The Ohanaeze Ndigbo group has urged its members residing outside the south-east to defend themselves, following the ultimatum given to governors by some northern groups angered by their refusal to implement the Ruga settlement initiative for herdsmen.
In a statement issued by its president general, John Nnia Nwodo on Thursday, July 4, the apex Igbo group called on Ndigbo to be ready to defend themselves wherever they are, The Nation reports.
The statement read: “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.
“Abdul went further to threaten the expulsion of southerners resident in the North at the expiration of his dateline if the federal government does not rescind its suspension decision.
“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 Islamisation and 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.
“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 East leave the East and we dismantle the federal structure imposed on us by the military and return to autonomous federating units.
“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 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 South that is 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!”
Recall that it was previously reported that state governors in Nigeria who rejected the federal government’s Ruga settlement plan were on Wednesday, July 3, given not more than one month by some northern groups to reconsider and accept the initiative.
Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the spokesman of the groups, said that varying positions of governors on the policy had brought about much dissatisfaction among herdsmen in the country.
Suleiman said: “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.”