The Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has urged President Muhammadu Buhari order the prosecution of those who played roles in the destruction of Igbo properties in Lagos State.
The elders made the demand in a communique issued at the end of its emergency virtual meeting, held on Wednesday April 5, which was made available to journalists in Enugu, on Thursday, had in attendance members from Nigeria, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Italy, and other parts of the world.
Condemning the spate of ‘’ethnic profiling” of the Igbos in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria, the Council reminded Nigerians and the relevant authorities that the events were similar to what triggered the 30-month civil war that claimed the lives of millions of Nigerians.
It directed Ohanaeze Ndigbo in collaboration with the council to set up a Committee of Enquiry to carry out a full investigation into the destruction of properties and assets of Ndigbo in Lagos.
It also set up an emergency telephone line where the Igbos in Lagos, could make reports in case of any attack.
The communique was signed by the Chairman, Council of Elders in Nigeria, Chief Emmanuel C. Iwuanyanwu; Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Okey Emuchay; Chief Simon N. Okeke, Nigeria; Elder Adolphus Umunnakwe Agbasonu, Europe; Mazi Ignatius Muotoh, Europe; Prof. Godfrey Ajoku, USA; Chief Kingsley Obaji, USA and National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Alex Ogbonnia.
According to the resolution, the emergency council meeting was convened to review the ‘’Igbos’ painful and agonising experiences in Lagos” during the recent general election.
The communique partly read: “These unpatriotic Nigerians destroyed properties belonging to the Igbo. For example, a whole market was burnt. The information available reveals that they are still threatening the lives of the Igbo and their properties in Lagos State.
“The Elders, at this meeting, critically reviewed the Igbo experiences in Nigeria and unanimously agreed that the Igbo, since the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914, have remained committed towards peace, progress and economic development of Nigeria. The Igbo at various times, demonstrated this commitment through the activities of some of their sons and daughters.
“The Elders recalled with sadness and deep regret, the events of 1966 that led to the Nigerian civil war. The civil war destroyed many Igbo lives and properties. Indeed, Ndigbo at the end of the civil war in January 1970, were impoverished and brutalised physically and materially. The elders drew a similarity between the current events in Lagos to those that led to the civil war,” it noted.
The communique added, “In the recent events, the Igbo were attacked during the Lagos governorship election for voting for political parties of their choice in an election which featured only Yoruba candidates. All the candidates for the election in Lagos State were Lagosians or Yoruba. It is therefore strange, unjust and inconceivable to profile the Igbo and their assets for destruction because they exercised their franchise in favour of the Yoruba candidates.”
While advising the Igbo living in Lagos to remain calm and go about their normal business, the council called on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to use his office as the Chief Security Officer of Lagos, to protect Igbo lives and properties and ensure that those who are maliciously detained in various police stations are released immediately.
The council, therefore, resolved to take the following actions:
“To formally petition the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in order to express our sadness and disappointment over this unfortunate development. We also intend to send a protest letter to the National Assembly and other relevant agencies, to express our feelings.
“High-powered Igbo delegation will be sent to Lagos, to meet with some leaders of Lagos State in order to establish a lasting cordial and peaceful relationship between the Igbo and the Yoruba in Lagos.
“The Elders have directed the Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in association with the Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to set up an enquiry to carry out a full investigation into the destruction of properties and assets of Ndigbo in Lagos.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo will ensure that all perpetrators of this criminal activity are brought to book and adequate reparation/ compensations paid to the victims.”