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Northern elders accuse Ohaneze, Igbo elders of backing IPOB in Biafra agitations

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Northern elders have indicted their Igbo counterparts and have blamed them over the continuous agitations by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Spokesperson of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, in an interview with newsmen on Friday, said they had suspected all along that Ohaneze Ndigbo was the main sponsor of the protests for the actualisation of Biafra.

Ango said northern elders became convinced that Ohaneze was behind the agitations, when it openly defended the self-acclaimed leader of IPOB, Mr Nnamdi Kanu.

He said: “Now that Ohaneze is coming out to say this,it suggests to me that all along, that they have been behind or encouraged this agitations. Even before now, we had indications to believe that the elders we thought will restrain some of this things had always been behind them because we saw what happened when Kanu got his bail.

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“We knew who were behind the struggle for his bail and the convoy that escorted him home with people in the highest position, some of them with the highest position of responsibility in the country. That was enough to say all along, this young man must have had support of his people including the elders among his people. This is the conclusion that you can only draw from the reaction of Ohaneze.

“Ohaneze, I believe, is a respected socio-cultural organisation whose umbrella Ndigbo operates and at the same time, I think they have responsibility not only for the Igbo, just like Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Northern Elders Forum have responsibility not only in respect of their groups, but others in respect of the nation because it is the nation that virtually came to open discussion when this matters erupted.

“My understanding of this is that the boys (Arewa youths) who reacted the way they reacted have now been vindicated because their suspicion all along is that there is nobody restraining some of the things that are happening from that area particularly on the issue of agitations, secession or whatever the political motives are and so on.

“So I think there is an element of vindication here and it is unfortunate that Ohaneze has exposed itself as being behind this agitations all along.”

Pushed to state the position of NEF on the deployment of troops and calls that they be withdrawn, the former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, declined to take a stand.

Instead, he pushed the responsibility to President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he said is the Commander-in-Chief and should decide when the operations should end.

“I am not Commander-in- Chief of the Nigerian Army. Why should I take the responsibility of the Commander in chief who has the mandate of Nigeria to lead the country and he swore an oath to protect the constitution of Nigeria and the people?

“As the Commander in Chief, he must have been briefed by his security chiefs in terms of the security challenges the country is facing in various parts of the country and that is why he directed them to go and do whatever they have to do to ensure that peace is restored wherever is being challenged.”

Abdullahi also disagreed with human rights lawyer and activists, Femi Falana and some other Nigerians on the legality of the ongoing military exercise in the five states of the South eastern part of the country.

Falana (SAN) and some other Nigerians had argued that the military exercise in the South East codenamed “Operation Python Dance 11”, was unconstitutional and called on President Buhari to immediately withdraw the operation.

But Abdullahi, a former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, who supported the now rescind notice by Arewa youths to all Igbo living in the northern region to vacate on or before October 1, 2017, said there was nothing wrong with the exercise.

By Ehisuan Odia…..

 

 

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