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Ohanaeze Ndigbo has stoutly condemned the destruction of properties owned by Yoruba people particularly in Lagos State.
Ohanaeze also dissociated itself from the vituperations of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on happenings in Lagos regarding the #EndSARS protests.
The apex socio-cultural and political body of Ndigbo further condemned attempt to trigger inter-tribal war between Igbo and Yoruba, following the ethnic colouration being given the genuine protests by Nigerian youths.
President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo, in a statement, decried a statement by a pan-Yoruba Group, the Apapo O’odua Koya (AOKOYA) on the ongoing youths protest in Nigeria especially in Lagos as it related to Igbo youths.
Nwodo’s statement read: “We are ready to vehemently resist this in our time knowing the historical affinity of these two great ethnic groups dating back to the days of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe through to the famous hand shake across the Niger propagated by our iconic leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu.
This spontaneous relationship built by our forefathers over the years has been strengthened in the last three years by the political emancipation movement, being propelled by the Southern And Middle Belt leadership Forum (SMBLF) made up of four ethno- political bodies of Ndigbo, in the South East, Afenifere in the South West, PANDEF in the South South and the Middle Belt Forum in the North Central Nigeria.
Ohanaeze feels based on intelligence available to it that the motive of this disturbing statement is not only to over take the mileage covered by this group in setting their people free from the hegemonic bondage but to ensure its destruction.
Ndigbo are focused and unequivocal about what they want in a contemporary Nigeria as already articulated in the terms of engagement of this group which is to restructure Nigeria for a true federal system where Justice and equity will reign.
We therefore wish to refute any position being ascribed to Ndigbo even if such position is being adduced by an Igbo that is not within the realm of the struggle to free Nigeria as encapsulated in the terms of agreement of this ethnic nationalities.
Ohanaeze will therefore wish to urge the Yoruba and indeed the rest of Nigeria to disregard any outburst from anybody as coming from Ndigbo that is not as succinctly captured in the terms of agreement of the ethnic nationalities.
It’s, therefore, against this backdrop that Ohanaeze Ndigbo wishes to vehemently deny the allegation of Igbo youth involvement in Lagos #Endsars protest as part of a grand design to destroy Yoruba economy.
For the obvious reason of having most of their businesses scattered all over the country particularly in Lagos, knocks out the thinking of an Igbo setting out to destroy another person’s economy. Only a fool living in a glass house uses stone to settle scores.
Already, as it had always been during every crisis in Nigeria, Igbo businesses are target as happened last Tuesday in Abuja when car depots, belonging to Igbos was set ablaze by hoodlums.
Ohanaeze believes and empirically too that Ndigbo youths underlying reasons for getting involved in the on-going #EndSARS protests is not anything different from the reasons of other youths in Nigeria which borders on aggravated neglect of Nigeria youths due to poor governance rooted in dubious political structure.
We, therefore, wish to urge the Yoruba ethnic group to disregard the position being pushed by the AOKOYA because it’s not based on facts and reality on ground.”
Plan to pit Igbo against Yoruba malicious
In a separate reaction, the Lagos chapter flayed destruction of public and private property in the state and other parts of the country.
It described as unfortunate the degeneration of a peaceful protest by Nigerian youths to violence, to the extent that lives and properties have been lost.
In a statement by Everest Ozonweke, it expressed worry that the protest, which saw Nigerian youths from all parts united in their quest to draw attention of government to certain misgivings was being given ethnic colouration.
It condemned the attempt by some people to pit Igbo against Yoruba in Lagos State with insinuation that Southeasterners were the ones destroying property of Yoruba.
‘This twist of events is highly unfortunate and unacceptable. It’s nothing but malicious lies from pit of hell and illusive imagination of agents of destabilisation. We condemned this in its entirety. Thank God we are in the age of social media where evidences and facts are not far fetched.’
Condemning the attempt to blame Igbo for the destruction of property in Lagos, Ohanaeze said Southeasterners have no cause whatsoever to attack their Sourh West brothers and sisters as they ‘have maintained strong synergy with the Yoruba.”
Pointing out how Igbo and Yoruba work together, the group said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere have been in strong alliance in the Southern Nigeria leaders forum, which includes the PANDEF and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria, respectively. We share a common value in life, peaceful coexistence and unity among our people.’
‘Ohanaeze condemned the shooting of protesters at Lekki toll plaza, saying: “Our heart bleeds and goes out to our falling heroes, the Nigerian youths who paid the supreme price at Lekki tollgate, even as we condemned the atrocious act in strongest terms. We are in full solidarity with our torchbearers, the Nigerian youths, the pride of our nation that are still hanging unto our National Flag, the very symbol of our oneness. They are the hope of greater Nigeria.’
It also condemned the destruction of public and private facilities in Lagos State, while calling for “calm and total restrain from hate speeches and action that may lead to further breach of public peace in the state.”
IPI urges govt to protect journalists
The International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, has urged the Nigerian government to ensure security of media outlets and journalists following attacks on offices of five media houses in Lagos.
The offices of The Nation, Channel TVC, Radio Lagos, Eko FM and Traffic FM were attacked by demonstrators who have been protesting against police brutality for over two weeks.
‘We condemn in the strongest terms possible the wanton destruction of media assets by protesters’, IPI Nigeria National Committee Chair Kabiru Yusuf said.
While we recognise the right of any aggrieved Nigerian to seek redress through lawful means, including peaceful protests, assault on media houses is dangerous and unacceptable.
Protestorsset fireto the office of Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation, on Wednesday evening after invading the premises. Some of the vehicles parked in the premises were also set afire and the intruders looted computers and other office equipment, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, Victor Ifijeh said in a statement.
Similarly, attackers set ablaze the office of TVC Network in another part of Lagos. The offices of Radio Lagos, Eko FM and Traffic FM were also attacked.Meanwhile, another prominent TV network, Channels TV, briefly went off air fearing attack by protestors.
The government should immediately provide security to all media organizations and ensure the safety of journalists in Lagos and in other parts of the country where protests are taking place”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said.
‘It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that journalists and media outlets can do their job in reporting on events of public interest without fear.’
Shooting of protesters tragic –SESSPN
The South East South South Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN) has described the killings and brutalisation of unarmed peaceful protesters in Lagos and across the country as a tragic calamity. The group, in a statement by Hannibal Uwaifo and Collins Steve Ugwu, president and publicity secretary respectively, challenged the international community to rise to the duty of humanity by putting pressure on President Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to be accountable to his oath of office and forestall further deliberate atrocities.
‘This heinous wickedness of blood spilling, as a discredited pattern of crowd control, is a dumped global misnomer, and goes to show rather shamefully, that reason, empathy and common sense continue to be scarce at the precincts of our governments and power corridors. We therefore urgently call for a quick rethink and immediate halt, to this bizarre mindset, that propels the lust of our security agencies to feed their people to the monster of life snuffing bullets.’