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Ohanaeze to presidency: It’s ethnic prejudice to insinuate that Igbo know gunmen in south-east

Ohanaeze to presidency: It’s ethnic prejudice to insinuate that Igbo know gunmen in south-east
August 08
20:02 2022

Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-political organisation, has accused the presidency of “ethnic prejudice” regarding the latter’s recent comment on attacks in the south-east.

Communities in the south-east have come under attacks in recent months, with the latest being the invasion of a police station in Agwa, Oguta LGA of Imo state, which led to the killing of four officers.

In another attack that reportedly occurred on August 1, some Nigeriens were said to have been killed in Orogwe community in Owerri, the Imo capital.

Reacting to the attacks in a statement by Garba Shehu, his spokesman, on Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying “those who know should point at specific people who did this”.

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However, in a statement on Monday, Chiedozie Ogbonnia, spokesperson of Ohanaeze, said the protection of lives and property is the responsibility of the government.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide joins the Presidency and indeed the good people of Nigeria in condemning this dastardly act that occurred at Imo State, South East of Nigeria. Ohanaeze has repeatedly explained that amongst the Igbo, human life is very sacred,” the statement reads.

“The sanctity of life is so elevated that killing of a human being in whatever circumstance is considered an abomination. In fact, it is not in the character of the Igbo to kill in whatever disguise.

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“These recent developments are indeed very much alien to the reflexes, culture and norms of the South East. And we have often called on the Nigerian security operatives to ensure that the perpetrators of such acts are brought to book as a deterrent to others. Surely, the failure of the Nigerian security agents to fish out the criminals cannot be blamed on the Igbo.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo, however, frowns at the statement by the Presidency which is nuanced against the South East as a haven for terrorists that attack non-indigenes and law enforcement officials; implying that the insecurity persists because the leaders have not forcefully spoken. This is very unfair to the Igbo, especially when the presidency knows the root cause and the nature of the insecurity in the South East.

“It needs to be added that the solution to the insecurity in the South East lies in the enormous powers of the presidency. The above remarks by the presidency appear to have ignored the prolonged open war with Boko Haram in the North East; the Banditry in the North West, especially in Katsina State; the Fulani Herdsmen invasion of several communities in the Middle Belt region; the Church massacre at Owo; the daily kidnappings on our highways; the Kaduna-Abuja train abduction.

“How do we fight insecurity by appointment of service chiefs based on ethnocentric and religious considerations as against the best global practices of military competence?  Put differently, how can the South East be excluded among the over 16 service chiefs in the Nigerian armed and paramilitary forces and expect insecurity not to fester?

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“It is very uncharitable, if not mischievous, to poison undiscerning minds by insinuating that non-indigenes and security officials are killed by the terrorists in the South East.

“On the other hand, to appropriate national problems to the South East of Nigeria is an ethnic prejudice taken too far. Invariably, banditry in the North Central persists because their leaders have not forcefully spoken or rather they are publicly celebrated and turbaned or still, offered the Sheik Gumi option.”



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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