Igbo in the north not under threat—Ohanaeze Ndigbo
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, said the people of the South-East living in the 19 states of the North were not under any threat despite the October 1 deadline.
The group also reiterated its earlier stance that anything said by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro should not be attributed to Ohanaeze youths as he is still on suspension.
But the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB), yesterday, directed Igbo residing in the northern part of the country to return to the East by August 2017 to beat the October 1 deadline quit notice given by Arewa youths.
In a similar vein, the Umu Afor Igbo General Assembly, (UAIGA), yesterday, said the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was not speaking the mind of the South-East region at its meeting with Arewa youths.
Ndigbo in North are not under any threat, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chairman of Ohanaeze, Mazi Odozi Nwodozi has said.
The FCT chairman who made the clarification in a statement in Abuja, on behalf of the leadership of the Igbo in the North, told Ndigbo to ignore a statement allegedly credited to the coordinator of Northern Ohanaeze Youth, Obinna Nwankwo, saying he lacked the mandate to speak for the Igbo.
Nwodozi, who was Vice President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, Anioma/Delta chapter stated that since the quit notice was issued to Ndigbo, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, had continued to engage in wide but strategic consultations with relevant persons and groups both within and outside the north with the singular aim of diffusing the tension, and securing the Igbo populace.
The FCT President of Ohanaeze in the statement said: “It has come to the notice of the leadership of the Igbo in the north, the statements of some opportunistic alarmists who are trying to create non existing fears, and consequent panic in the minds of Igbo residing in the north of an impending massacre and wanton looting of their property.
“This position is encapsulated in a recent press statement issued by one Mr. Obinna Nwankwo who arrogates to himself a non-existing position of Northern Coordinator of Ohanaeze Youth Council.”
On the position of Ohanaeze leadership on the raging matter, he said: “ we wish to reiterate once again that Ndigbo in the north as represented by the Igbo Delegates Assembly, (IDA), under the leadership of Chief Chi Nwogwu, totally condemn and dissociate itself from the shameful, beggarly and degrading parley between the suspended Ohanaeze Youth Council and some northern youths.
“That we were not consulted before the purported parley; which we wouldn’t have attended or mandated our youth wing to attend as the characters that were at the centre of it lack the blessings of the Igbo leadership.
“We, hereby, call on Ndigbo in the north to remain calm and resolute, bearing in mind that the leadership structure of Ndigbo both at the political and socio-cultural levels are working tirelessly to ensure the maximum safety of the Igbo in the north.
“Ndigbo should ignore the alarmist tendencies of jingoist and opportunists and go about their lawful endeavours as they will be communicated through established channels if the need arises.”
But MASSOB in its view as portrayed by the National Information Officer, Mr. Samuel Edesonu, said that the decision to urge Igbo people to come back home in August was taken at its national executive meeting presided over by the MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu. According to Edesonu, August was chosen because of its significance in Igbo calendar as the period for new yam festival and women’s August meeting and charged the Igbo, especially women, to persuade their loved ones (husbands and children) to come home unfailingly. MASSOB directed all the Eze Igbo in the 19 northern states to commence immediately the compilation of names, residential addresses and villages/towns of all Igbo living in their respective northern cities where they live, advising that such data collation of the people should end by September 10, 2017.
According to the statement, the Biafra Intelligence Agency had also been deployed to northern Nigeria to monitor the situation in all the cities.
The statement read: ”In continuation of our earlier stand and position on the quit notice to the people of Biafra by Arewa people, which will elapse on October 1, MASSOB insists and beckons on Biafrans living in Arewa land to intensify efforts in relocating their families back home.
“MASSOB has resolved that the month of August being a significant month of special festivals of Iri ji (new yam festival) and Women August meeting in Igbo land should be a special month of mass return for all Igbo living in northern Nigeria.
“MASSOB also mandates all married Igbo women living in northern Nigeria to start intimating their husbands about the dangers of staying in Arewa land, which no longer guarantees their safety.
“They should also intensify pressure on their husbands concerning the mass return next month.After the September 10 deadline for this compilation, MASSOB will embark on investigation of all the Eze Ndigbo in northern cities to ascertain their level of participation in this ancestral order.
“MASSOB urges the Eze Ndigbo in northern cities to carry out this compilation of our kinsmen data as a native and ancestry exercise and we appeal to them not to betray this act of nobility because of their individual interests or favours from Hausa-Fulani.
“MASSOB under the leadership of Comrade Uchenna Madu will continue undeterred in non-violence pursuant of Biafra actualisation and restoration.”
The UAIGA President-General, Mr. Ejike Ikezuagu has declared thatOhanaeze youths was not speaking for Igbo.
He stated this in Owerri, while reacting to the recent meeting between Ohanaeze and Arewa youths over the quit notice.
According to Ikezuagu, “for Ohanaeze youths to privately organise themselves as leaders to speak for Igbo is against our Igbo tradition.
“Ohanaeze’s meeting with the Arewa youths and the outcome of the meeting is a slap on our faces as Ndigbo.
“It is inappropriate for a group of two and three individuals constituting themselves as leaders without the consent of the people to speak for Igbo. It is unacceptable and a taboo in Igbo culture.
“And this is why we have set up Umu Afo Igbo National Assembly as the platform for our people to discuss issues for a solution to be adopted.”
Ohanaeze National Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo , Chuks Ibegbu, similarly stated that “ the National Executive Commitee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo still re-iterates that the national leadership of Ohanaeze Youth Council led by Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro was suspended by the last NEC of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the suspension has not been lifted.
“Any statement credited to any official of the suspended wing bears no authorisation from Ohanaeze National Executive Committee. It’s only the President General and the Publicity Unit/any other official authorised or mandated to do so that can speak on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,” he said.