The apex Igbo socio-cultural and political body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has dissociated itself from inciting comments made by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, over the ongoing carnage in Lagos State.
President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, said this on Thursday in a statement titled, ‘#EndSARS: Alleged destruction of Yoruba economic assets, the Ohanaeze position’.
He said, “We wish to state that Ohanaeze is also outraged by the vituperative and inciting outrage of the leader of IPOB on the #EndSARS activities in Lagos and disassociate the body completely from them.”
The organisation said the statement was in response to a press statement earlier issued by a pan-Yoruba group, the Apapo O’Odua Koya on the ongoing youth uprising in Nigeria particularly in Lagos as it relates to Ndigbo youths.
Nwodo said, “We find the statement disheartening, not necessarily because of the untruth in its sentiment, but that it’s obviously being engineered and targeted at the age long good relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba.
“Ohanaeze strongly believes that the press statement is craftily drafted showing a skillful use of underhand tactics to achieve a set goal, which in this case is to set Yoruba against Ndigbo.
“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 handshake 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 made up of four ethno-political bodies of Ndigbo, in the South East, Afenifere in the South West, PANDEF in the South-South, Adenomere 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 overtake 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 these ethnic nationalities.”
Ohanaeze denied allegations that the Igbo youth involvement in Lagos #EndSARS protest was part of a grand design to destroy Yoruba economy.
This, he said, was for the obvious reason that Ndigbo had most of their businesses scattered all over the country particularly in Lagos and would not be involved in crippling an economy they were active participants in developing.
“Only a fool living in a glass house uses stone to settle scores,” he added.
Middle Belt Forum demands panel, compensation
Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), should immediately set up an independent judicial panel of enquiry to unearth circumstances surrounding the killing of protesters in Lekki area of Lagos and other parts of the country and perpetrators brought to book, the Middle Belt Forum said on Thursday.
He said, “We appeal to President Buhari to immediately set up an independent judicial panel of enquiry to unearth circumstances under which these killings were perpetrated with the intention of bringing to book all those responsible for these unprovoked murders.”