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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has reacted with fury over what it described as the unprovoked eviction of northerners by officials of the Imo State Government.
The spokesperson of the group, Suleiman Abdul-Azeez, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said in a statement issued yesterday that it has taken stock of events unfolding in Imo State in the past two days, with alleged clear orders to destroy, demolish, burn every structure and asset belonging to the peaceful northern settlers.
The group said: ‘We note how armed detachments of the Nigerian Army, the police and assortments of armed thugs were unleashed by the Governor with clear orders to destroy, demolish, burn every structure and assets belonging to the peaceful northern settlers of three communities from Thursday 27th to Friday 28th July, 2023.’
Abdul-Azeez noted that the latest organised arson in Imo State left in its wake thousands of shops and houses completely burnt, properties worth billions of Naira destroyed and looted, while thousands of northerners living and conducting legitimate businesses were forcefully ejected, displaced and deprived.
He added: ‘The state-sponsored arsonists who arrived without prior notice, heavily armed with assorted arms, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), were bodily saying northerners should leave their land.’
He said the arsonists sacked Nakede Number One and completely destroyed 1300 shops and houses, with the over 2500 inhabitants displaced, dispossessed and run out of legitimate businesses.
‘At Abu Junction Ama Hausa, the largest Northern settlement with a population of 4000 settlers, the arsonists destroyed a total of 3500 shops, 1500 houses, forcing 150 persons back to the North while rendering thousands of others homeless with no means of livelihood.
‘Arungo Park, Onitsha Road, with a total population of over 3000, was also attacked, completely sacked and the residents displaced. It is noteworthy that both Abu Junction and Nakede Number One, which were sacked, have a history of 11 years of existence, and Arugo Park has six years.’
The northern group expressed their condemnation regarding the targeting of northern communities in Imo. They strongly oppose any actions that may lead to their vilification, systematic dehumanization, profiling, or alienation, which could ultimately make them vulnerable to attacks and persecution.
It said the action was not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency and therefore unacceptable.