THE apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has said the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a product of injustice against the people of the South-East.
Ohanaeze spoke in a statement released in response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s call on the United States, United Kingdom and other members of the international community to declare IPOB a terrorist group.
Buhari, who made the call in an interview with Bloomberg, urged the international community to take an additional step by blocking the pro-Biafra group from the international financial network.
However, reacting to the development in a statement released by its National Publicity Secretary Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze faulted Buhari’s call for the proscription of IPOB by the international community.
Ohanaeze said IPOB was simply asking that the South-East be treated as partners in the Nigerian project or allowed to go its own way.
The statement said, “It is most expedient to enlighten the general public that what IPOB is asking for is the parting words of a Nigerian titan: the Maitama Sule imperative to President Buhari when he led the Northern Elder’s Forum to congratulate Mr President shortly after his victory in 2015. Alhaji Maitama Sule of blessed memory in congratulating Mr President, admonished that ‘justice is key to good governance’.
“That Mr President should extend justice to all and sundry, irrespective of religion or tribe. Sule reminded MrnPresident that an infidel with good conscience and equity can govern successfully, far better than a believer devoid of a sense of justice. Sule added that the solution to Nigeria’s problems could never be achieved by force, nor by fear, nor by power but by equity and justice to all.
“The prophetic Sule urged him to do justice to all parts of the country because, according to him, peace and stability are a product of justice and equity. He added that in the absence of justice and equity, there can never be peace and development.
“Mr President knows he ignored the eternal advice from the Nigerian foremost patriot, democrat and diplomat.
“What, I think the IPOB is asking for is very clear: Treat us as partners in the Nigerian project or allow us to go.”
Ohanaeze accused Buhari of failing to address its concerns regarding the lopsided appointments in the military and paramilitary agencies in the country.
It also condemned the failure of the government to put an end to violent attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
“How can one explain the obvious lopsidedness in the appointment of military and paramilitary personnel to head the followings organisations with little or no South-East considerations?: Nigerian Army, Nigerian Airforce, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigeria Correctional Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service, among several others.
“On the other hand, as Maitama Sule predicted, the orchestrated alienation of the South-East from the centres of power is the basic cause of the agitation in the South-East. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, led by Ambassador George Obiozor, has repeatedly stated that a people denied justice may not have an interest in peace.
“The request by Mr President to the West is almost unachievable because the West watch with keen interest and utter resignation the pathetic governance paradigm in the country. For the avoidance of doubt, democracy all over the world requires justice, equity, mutual toleration and institutional forbearance all of which are in short supply in today’s Nigeria.
“Mr President is reminded that the British profound sense of justice, fortitude, restraint, civic virtues and forbearance are the hallmarks that sustain their enviable government with an unwritten constitution.
“In a similar vein, what sustains the US democracy is not just the constitution but democratic norms and values anchored on justice and patriotism.
“Ohanaeze contends that if Mr President confronts the menace of the Fulani herdsmen who have been terrorising many states, communities and individuals for over seven years now with similar obsession and commitment deployed to IPOB, Nigeria will be a better place.”