Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Council of Elders Chief Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has described as provocative and insulting the action instituted by a group described as Northern Elders requesting the Court to order the National Assembly to make a law expelling Igbos from Nigeria.
Chief Iwuanyanwu who said this in a statement issued Thursday in Abuja, recollected that a few years ago, some Northern leaders rose from a meeting in Kaduna state and issued a communiqué calling for the expulsion of Igbos from Nigeria. He also observed that some months ago, many news media carried the demonstration of some Northern youths and women insisting that Igbos should leave Nigeria.
The renowned elder statesman said that since these attacks on Igbo nation in Nigeria, he has received lots of curious enquiries from many Igbos within and in diaspora as regards their safety. He described the situation as very embarrassing to not only Ndigbo but also to all patriotic citizens of Nigeria maintaining that in a larger sense, the action of these northerner is treason against Nigeria.
Chief Iwuanyanwu insisted that the action is very hostile against the unity, peace and stability of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and urged all patriotic Nigerians to view this action with great concern.
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Council of elders said that investigations carried out revealed that the action of this group does not represent the opinion of true leadership of Arewa and Northern Elders.
Chief Iwuanyanwu pointed out that the younger generation of Igbo believe that they are hated and do not have opportunities to survive or succeed in Nigeria adding that most of the crisis experienced in South East today are caused by these feelings by the younger generation.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with South East leaders during his visit in Owerri was highly commended and indeed a good and strategic step towards reconciliation and reassuring to Igbos.
“President Buhari made it clear that Igbos were domiciled in virtually all communities in Nigeria and in those communities, they are pursuing their businesses with peace and love. And that Igbos wherever they go obey the laws of the land and respect the customs and traditions of the indigenes.”
Chief Iwuanyanwu said that the President’s statement in Owerri which confirmed that Igbos were making substantial contributions in the development of all communities in Nigeria was reassuring to Igbos.
“It clear that no group in Nigeria can claim greater ownership of Nigeria today than the Igbos. And at every stage of the nation’s history since 1914, Igbos have played major roles in all activities that shape the destiny of Nigeria everywhere.
“In the struggle for independence, Igbos championed the crusade. In other areas, economy, education, industry, sports, etc, Igbos have continued to play their roles and make tremendous contributions.
“Igbos will therefore want to make it abundantly clear to all and sundry that if anybody plans to expel Igbos from Nigeria and disposses them of their hard earned assets they have all over the country, Igbos will never accept that.
“For avoidance of doubt, the name Nigeria is derived from one of the biggest rivers in Africa- River Nigeria. In Nigeria, this river transverses through substantial part of Igbo land. It is important to note that most of the people who want to expel Igbos and seize their assets do not have their states anywhere near the River Nigeria. We now want to tell Nigerians that Igbos are substantial owners of Nigeria.
“In some geopolitical zones, militants, Boko Haram and Herdsmen are operating dangerously, killing many innocent people. These people are secessionists. They have even mounted their flags in some Local Governments and collecting taxes. I want to point out the fact that Nigeria flag is flying everywhere in Igbo land”.
He said that the problems in Igbo land are caused by the hostile action directed against Igbos which make the younger Igbos feel rejected and have not future in Nigeria. Chief Iwuanyanwu restated that Ndigbo have been calling for a peaceful resolution of the present crisis adding that the sooner it is resolved, the better or else criminals may hijack the peace process.
The Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders Council Worldwide appealed to all Igbos living outside Igboland to remain calm and peaceful and pursue their legitimate business without fear. Chief Iwuanyanwu assured them that as law abiding citizens, they have nothing to fear.