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Igbo leader explodes over Prof. Ango Abdullahi’s comments

…Says, “It’s capable of setting Nigeria ablaze.”

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has blasted former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, over comments on alleged killing of northerners by the Igbos in the Eastern region, describing the allegations as “incendiary, unsubstantiated and provocative.”

Similarly, northern elders, operating under the aegis of ‘Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development,’ in a statement described Prof. Abdullahi’s utterances as “false, unfortunate, insensitive, callous and meant to instigate Nigerians against one other.”

The President-General, in a release by his Media Adviser, Chief Emeka Attamah, expressed wonder where, and when, the Igbos have killed their northern brothers without any case of mayhem and killings against the north in any Igbo-speaking state.

The statement stressed that the Igbo leader “frowned at the incendiary, unsubstantiated and provocative statement” credited to the leader of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, alleging that most violent acts against the northerners are perpetrated by the Igbo.

“Reacting to this dangerous gaff by a man, who by learning, experience and exposure should know better, Chief Nwodo, said that the unprovoked outburst by Prof Abdullahi was capable of setting the country ablaze.

Nwodo challenged Prof Abdullahi to make public facts to substantiate his wild and malicious claim, unless it was intended to set up the Igbo for another round of killings in the north, adding that with the statement, the Igbo in the north are not safe.

“The President-General reminded Prof Abdullahi that ‘on the contrary, the Igbos have borne the brunt and have been victims of age-long and misguided attacks and bloody orgies by their northern “brothers” at the slightest upheavals in the country; sometimes, even as a result of an event outside the country, and no restitution has ever been made for such losses.’

Chief Nwodo regretted that the Igbo, apart from innumerable dead ones, have lost property valued at trillions of naira during such senseless attacks in the north; yet, they are the “catalysts of development and the unifying cord” that holds Nigeria together.

The President-General told the Northern Elders Forum to exhibit greater caution and wisdom in addressing sensitive national issues like this, rather than stoke further the fire of ethnic violence by making such unguarded, unsubstantiated, garrulous and vitriolic claims capable of igniting fire and breakdown of law and order that could consume the country.

He reminded them that knowing that, Nigeria is now a tinderbox, especially with the heightened frayed nerves arising from the unfortunate mismanagement of the fabric of the nation, caution should be the watchword.

Chief Nwodo further reminded Prof Abdullahi that at the twilight of his life, he should espouse salutary views that should bind and heal the wounds of the country so that he will leave behind a better and united Nigeria.

The President-General called on the Federal Government to call NEF to order and make them rescind their inflammatory statement to avoid the possible mayhem and confusion it could cause in the country.

Accordingly, Northern elders have ‘disowned’ Professor Ango Abdullahi over his recent statement that many people from the northern part of the country were killed in the Southeast during the #EndSARS protests.

The elders, who strongly condemned the statement, asked Nigerians to ignore it, stating that it was a personal opinion of Abdullahi and not the general position of Northern elders as he erroneously portrayed.

It insisted that the statement is capable of igniting ethnic killings, and asked Nigerians not to fall prey to Abdullahi’s antics.

In the statement, signed by the group’s National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, and National Women Leader, Hajia Mario Bichi, the northern elders said Abdullahi acted alone in his statement, insisting they were not part of it.

“We wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the statement credited to a well-read and respected elder statesman from our region, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, to the effect that Igbo people killed many northerners in the Southeast during the #EndSARS protests, which was hijacked by some sponsored criminal elements.

“This statement is false, unfortunate, insensitive, callous, and meant to instigate Nigerians against one other. Making this unfounded claim, especially at a time Nigerians had worked past the ugly civil war experiences and are building bridges and consolidating on national reconciliation, is the least unfortunate.

“We wish to let Nigerians know that, Prof. Ango Abdullahi’s statement was his personal opinion and did not represent the position of Northern Elders as he had portrayed. We expect that an elder statesman of his status with such level of education ought to have known the difference between criminality and ethnic agenda.

“What happened in some southeast states was a pure act of criminality and not an Igbo agenda and was not peculiar to the region,” the statement read.

READ ALSO: Ango Abdullahi a paper tiger – Presidency – “How can he say Igbo people killed northerners? Nothing can be more misleading than this.”

According to the statement, “People were killed and properties destroyed in several parts of the country, including some parts of the north. It is unfair to attribute this act of some misguided deviants as a collective Igbo agenda.

“It is an established fact that during and after the uprising, so many Igbo group rose to condemn the attacks by these criminals and even shared intelligence with security agencies, which led to the arrest of so many of these misguided youths.

“Prominent groups in Igboland also condemned the activities of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in public. So, we wonder where Prof. Ango got his facts from.

“It is our humble appeal that we guide our comments, especially those capable of igniting hate across the country. We must continue to preach national unity and work together to defeat criminality in our country instead of attributing such act to a particular region,” they tasked.

“We, therefore, call our Northern and Southern brothers to ignore this statement in its entirety,” it stated. 

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