The Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prosecute all those who had direct or indirect involvement in the killing and maiming of Igbo people in Lagos State, South-west Nigeria, as well as the destruction of their property.
The Council condemned the alleged profiling and targeting of Igbo people for attacks in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria and reminded Nigerians and authorities that the current events in Lagos were comparable to the incidents that set off the 30 months of civil war that resulted in the deaths of millions of Nigerians.
The Elders in a communique issued at the end of its emergency virtual meeting held on Wednesday, with members from Nigeria, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Italy and other parts of the world, directed Ohanaeze Ndigbo to set up a Committee of Enquiry to carry out a full investigation into the killings and destruction of properties and assets of Ndigbos in Lagos.
It was signed by the Chairman, Council of Elders Nigeria, Chief Emmanuel C. Iwuanyanwu; Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Okey Emuchay; Chief Simon N. Okeke, Nigeria; Elder Adolphus Umunnakwe Agbasonu, Europe; Mazi Ignatius Muotoh, Europe; Prof. Godfrey Ajoku, USA; Chief Kingsley Obaji, USA and National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Alex Ogbonnia.
The resolution stated that the emergency Council meeting was called in order to discuss the traumatic and agonizing experiences of Igbo people in Lagos during the most recent general elections.
The Council noted that during the elections, defenseless Igbo residents of Lagos who showed up as patriotic Nigerians to vote were attacked, brutalized, and some may have even died as a result of miscreants and thugs that some desperate politicians had hired.
“These unpatriotic Nigerians destroyed properties belonging to the Igbo, for example, a whole market was burnt. Information available to us reveals that they are still threatening the lives of Igbo and their properties in Lagos State.
“The Elders at this meeting critically reviewed the Igbo experiences in Nigeria and unanimously agreed that Igbos since the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 have remained committed towards peace, progress and economic development of Nigeria. The Igbo at various times demonstrated this commitment by the activities of some of their sons and daughters.
“The Elders recalled with sadness and deep regret, the events of 1966 that led to the Nigerian civil war. The civil war destroyed many Igbo lives and properties. Indeed, Ndigbo at the end of the civil war in January 1970 were impoverished and brutalised physically and materially. The Elders drew similarity between the current events in Lagos to those that led to the civil war.
“In the recent events, the Igbo were attacked during the Lagos governorship election for voting for political parties of their choice in an election which featured only Yoruba candidates. All the candidates for the election in Lagos State were Lagosian or Yorubas. It is therefore strange, unjust and inconceivable to profile the Igbo and their assets for destruction because they exercised their franchise in favour of the Yoruba candidates.
“It was observed that any Igbo man who attempted to defend himself was branded a thug, arrested and detained while the assailants who manifested and exemplified thuggery were freed.”
The Elders, therefore, resolved to take the following actions:
“To formally petition the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces President Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR in order to express our sadness and disappointment over this unfortunate development. We also intend to send protest letter to the National Assembly and other relevant agencies to express our feelings.
“High powered Igbo delegation will be sent to Lagos to meet with some Leaders of Lagos State in order to establish a lasting cordial and peaceful relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba in Lagos.”
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