Nnia Nwodo, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has urged all Igbos to defend themselves from any threat following remarks over the controversial Ruga policy.
Nwodo made the call in a statement issued on Thursday in reaction to the comments made by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNGs) over the suspension of the Ruga settlement initiative by the Federal Government.
In a statement on Wednesday, the CNG via Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, its spokesperson, gave the Federal and state governments a 30-day ultimatum to rescind the suspension of the Ruga initiative or “no one should expect us to allow any southerner to enjoy the same in northern Nigeria.”
But responding, Nwodo described the northern coalition’s statement as “irresponsible, unlawful and provocative.”
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo President stated that the threat made by the coalition to expel all southern living in northern Nigeria is a treasonable offence.
He noted that the organisation will gladly welcome all Nigerians of Igbo extraction living in the north back to their homeland if all the northerners in the South-East return to their original abode.
The statement read: “The threat to evict law-abiding Nigerians from their places of abode in northern Nigeria is treasonable and obviously like the gun-trotting herdsmen will go unnoticed by our federally-controlled law enforcement agencies.
“Let Abdul, the Federal Government and others like them, take notice that Ohanaeze has no objections to all Igbo in the North returning home so long as all northerners in the South-East would leave the South-East and we dismantle the federal structure imposed on us by the military and return to autonomous federating units.”
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Nwodo accused the Federal Government of culpability and nepotism, saying it has always shown favouritism to one section of the country over the others.
“The nepotism exhibited by this Federal Government, her duplicity of standards in law enforcement, her undisguised Fulanisation policy is repugnant to the rule of law and good governance. We will no longer tolerate any further threats from these northern war mongers.
“After all, who should be the aggrieved under the circumstance? The millipede that has been marched is whimpering, but the person that marched it is complaining that his foot has been soiled.
“The southern Nigerian people that are bearing the yoke of oppression from cattle herders are trying their best to co-exist with their aggressors, yet it is the aggressors that are threatening further mayhem. This cannot be.
“I call on all Igbo to be ready to defend themselves. Enough of these threats!”, the statement read.