Religious Killings: Ohanaeze Youths warn against Targeting Ndigbo

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By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja and Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
 

The Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) yesterday warned against the upsurge of religious killings in some northern states targeted at Ndigbo, saying that urgent action must be taken by the authorities to nip it in the bud.

This is as The Human Rights Writes Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the killings this week in tiger  and Kano States of two Nigerians of Igbo extraction by Islamic extremists over alleged blasphemy of their religion, describing it  as provocative and primitive.

In a statement issued in Umuahia, signed by the national vice-president of OYC, Mazi Obinna Achuonye and the chairman of states’ chairmen of OYC, Alex Okemiri, the Ohanaeze youths said that “further killing of Ndi Igbo in any part of the country because of religion would attract appropriate response.

The warning came on the heels of the killing of an Igbo trader in Niger state by fundamentalist Muslims who accused him of posting a blasphemous message on facebook while a woman was callously hacked to death in Kano State over the same spurious accusation of blaspheming Prophet Mohammed.

 “No attack on any Igbo man or woman within or outside Igbo land will go unpunished,” the Ohanaeze youths vowed, adding, “Enough is enough”.

The OYC, which is the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation said that targeting of Ndigbo for slaughter on flimsy excuses had become a pattern in recent time, noting that the events that fuelled the civil war “is beginning to rear up again”.

 “We want to sound a note of warning to the Federal Government, Muslim fanatics and their sponsors that the mindless killing of Ndigbo with the least provocations cannot be tolerated any longer.

“It is now obvious that Ndigbo have become endangered species in Nigeria as they have continued to be the target of all religious and other crises in the country.

“Igbo youths can no longer watch idly while the blood of their fathers and mothers flow like flood on the streets. If they are not massacred by security operatives in Onitsha and Aba, their throats will be slit in Kano or Niger,” the OYC said.

To forestall further killings of Ndigbo by fanatics, the OYC tasked Governor Abdulahi Ganduje of Kano State and his Niger State counterpart, Alhaji Sani Bello as well as the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the religious killings.

The youths lamented that it was becoming increasingly unsafe for Ndigbo to live their normal lives in Nigeria and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take actions that would “convince Ndigbo that he can protect them because incidents of unprovoked attacks against the Igbo are more pronounced under his watch”.

HURIWA in a statement jointly issued yesterday in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media Affairs Director, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, said it will forward a detailed petition to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Banki Moon, “to urge the global body to specifically pass a Resolution declaring the Igbo population in Nigeria as endangered species that deserve urgent Worldwide protection from the coordinated plot to bring about their extinction”.

The pro-democracy Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO),  said the failure of the relevant security hierarchies in those states to promptly prevent such barbaric criminal acts and also failure to arrest, prosecute the Islamic extremists who carried out this medieval extra-legal executions of fellow citizens over unsubstantiated allegation of religious blasphemy is an invitation to anarchy and amounts to official impunity.

The group has also carpeted the Police Commissioners and Directors of Department of State Services (DSS)  for standing by and letting Nigerian citizens to be killed only because they were from the South East.

they urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors of Niger and Kano State to take accountable, transparent and result oriented measures in partnership with the law enforcement authorities to arrest, prosecute for murder those responsible for these dastardly criminal acts of brutal murders, the Rights group condemned the total lack of sanctions from government against security chief in the states whereby despicable crimes have happened.

It condemned the administration of law enforcement under the current dispensation and expressed fears that heads of security agencies were behaving as if they had orders from above to decimate Igbo citizens of South East Nigeria.

 “This is the worst period of policing in the entire Nigerian history and the current Inspector General of Police Mr. Solomon Arase deserves to be dragged before the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands for prosecution over crimes against humanity since under his watch thousands of Nigerians have been massacred by a range of armed terrorists including g armed Fulani herdsmen and street urchins,” the statement read.

The rights group listed the immediate past police commissioner in Enugu State and the relevant security chiefs in Enugu State who willfully failed to prevent the recent genocidal attacks in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani, LGA of the State by armed Fulani herdsmen as persons who must be administratively sanctioned and prosecuted in the competent court for negligence of duties resulting in mass killings.

The group is also seeking the strongest penalties for the relevant security heads in Niger and Kano who stood by and allowed the mobs to take the law into their hands by committing murders openly and in the case of Kano State the killers paraded the streets of Kano in broad daylight with the decapitated head of the Igbo woman accused of the do called blasphemy offence.

Part of the statement read: “We totally condemn without reservations these killings which have already become a dangerous pattern in some parts of Northern Nigeria especially in those States that the government violated section 10 of the Nigeria Constitution by recognizing a particular religion as state religion.

“Kano is one place whereby Islam has been illegally made a State religion and charlatens are empowered to harass, intimidate, kill and destroy Christians and Southerners at will and the state government institutions hive these murderers licence to kill.”

” These riotous crowds are motivated by the indiscretions of their political elite to unleash venoms of violence on followers of other faith based groups. The surviving members of these victims may not just fold their hands without equal and opposite violence either now or the shortest possible let period.”