Ohanaeze Youths Reply Arewa, Demand Referendum in Igbo Land

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Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Barely 48 hours after the Arewa Youths wrote to the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, demanding that Igbo be granted their wish to have Biafra Republic, the Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) yesterday raised the alarm that the lives of Igbo people in every part of the northern Nigeria are now at a very high risk.

Accordingly, the OYC has forwarded a petition to the United Nations, (UN), requesting a special protection for the Igbo people presently residing at various parts of northern Nigeria.  They also demanded the immediate commencement of steps towards a referendum in Igbo land to finally determine the fate of their people as to whether they still have the desire to remain in Nigeria or not.
The OYC in the letter titled: ‘Call For Emergency In Nigeria: Our Two-Point Demand’ which was made available to journalists in Enugu, said anything short of a referendum to free Ndigbo from Nigeria will be unacceptable.

The letter was signed by the group’s National President, Okechukwu Isiguzoro; Okwu Nnabuike (National Secretary), Arthur Obiora(Deputy National President) and Obinna Adobe (National Publicity Secretary), and copied to the Osinbajo, the United States Embassy in Nigeria, the United Kingdom High Commission, the Commonwealth, the Amnesty International among others organisations.

“It is with great concern that we alert the international community of the looming genocide against the Igbo in the northern part of Nigeria, occasioned by a well-orchestrated, carefully thought-after plot by the northern hierarchy, hiding under the Arewa Youths.

“Their latest ranting, which they packaged as a letter to the acting president has left no one in doubt as to their motive: a grand design to annihilate the Igbo race. This, they want to achieve so easily through the well-packaged false history, which they have now dished out to gullible minds in order to create a passion hatred for the Igbo in the minds of their people and thereby easily achieve theOctober 1 planned mayhem against our people.

 “How else could one justify their attempt to stab history in the back by labelling the first military coup in Nigeria as an Igbo coup? How else could people twist history than their justifying the pogrom against the Igbo between 1966 and 1967, which eventually led to the civil war? In what measure can one justify the insult on our late leaders, in the persons of late Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi and late Col. Chukwuemeka Odumewgu Ojukwu?

 “In Igbo land, we have respect not only for the elders, but more so for the dead and it if is for that purpose that we chose not to go further into this matter. Truth can never be changed. However, we must let these youths and their pay-masters know that contrary to their claims, our people have made much more sacrifices for the unity of this country, starting from the later Owelle of Onitsha, Nnamdi Azikiwe.

“To also justify their planned killing of every Igbo man remaining with the Biafra agitation amounts to hypocrisy of the highest magnitude. May we remind them for over a decade now, the Boko Haram did not just declare war on the Nigerian state but has gone ahead to seize territories, killing thousands and rendering millions homeless, yet nobody has branded it an action signed by the entire North. Besides, like the Arewa youths pointed out in their hypocritical letter, the Biafra agitators have their demand for self-determination found in so many charters, including that of the UN, for which Nigeria is a signatory to.

Where does the Boko Haram derive its own right to engage in mass murder?  “Our point here, however, is not on the propriety or otherwise of the attempt by Boko Haram to take over every Nigerian territory or the Biafra agitation, but the difficult attempt by the Arewa youths to link every Igbo man with the activities of the IPOB. If it is so, suffice it to say that all of them are members of the Boko Haram sect,” Ndigbo noted.

According to them, contrary to alleged claims by Arewa youths that Ndigbo were being accommodated in every part of the country, Igbo were continuously being slaughtered like chickens, especially in the North without any good reason.  They made reference to the case of Mrs. Bridget Agbahime, a pastor’s wife, who was allegedly murdered in cold blood as an example, adding that the manner her case was allegedly handled by the Kano State Government would make her blood cry forever against her shameless murderers.

“We, therefore, alert your attention to another impending massacre of the Igbo, especially with thick rumour of arms being stock-piled in the North in readiness for action. It is even more painful considering undenied claims that some security personnel were aiding the smuggling of these sophisticated arms through the porous land borders in the North.  “Suffice it to say that the lives of our people are now at a great risker.

It does appear that the pogrom of the 1960s is here to repeat itself again. There are indications that they are only waiting for the whistle to be blown for them to unleash another round of terror on our people.  “Giving the above, we urge the United Nations to beam its satellite on the Northern Nigeria ahead of any eventuality that may befall our people. Considering the manner the security agencies have handled these endless threats, it is unlikely that they may protect our people when these marauders will strike.

“Secondly and very importantly too, having seen that Igbo have remained the victims of this marriage called Nigeria, despite our sacrifices, we demand that the on-going constitutional amendment will not be acceptable should it not make provision for a referendum. It is high time people were given freedom to decide whether they want to remain in a country where they are not loved, not wanted but hated with passion.  “The National Assembly should make no mistake of undertaking any further constitutional amendment without an option for referendum; this is the only way to go as we urge the UN to mount all necessary international pressures on Nigeria to effect that very much needed amendment.”