OHANEZE Ndigbo president Chief Nnia Nwodo has lashed out at a statement made by Northern Elders Forum (Nef) leader Professor Ango Abdullahi in which Igbos were blamed for most of the violent acts perpetuated against northern Nigerians.
Earlier this week, Professor Abdullahi declared that most physical attacks against northerners in the country were carried out by Nigerians of Igbo extraction. In a swift rebuttal, Chief Nwodo frowned at what he called the incendiary, unsubstantiated and provocative statement, saying that the unprovoked outburst by Professor Abdullahi was capable of setting the country ablaze.
Chief Nwodo added that this was a dangerous gaff by a man who by learning, experience and exposure should know better. He also wondered where and when the Igbo could have killed their northern brothers when there has never been any case of mayhem and killings against the north in any Igbo-speaking state.
He challenged Professor Abdullahi to make public facts to substantiate his wild and malicious claim unless it was intended to set up Igbos for another round of killings in the north. according to Chief Nwodo, with that statement by Professor Abdullahi, Igbos in the north of the country are not safe.
In addition, Chief Nwodo reminded Professor Abdullahi that on the contrary, the Igbo have borne the brunt and have been victims of age-long and misguided attacks and bloody orgies by their northern brothers at the slightest instance, sometimes even as a result of an event outside the country, and no restitution has ever been made for such losses. He said he regretted the fact that apart from innumerable deaths, Ndigbo have lost property valued at trillions of naira during such senseless attacks in the north.
Chief Nwodo reminded the Nef that yet, Ndigbo are the catalysts of development and the unifying cord that holds Nigeria together. He urged Professor Abdullahi and the Nef to exhibit greater caution and wisdom in addressing sensitive national issues like this, rather than stoke further the fire of ethnic violence by making such unguarded, unsubstantiated, garrulous and vitriolic claims capable of igniting fire and breakdown of law and order that could consume the country.
In addition, Chief Nwodo reminded them that knowing that Nigeria is now a tinderbox, especially with the heightened frayed nerves arising from the unfortunate mismanagement of the fabric of the nation, caution should be the watchword. Chief Nwodo further reminded Professor Abdullahi that in the twilight of his life, he should espouse salutary views that should bind and heal the wounds of the country so that he will leave behind a better and united Nigeria.
Chief Nwodo then asked the federal government to call the Nef to order and make it rescind the inflammatory statement to avoid the possible mayhem and confusion it could cause in the country. President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to respond to the Nef claim of Chief Nwodo’s response.