The Ohaneaeze Ndigbo, Monday, frowned at a recent statement by the senior special adviser on media to the president, Mallam Garba Shehu, which condenmed killings of non-South- Easterners in the region.
Shehu had stated that, “President Muhammadu Buhari condemned in strong terms the recent attacks against non-indigenes and law enforcement officials by terrorists in the South East, calling on the ‘community and religious leaders to speak more forcefully against the killings and to stand up and defend the ethos of the nation’s cultural and religious heritage’.”
Ohanaeze, in a release by its national publicity secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, viewed the statement as insinuating the South East ‘as a haven for terrorists that attack non-indigenes and law enforcement officials’.
Such, according to Ohanaeze, implied ‘that the insecurity persists because the leaders have not forcefully spoken’.
Quoting the release, “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.
“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 the Boko Haram in the North East; the banditry in the North West, especially in Katsina State; the Fulani herdsmen’s 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.”
Ohanaeze narrated cases of insecurity in the country, and called on the presidency not to isolate the cases in the South East as unique.
Dr Ogbonnia said, “When insecurity manifests in the North West, it is a national problem; but when on the other hand, it occurs in the South East, it is blamed on the inability of the ‘community and religious leaders to speak more forcefully against the killings and to stand up and defend the ethos of the nation’s cultural and religious heritage’.
“The Igbo possess the greatest wanderlust as well as the most hospitable dispositions amongst the various ethnics in the world. The non-indigenes in the South East enjoy untrammeled friendliness, inter-ethnic assimilation and conducive business environment; what happened to the non-indigenes in the South East is most regrettable as part of the current national calamity.
“One would think that the inevitable consequences of the orchestrated mendacious propaganda, dubiety, subterfuge, sabotage and serial alienation against the South East of Nigeria are already staring us in the face.”
He quoted the governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, as saying, “The marginalisation of the South-East geopolitical zone by the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is crazy and unprecedented.
“I feel sad and disturbed each time I see the Igbo crying of marginalization. The federal government has been unfair to the Igbo. In all socio-economic activities is like the Igbo are not part of the nation.”
Ohanaeze warned that, “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 a national problem 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.
“Both history and current events in the country must have shown that unjust policies against the just shall ultimately vindicate the just.”