in which they insisted on the October 1 deadline for the Igbo to vacate the northern region.
They said the nation, from every indication, was “unworkable”, stressing that something serious needed to be done to avert bloodbath.
The petition signed by the group’s National President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike (national secretary), Amb. Arthur Obiora (deputy national president), Obinna Adobe (national publicity secretary) was copied to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, the United States Embassy in Nigeria, United Kingdom Embassy, Commonwealth and the Amnesty International, among others.
According to the youths, the lives of Igbo people in every part of northern Nigeria are now “at a very high risk” despite the assurances of the various levels of government.
The petition obtained by The Guardian in Enugu reads in part: “It is with great concern that we alert the international community of (sic) the looming genocide against the Igbo in the northern part of Nigeria, occasioned by a well-orchestrated, carefully thought-after plot by the northern hierarchy, who are hiding under the Arewa youths.
“Their latest ranting, which they packaged as a letter to the Acting President has left no one in doubt as to their motive: A grand design to annihilate the Igbo race. This, they want to achieve so easily through the well packaged false history, which they have now dished out to gullible minds in order to create a passion (sic) hatred for the Igbo in the minds of their people and thereby easily achieve the October 1 planned mayhem against our people.
“How else could one justify their attempt to stab history in the back by labeling the first military coup in Nigeria as an Igbo coup? How else could people twist history than their justifying the pogrom against the Igbo between 1966 and 1967, which eventually led to the civil war? In what measure can one justify the insult on (sic) our late leaders, in the persons of Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi and Late (sic) Col. Chukwuemeka Odumewgu Ojukwu?
“In Igbo land, we have respect not only for the elders, but more so for the dead and it is for that purpose that we chose not to go further into this matter. Truth can never be changed. However, we must let these youths and their pay-masters know that contrary to their claims, our people have made much more sacrifices for the unity of this country, starting from the late Owelle of Onitsha, Nnamdi Azikiwe.
“To also justify their planned killing of every Igbo man remaining with the Biafra agitation amounts to hypocrisy of the highest magnitude. May we remind them for over a decade now, the Boko Haram did not just declare war on the Nigerian State but has gone ahead to seize territories, killed thousands and rendered millions of people homeless, yet nobody has branded it an action signed by the entire north. “Besides, like the Arewa youths pointed out in their hypocritical letter, the Biafra agitators have their demand for self-determination found in so many charters, including that of the UN, for which Nigeria is a signatory to. Where does the Boko Haram derive its own right to be engaging in mass murder?
“Our point here, however, is not on the propriety or otherwise of the attempt by Boko Haram to take over every Nigerian territory or the Biafra agitation, but the difficult attempt by the Arewa youths to link every Igbo man with the activities of the IPOB. If it is so, suffice it to say that all of them are members of the Boko Haram sect.
“May we also state that contrary to their claims that Ndigbo were being accommodated in every part of the country, our people have continued to be slaughtered like chickens, especially in the north, without justifiable reason. The case of Mrs. Bridget Agbahime, a pastor’s wife, who was murdered in cold blood will speak against these youths. The manner her case was muzzled by the Kano State Government will make her blood to cry forever against her shameless murderers.
“We, therefore, alert your attention (sic) to another impending massacre of the Igbo, especially with thick rumour of arms being stock-piled in the north in readiness for action. It is even more painful considering un-denied claims that some security personnel were aiding the smuggling of these sophisticated arms through the porous land borders in the north.
“Suffice it to say that the lives of our people are now at a great risk. It does appear that the pogrom of the 60s is here to repeat itself. There are indications that they are only waiting for the whistle to be blown for them to unleash another round of terror on our people.
“Giving the above, we urge the United Nations to beam its satellite on the northern Nigeria ahead of any eventuality that may befall our people. Considering the manner the security agencies have handled these endless threats, it is unlikely that they may protect our people when these marauders will strike.
“Secondly and very importantly too, having seen that Igbo have remained the victims of this marriage called Nigeria, despite our sacrifices, we demand that the on-going constitutional amendment will not be acceptable should it not make provision for a referendum. It is high time people are (sic) given freedom to decide whether they want to remain in a country where they are neither loved nor wanted but hated with passion.”
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu condemned what it called the distasteful statement credited to the Acting President Osinbajo that exercising their God-given and inalienable right to self determination is in violation of the provisions of the “General Abdulsalami Abubakar 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.”
The group alleged that Osinbajo’s statement confirmed the widely held view that African leaders lack the mental capacity and discipline to operate a constitutional democracy in a modern world, insisting that if the Acting President continued to heed the evil counsel by using threatening language when addressing IPOB, they would be ready to go to prison.
In a statement yesterday in Awka, the Media and Publicity Secretary for IPOB, Emma Powerful argued that if the corrupt ruling class in Nigeria could not distinguish between those rights that are sacrosanct, such as freedom of association and freedom of expression under which IPOB operates, then the entire political edifice in Nigeria is a monumental mess.
IPOB suggested that somebody should draw the attention of Osinbajo to the provisions of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which Nigeria ratified and went ahead to domesticate into her local laws.
Meanwhile, Osinbajo has warned that the Federal Government would not hesitate to deploy its agencies against any group that threatens Nigeria’s togetherness and territorial integrity.
Giving the warning at the continuation of the meeting with traditional rulers from the 19 northern states in Abuja yesterday, Osinbajo who is scheduled to meet with the 36 state governors today, also assured that the current administration would not take the diversity of the country for granted.
He appealed to the monarchs to counsel misguided elements among the youths in their domain against ethnic bigotry and other tendencies capable of causing confrontation.
Also yesterday, the 19 northern governors assured Igbo that their lives and property are safe, while demanding the arrest of the youths who gave the quit order.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State who spoke on behalf of the northern governors during a meeting with a delegation of the Igbo Delegate Assembly at the Government House yesterday said the arrest of the Arewa youths who signed the quit notice would serve as a deterrent to others.
While urging Igbo leaders to caution their youths against making inciting statements and agitations capable of dividing Nigeria, he said Kaduna State had abolished indigenship.
“The Arewa youths behind the ultimatum will not only be arrested but will be prosecuted.
“Kaduna State Government is grateful to the Igbo for coming, Kaduna has suffered so much crisis, so we are very sensitive to comments that incite and cause disaffection among the people.
“Kaduna used to be a home for all, but so much crisis has divided the state and the metropolis across religious lines. As a government, that is why we abolish indigeneship, once you live in Kaduna you are an indigene.”
Two weeks after a coalition of northern youths gave the quit notice to Igbo which necessitated calls for their arrest, the police yesterday said they were yet to effect any arrest.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja said that so far, no arrest had been made.