Friday, 5 July 2019

Be ready to defend yourselves, Ohaneze president Nwodo tells Igbos over threat on Ruga

President-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Nnia Nwodo, has called on his people to be ready to defend themselves against “northern war mongers”.

Reacting to the 30-day ultimatum the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNGs) gave to governors opposed to the Ruga settlement programme to reconsider their decision, Nwodo said threats will no longer be tolerated.

The federal government had announced the suspension of the proposed Ruga initiative to build settlements for herdsmen across Nigeria.

This was after the controversy that had trailed the project since it was announced in June. While some governors welcomed it, others had said it could lead to more attacks on communities.

But during a press briefing on Wednesday, CNGs spokesman Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the dispute with respect to the program is already provoking resentment among herders who are of Fulani extraction.

He also warned about the consequences that would follow if herders are not allowed “to enjoy their citizens’ rights of living and flourishing”.

“While we warn all state governments that stand against the implementation of the RUGA Initiative to desist and give peace a chance, we place President Buhari and the Federal Government on notice that they must completely stop this raging madness within 30-days beginning from today, Wednesday,” he said.

“For the avoidance of doubt we advice the federal authorities and the southern leaders to heed the 30-day notice failing which we must definitely be led with no option than to consider resorting into our decisive line of action.

“We remind the nation that so long as the Fulani will not be allowed to enjoy their citizens’ rights of living and flourishing in any parts of this country including the south, no one should expect us to allow any southerner to enjoy the same in northern Nigeria.”

In response, Nwodo described the action of the coalition as “irresponsible and treasonable”, insisting that the Ruga initiative violates the constitution.

“My attention has been drawn to a broadcast by Abdul Azeez Suleman, speaking for a coalition of Northern Groups in which he had the audacity to give the Federal Government an ultimatum of 30 days to rescind its decision on the suspension of its RUGA settlements policy,” he said in a statement.

“This irresponsible, unlawful and provocative outburst reminds me of the quit notice from Northern Youths two years ago.

“Ohanaeze insists that the RUGA policy is an Islamization and a Fulanisation policy; it is a violation of our constitution and Supreme court decisions on the Land Use Act. Its suspension without cancellation leaves the Federal Government still in violation of our laws.

“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…

“I call on all Igbo to be ready to defend themselves. Enough of these threats!”

He said the Igbo residing in the north have no objection to leaving as long the northerners based in the south-east would also relocate.

Nwodo said by so doing, we would have “dismantled the federal structure imposed on us by the military and return to autonomous federating units”.

“Let Abdul, the federal government and others like them take notice that Ohanaeze has no objections to all Igbos in the North returning home so long as all Northerners in the east leave the east,” he said.

“The nepotism exhibited by this federal government, her duplicity of standards in law enforcement, her undisguised Fulanisation policy is repugnant to rule of law and good governance.

“We will no longer tolerate any further threats from these northern war mongers. After all, who should be aggrieved under the circumstance? The South that is bearing the yoke of oppression from cattle herders are trying their best to coexist with their aggressors, yet it is the aggressors that are threatening further mayhem. This cannot be.”

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