Ohanaeze Gen Secretary condemns Destruction of Lagos, warn Kanu
By Ajayi Okunola
Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Friday condemned the killings and destruction of property in Lagos.In a statement signed by the groups Secretary General, Dim Uche Okwukwu Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the killings and destruction of properties represent a savage attack on the heritage of Yoruba and Nigeria at large. He said since the incidence he has received thousands of calls from home and abroad including the international community calling for his intervention.
Ohanaeze said the protests in Lagos was peaceful and did not require the use of force. The group called on the various state governments to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the killings. Ohanaeze condemned the attacks on the property of former Lagos Governor Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu saying that it represented the worst form of cruelty.
The group said the arson and wanton destruction of the economic nerve centre of Yoruba Nation could not have been perpetrated by #ENDSARs protesters by common criminals that should be made to face the wrath of the law.
Ohanaeze came heavily on the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu warning that he represents an extremist trend that should not be pampered but should be exposed before he sets the relationship between Yoruba and Igbo on a path of destruction.
Okwukwu said “The vast majority of Ndigbo are not murders, arsonists, looters, rioters and anti-socials. We condemn the attacks, in unequivocal terms, on peace loving Nigerians by Nnamdi Kalu and his Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. More succinctly, Ndigbo vehemently condemn the attack and destruction of properties” He said it was wrong for Kanu to have called on Igbo to begin the destruction of Lagos.
He said “Honest and responsible organisations should condemn this act. Kanu incited violence. He incited hate. Nigerians and the whole world heard him on audio. This does not in anyway represent the aspiration of Igbo people. We condemn his incitement to violence and carnage. The Igbos are not part of this crime.
According to him, it is not in Igbo culture to destroy the property of another man. Kanu has chosen a dishonorable path and Ndigbo in and out of Nigeria must condemn his inciting statements on Radio Biafra. A race that proffers no protest to or condemnation of the crime committed by its member is privy to such misdeed. Ohanaeze Ndigbo, having taken time to study and analyze what transpired in Lagos State, therefore comes out to clearly condemn the unprovoked attacks on private properties.”
He said the attack on Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu property was callous adding that Tinubu has tried his best to protect the integrity of Igbo economic and political class.
He called on all the security agencies, particularly the Police, Department of State Service, DSS, and the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, to employ all instruments at their disposal to unravel the circumstances and mystery behind the burning of the property of the respected Asiwaju which Kanu claimed responsibility.
Okwukwu said “The Igbo and Yoruba have been partners in progress in the last 300 years. Our first generation elites, namely, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akanu Ibiam, Kingsley Ozurumba Mbadiwe, etc, were all educated in Lagos. The vast majority of prominent Igbo sons also married Yoruba women. Akanu Ibiam’s wife was Yoruba. Prominent Yoruba sons, not limited to Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, also married Igbo woman. When Azikiwe returned to Nigeria from America, a Yoruba, the late Herbert Samuel Macaulay, made him Secretary General of the Nigerian National Democratic Party, NNDP. You can therefore imagine the outrage in Igboland when Kanu urged his followers to attack Yoruba great sons, particularly Lagos State Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu, in their ancestral land. Kanu has crossed the line.
He said further “This is a trying period for Ndigbo. We enjoin all Igbo sons and daughters, as well as all men and women of good will, to condemn Kanu’s genocidal provocation. Anyone who had a hand in the destruction of Asiwaju’s property must be brought to book. Nnamdi Kalu’s endeavor is to scuttle Ndigbo’s presidential ambition. If we don’t have the goodwill and support of Yorubas, if we don’t have Asiwaju on our side, whether you like it or not, we may never get to the promised land.”
He wondered why is it that at every point in time the average Igbo scuttles our presidential project? Who is behind this? Is Kanu acting independently or is the script being written for him by some forces outside Igboland to act against the interests of Ndigbo? It is painful, regrettable and unfortunate as Asiwaju is a great friend and ally of Ndigbo.
Okwukwu said “As governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju retained an Igbo man as Commissioner of Finance for eight years. What is greater than that? In his Lagos, streets are named after prominent Igbo sons and daughters, namely, the Ozurumba Mbadiwe Road, Azikiwe Road, etc. Lagos State has also accommodated Ndigbo far better than any other state in Nigeria. We have Igbos in the Lagos House of Assembly; as well as Igbos representing Lagos in the National Assembly, NASS. Kanu’s attack is not supposed to happen to an Igbo friend who went out of his way to give Ndigbo a sense of belonging in the past 21 years.”
He called on the organisers of ENDSARS protest to call it off as they have lost control and grip of their own enterprise. The group called on the security agencies to take all legitimate, constitutional and democratic measures into bringing the protest to an end without further loss in lives and property.
Ohanaeze commended the steps taken so far by the Federal Government in scrapping SARS and setting up of judicial panel of enquiries into police brutalities and violations. All victims of police brutalities must avail themselves this ample opportunity to seek redress and justice.
He said “We use this rare opportunity to appeal to Kanu to refrain from incitements and threats of violence. He must immediately call his members to order. Yoruba sons, not limited to Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, Tai Solarin and Wole Soyinka, have been known to pay great sacrifices to keep Ndigbo alive.”
He called Yoruba brothers and sisters, particularly in Lagos, not to carry out retaliatory attacks as we are convinced that time will heal the wound and the land adding that for the past few years, working relationship has been initiated with several Yoruba groups towards a more robust and prosperous relationship. He Ohanaeze will be visiting Lagos to pay respect to those killed and also reassure Yoruba people that the relationship between the two nationalities would be preserved.