Prominent Igbo sociopolitical group Ohaneze Ndigbo has reacted to a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari that “tougher times await the people of the Southeast of Nigeria” among other remarks during a television interview on Thursday.
The group said the President was only creating problems he’s meant to solve.
The President had warned during the interview that the Igbo are scattered everywhere in Nigeria with businesses and properties and should not be making trouble.
But reacting to the President’s comments, Ohaneze in a statement by its spokesperson, Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, said President Buhari has a choice between dialogue on one hand and an avoidable war against the Igbo on the other.
Ohanaeze expressed concerns Buhari had not hidden his disdain for Ndigbo, who failed to give him massive votes in 2015 and 2019, noting the President’s choice of words for the Igbo should be words “reserved for the enemy, not to citizens”.
It said it had followed with deep concern the security sequence targeted at the Igbo, which included: “The deliberate posting of northern military and police officers at the various strategic locations in the South East.
“The Special National Security Council Meeting, where major decisions were taken for the South East and the South South to the utter exclusion of security personnel from the South East of Nigeria.
“The ominous launching of the Operation Restore Peace in the South East and South South
“The Shoot on Sight Order by the Inspector General of Police targeted at the Igbo youths
“And the “Shock tweet where Mr. President stated that “those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
While justifying the heightened secession agitation by the Igbo youth over marginalisation, Ohanaeze insisted Ndigbo were still committed to a diplomatic approach towards a restructured Nigeria that guarantees equity, fairness and rule of law.
The statement reads in part, “For clarity, there has been a sustained agitation for secession by the Igbo youths, especially the IPOB, the Independent Peoples of Biafra, led by Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
“The agitation by IPOB became heightened by the obvious exclusion of the Igbo in the President Buhari government and Mr. President has not in any way hidden his disdain for the groups that failed to vote for him en-masse in 2015 and 2019 general elections.
“Ohaneze Ndigbo believes that the agitation by the Igbo youth over marginalisation is justified. In spite of the orchestrated alienation of the Igbo, we are committed to a diplomatic approach towards a restructured Nigeria that guarantees equity, fairness and rule of law”.