• Condemns continued killing of harmless agitators
• Says OPC members move unmolested in South West
The worsening plight of Ndigbo under the President Muham¬madu Buhari’s ad-ministration on Tuesday night dominated talks between the new President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Nnia Nwodo and Igbo leaders in La¬gos.
Nwodo told his audience comprising Igbo intellectuals, bankers and businessmen, that Ndigbo had never had it so bad in recent times.
He expressed shock that President Buhari did not trust Igbo to the extent of appointing any of them to head any of the security agencies or the para¬military bodies.
The Ohanaeze chief there¬fore called on Ndigbo to unite so that they can redeem the re¬gion from neglect and margin¬alisation by the federal authorities.
Nwodo stated that Igbo no longer feel that they are part of Nigeria and lamented that the ill-treatment meted on them warranted the ongoing agita¬tions.
The meeting with Igbo lead¬ers held at the Kofo Abayomi, Victoria Island secretariat of Ndigbo Lagos and was attend¬ed by renowned ex-bank chief and businessman, Dr. Paschal Dozie, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Anya O. Anya, the Chairman of the United States-based World Igbo Congress (WIC), Dr. Joe Eto, among others.
He said: “We don’t feel that we are part of this country. The statement I made earlier was not my thinking alone. Every part of that statement was scru¬tinised line by line by members of the Ohanaeze executive and we agreed this was the situation before it was issued.
“How can we be comforta¬ble in a country where no Igbo man is heading any of the secu¬rity services in this country? Not the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Customs Service (NCS), Immigrations, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), State Security Services (SSS), Feder¬al Road Safety Corps and the Nigeria Security and Civil De¬fence Corps (NSCDC). The im¬pression we have been given is that we are not trusted enough to be put as the head of any se¬curity agency.
“Now, if you drive to the South East, we are like a con¬quered people. In every major town you go into, there is a mili¬tary checkpoint. They call it Op¬eration Python Dance. If they screen you for arms and ammu¬nition, I will understand that it is national security imperative. But they collect money from you. We are forced to pay. “Be¬tween Enugu and Onitsha, there are 17 police checkpoints that I enumerated on one trip. There are police checkpoints, some police and army combined. The commercial vehicle drivers drop the money on the ground.
“They do not care whether the Inspector-General of Police is coming in an on-coming vehi¬cle or that they are being photo¬graphed. It does not happen an¬ywhere else in this country. And nobody cares. I said it at the 82 Division and I was arrested. I have said that at every public fo¬rum anytime I have the opportu¬nity, I will keep harping on this,” he said.
Nwodo continued: “Now, let me say something about our sons and daughters in the Indig¬enous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement of r the Actu¬alisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) who are be¬ing killed every day.
“Who wouldn’t agitate if you were in their shoes? I did so when we went to war in Biafra. The pogrom was a catalyst for war. And no civilisation mur¬ders people in a way to solve political problems.
“I fought for Biafra in 1967. I see the same condition that propelled Biafra existing now. I see the children restive and even threatening us their fa¬thers that they cannot subsist under this present political sit¬uation. I am their father.
“Their grief is my grief. Their struggle is my struggle. Even though I do not agree that it is necessary to waste Igbo lives now, I believe that Nige¬ria is going to be restructured in a manner that every part of it can be developed on its own momentum with a reasonable sense of fiscal independence.
“I think that what is being done to these boys has exacer¬bated them and increased their capacity for violence.
“Boko Haram is a military force. It has conquered some territories, even though some have been recaptured. It has in¬stalled local authorities, it has in¬stalled traditional authorities, it has planted its flag.
“Nothing could be more treasonable. OPC moves like mo¬torcade in the South West and are saluted by the police.
“The other day, there were demonstrations in Lagos, in Abuja and Ijebu Ode and the police were protecting the dem¬onstrators, but they demonstrat¬ed in Aba and they were mowed down and killed. Nobody inves¬tigates.
“Between Enugu and An¬ambra States, there is a river, 20 bodies floated in that river for two months and they were sup¬posed to be MASSOB bodies, nobody cared and investigated it till today.
“In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the other day, in solidari¬ty with President Donald Trump, they demonstrated and 11 peo¬ple were killed.
“According to them, the po¬lice said one person, I called for an inquiry - find out how many were killed and why they were killed, nobody has listened to me. Do you belong to such a coun¬try which is deaf to the sancti¬ty of life?
“Time has come for all of us to join our hands. My cap is on the ground. This journey you have sent me, it is your choice to make if you will leave me to die in the wilderness and the wild animals to feed on my corpse. But if not so, join hands with me to redeem our people,” Nwodo said.