By Marcus Ikechukwu
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the southeast socio cultural group has condemned the destruction of property and business outfits belonging to the people of the Southeast based in Sokoto by some irate youths.
Dr Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, the National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo while reacting to the violent that followed the killing of a student in Sokoto over alleged blasphemy.
He wondered the nexus between the Igbo traders and Deborah Samuel, an indigene of Niger State who was alleged to have blasphemed against Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the Prophet of Islam on Thursday, May 12, 2022 to warrant the destruction of Igbo properties.
Read the statement in full
Ohanaeze watched the clip with intense curiosity, the background of the killing and burning of Miss Samuel at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto and could not in any way fathom any iota of Igbo connection to the incident. An Igbo neither interfered nor was an accessory in the said blasphemy. The question on every lip all over the world is “why again the Igbo.
“It is very unfortunate that at any time there is any form of misconception or crisis in the North, it often ends with a mob that goes against the Igbo commercial and residential interests.”
“For instance, in February 2016, there was a cartoon about Prophet Muhammad by the Danish newspaper in faraway Denmark which generated an international uproar.”
“The uproar took an inexplicable barbaric dimension in Maiduguri, Nigeria where over 50 people, identified as Christians were killed, mostly of Igbo ethnic group and many of their properties were either destroyed or damaged by rioting Muslims.”
“Perhaps, this is why Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, the President-General of the apex Igbo social-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, prophetically lamented that insecurity of Igbo people in Nigeria has reached a dangerous level of existential threat, saying Igbo are the most vulnerable and victims of violence throughout Nigeria.”
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that the core essence of religion all over the world is to enhance humanity with such values as love, peace, fellow feeling, etc. The transcendental imperative of every religion revolves around charity, kindness, humility, sincerity, tolerance, empathy and the likes. The diversity of mankind makes it practically impossible for everybody to belong to one faith.”
“On the other hand, if every religion embarks on cleansing of the members whose faith are at variance, we all shall revert to the Hobbesian state of nature where life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
In positing that Muslims who kill Christians in Nigeria over blasphemy won’t smell Paradise, an Islamic Scholar, Sheik Ahmad Gumi contended that “there are people who are neither Muslims not Christians in Nigeria and everyone is trying to win their souls. Also, there are people who are not Muslims, whom we are preaching Islam to so that they can enter the fold of Islam and be salvaged in the hereafter.
According to Gumi, “If we now begin to kill people, they will say it is even from the leader of our faith, Prophet Muhammad that we have learnt it. They will say their religion is a religion of bloodletting”.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo asks the Igbo community in Sokoto State to remain calm and take stock of all the damages done to their houses, shops and goods in Sokoto on Saturday, May 14 with a view to seeking compensation from the relevant authorities.
“The Igbo owe it a duty to work hard and also contribute in developing every community they find themselves. That is patriotism. Therefore, there is no gainsaying the Igbo contributions to national development all over the country but to victimize Ndigbo for reasons unknown to them or to subject the Igbo to the butt and dregs of society or to the receiving end of the current Nigerian predicament is to say the least unacceptable.
Ohanaeze is delighted that President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the resort to self-help by the mob in Sokoto, resulting in violence, destruction and killing of Deborah.
“While commending the Rt. Hon Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto State for the timely intervention, we urge the governor to ensure that all those that were involved in the destruction of the Igbo property are brought to book. Finally, we call on the governor of the State to mitigate the losses incurred by the Igbo traders in Sokoto State over what they knew not,” he said