Ohanaeze Ndigbo has warned the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to desist from pitting the Yoruba against the Igbo living in Lagos by playing ethnic card.
Malami had, at a press conference last Friday, accused leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, of instigating the attack on the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu and several other destructions in Lagos during the October 2020 EndSARS protest by the youths.
The apex Igbo sociocultural body described the remarks by the AGF as very inelegant, imprudent, malicious, treacherous and fallacious. It also said the allegation that the IPOB vandalised and looted the palace of the Oba of Lagos and burnt over 150 buses at the Lagos bus terminal was mere ethnic cards simply intended to play up the Yoruba against the Igbo.
A statement by National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Alex Ogbonnia, wondered how Malami would be dragging Kanu and IPOB into the attack on the Oba’s palace when some 15 suspects had been arrested by the police and none of them were Igbo.
“The police brought 15 suspects before a Lagos State Magistrate Court sitting at Ogba, in the Ikeja magisterial district, with charges bordering on theft and felony. The court documents with the charge number CR/MISC/ES/L/002020 revealed that all the suspects charged by the Nigeria Police are Messrs Eniafe Olawale, Gbenga Ajayi, Lamidi Rafiu, Oladunmoye Ayodeji, Soliu Tajudeen, Ahmed Olayinka, Samuel Damilola, Wasiu Grewa, Habib Salit, Nurudeen Yusuf, Safiu Quadri Lekan, Afolabi lukuman and Yusuf Babalola,” Ogbonnia said.
He said the Ohanaeze and IPOB were united against the orchestrated marginalisation of the Igbo in the Nigeria federation, stating that their point of divergence is while the former believes the Igbo ingenuity will find full expression in a restructured Nigeria, the latter appears to be tired of the age-long marginalisation of the Igbo in a country they have sacrificed so much to build.
Ogbonnia said IPOB members are children of Ohanaeze, adding any unwarranted attack on the pro-Biafra group is an attack on the entire Igbo.
According to the Ohanaeze, the bond between the Yoruba and the Igbo is strong, inseparable and beyond Malami’s narrow machinations.
“Malami should know that the Yoruba do not spill the Igbo blood and vice versa. The likes of Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, who chose the supreme price instead of betraying an Igbo in the person of General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi, have replicated across board in millions. Perhaps, Malami does not know the historic role played by the current Oba of Lagos, as a police officer, for the return from exile of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi in 1982.
“Malami should know that the Igbo-Yoruba relation has given rise to several high profile intermarriages with bubbling grown up children and grand-children. More of the above sources of unity and inter-ethnic solidarity were accentuated when the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, George Obiozor, paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his Lagos Office.
“Malami should know that the internet world has left him behind. All his game-plans are crude and anachronistic. The Malami sinister motives of heaping all criminalities in Nigeria on IPOB or the Igbo, including the crimes where arrests have been made and the known culprits already arraigned is most unethical, unprofessional and unbefitting of his office.
“Some other crimes that Malami ascribes to IPOB are still under investigation and arrests so far made are not linked to IPOB. The Malami perversions are very strange to law and, indeed, a new dimension in Nigerian justice delivery system.
“Malami card is to paint the South East as a terrorist zone, to prepare a ground for the use of the newly acquired American Super Tucano Fighter Jets in the zone. Malami should be reminded that the very condition for the sale and release of the jets to Nigeria by the USA is that they will be used strictly to fight the Boko Haram terrorists in the North East and incessant banditry in the North West.
“Furthermore, Malami is playing god by believing that the 2023 is the end of the world and is plotting hard against the Igbo interest. Unfortunately, Malami has crossed the red line.”