By Emmanuel Afonne
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo UK and Northern Ireland has said it would continue to support the activities of the South East Governors as they intensify efforts to rid the zone of armed herdsmen terrorizing the area.
The declaration of support came after the invasion of the Abuja residence of Ebonyi Gov. Dave Umahi on Sept. 2, hours after the South East Governors adopted measures to tackle the activities of armed herders in the zone.
A statement jointly signed by Ohanaeze UK and Ireland led by Dr Nnanna Igwe, and Secretary Mr Kingsley Offor as well as the PRO Amb. George Uzonwa, described the invasion as shocking and appalling.
The statement urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order a full scale judicial enquiry into the incident alleged to have been carried out by security operatives with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators were speedily brought to justice.
“Why is this cowardly act coming barely 24 hours after the South East Governors Forum banned herders who move around with AK-47?
“Why did the invaders clearly identified as security operatives subject occupants of the premises and police officers on duty to intolerable harassment and intimidation before thoroughly ransacking the premises of a sitting Governor?
“Why was this reckless and illegal act carried out without a search warrant, again portraying Nigeria as a country that has little or no respect for the rule of law?
“Are there plans for further attacks in the coming days and weeks to other South East Governors and key leaders from the South East worldwide?
“We strongly believe that the purpose of this dastardly and heinous plot is to intimidate, oppress and silence Governor Umahi and his colleagues at the South East Governors Forum and prevent them from discharging their mandate of speaking boldly on behalf of the South East people.
“We strongly and patriotically urge the perpetrators of these heinous plots to desist forthwith to avoid throwing the country into a needless and overwhelming crisis,” the statement read.
According to the group, time has come for the Igbo worldwide to come together to fight a common problem which they said includes marginalisation.
Ohanaeze UK further stated that: “The herdsmen siege on Igbo land, the senseless killings of our people and the destruction of our farm lands are on-going currently.
“The decadence of Federal infrastructure in the South Eastern Nigeria ranging from bad roads to poor schools, poorly equipped hospitals and total lack of commitment to develop the Igbo land is deliberately pursued in Nigeria for decades.
“So, we are very pleased with the meaningful outcomes, resolutions and decisions taken by the expanded special meeting of the South East Governors Forum of Aug. 31, 2019 in Enugu.
“That important meeting was attended by South East Governors, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worlwide, Representatives of the Nzuko Umunna and Security Agencies.
“The meeting was the strongest signal so far of a united and formidable Igbo team ready to address the catalogue of problems deliberately orchestrated against Ndigbo in Nigeria in recent times.
“There has always been the strong belief that Ndigbo will not come together to speak with one voice.
“But the sudden coming together of South East Governors including the Apex Igbo Organisation, Ohanaeze Worlwide with Delegates of Nzuko Umunna has sent shivers to the fabrics of our oppression.
“It is a clear indication of a better future for Ndigbo and signaling the readiness of our leaders to dismantle the destructive dynasty against Ndigbo in Nigeria.
“This is a welcome development and Ohanaeze Ndigbo UK is totally supportive of this dawn of a new era. Keep it up Ndigbo, let’s unite and face our common adversary.”
The Igbo leaders in UK enjoined the South East governors to always pursue ideas that would be beneficial to the zone and also urged them not to succumb to arm-twisting, trumped up charges or intimidation in their effort to ensure safety of lives and property in the zone.
They also called ECOWAS, African Union, the European Union (EU), UK, U.S., Commonwealth of Nations and United Nations (UN) to closely monitor activities in Nigeria especially that of armed herdsmen to ensure they did not throw the country into anarchy.
“Ndigbo believe in supremacy of God in human affairs and also believe in taking our destiny in our own hands.
“The dictum ‘vox populi, vox dei’ has been our guiding principle and underpinning of Ndigbo recent renaissance against repression in Nigeria.” (NAN)