BY Tony Edike
ENUGU — The Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday, expressed dismay over the threat by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, to drag the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika before the International Criminal Court, ICC, in Hague for alleged extra-judicial killings of some northerners.
He warned that the move could lead to a major crisis that would threaten the nation’s corporate existence. Bishop Chukwuma, who addressed a press conference in Enugu, said any attempt at persecuting the former COAS on account of the actions that were taken while he was in office would be resisted by the Igbos, urging the northern leaders to be well guided and advised.
He said Igbo would resist any attempt to humiliate the respected military officer who had succeeded in checkmating the activities of northern insurgents and their sponsors. His words: “Northern elders should be warned or they will set up inter-tribal war in Nigeria. Is it because Ihejirika is an Igbo man.
Any attempt to sue him or drag him before the ICC will be resisted by the Igbos. “Let them know it that we are ready to defend our brother because he has done nothing to warrant anybody taking him to Hague,” said the cleric who is also the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN South East zone.”
He, however, expressed disappointment that no Igbo man made the list of the newly appointed Service Chiefs by President Goodluck Jonathan saying by this action, the president had shut out Igbos from the nation’s Security Council. Bishop Chukwuma urged the National Assembly not to clear the appointees until the imbalance was addressed, insisting that the action of the President by not appointing an Igbo man to the security council, in spite of the position of the South-East in the nation’s political arrangement amounted to “selective negligence.”
“The president must be very careful because these northerners that he is flooding around himself have their own agenda,” he stated. On the crisis rocking the the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, culminating in the last week’s resignation of Alhaji Bamangar Tukur as National Chairman, Bishop Chukwuma said he was not surprised, noting that he had last year advised the duo of Tukur and the party’s Board of Trustees chairman, Tony Anenih, to quit active political involvement, considering their ages.
On the mass defection from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bishop Chukwuma said the situation portended great danger for the opposition party. “These defection will not augur well for our democracy, if APC continues to accept defected members, it will be a conglomeration of trouble makers and the end result will be the crashing of APC,” he said.