Eschew Ethnic Bigotry on National Issues, Group Tells Ohanaeze, Northern Groups

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Following the suspension of the controversial Ruga settlement scheme by the federal government, the One Nigeria Coalition has urged the pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and the Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) to shun ethnic bigotry in addressing issues of national interest.

The coalition, in a statement issued yesterday which was signed by its President, Charles Mbani, after an emergency meeting, said it had become imperative to avoid unnecessarily heating up the polity which could ultimately lead to social and political unrest.

He recalled that the Coalition of Northern Groups had in a televised press conference addressed by its spokesperson, Suleiman Abdul-Aziz, vowed to take it out on southerners living in the North if southern governors did not accept the implementation of Ruga initiative.

He added that such apparently did not go down well with the Igbo who fired back shots, labelling the initiative as an ‘Islamisation and a Fulanisation policy’.

Against this background, the coalition stated that “the One Nigeria Coalition, arising from its emergency meeting in the light of the recent outburst by the CNG and the subsequent response by Ohaneze Ndigbo, wishes to state that both organisations have exhibited a high sense of unpatriotic acts that defeat every sense of unity of heart and purpose.

“That the Northern Youths Coalition could issue an ultimatum to the federal government on the implementation of Ruga policy across the country upon which a line of action would be taken should the federal government fail to implement the policy, is quite insensitive and an affront to the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria.

“The coalition states in unequivocal terms that the outbursts by the CNG and the subsequent response by Ohaneze Ndigbo are careless, utterly disappointing and unbecoming of a group such as Ohaneze Ndigbo.”

The group insisted that the farmers and herdsmen crisis in the country could only be resolved through a holistic approach by stakeholders and not biased, sentimental ethnic warlords like the CNG and Ohaneze Ndigbo which have clearly shown times without number that their ultimate aim is to plunge the country into monumental crisis.

It added: ‘All parties concerned must desist from acts that would set the country on the path of war; instead, they should channel efforts towards actions and activities that would further unite the country in the interest of all.”