By OLAYINKA AJAYI
Nigerians have been asked to reject politicians with links to Boko Haram. In a joint press conference by leaders of ethnic indigenous communities held in Lagos at the weekend, the groups said the conflict in the Magreb region and Boko Haram insurgency has led to displacement of indigenous communities and the seizure of ancestral homelands, rape and killing of innocent civilians by armed Islamic gangs.
According to them, the response of the Hausa-Fulani ruling class has largely been that of cold complicity.
The groups position was articulated as part of the activities marking the United Nations (UN) Day of indigenous communities which began in New York on August 9, 1994, after the General Assembly of the UN set the date aside to honour and recognise the plight of the indigenous peoples across the world.
This year’s event, held in Lagos on Friday, was at the instance of the Green Peoples Environmental Network, (GREPNET), Southern Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Alliance (SONENA), O’odua National Coalition (ONAC) and the Coalition of Nigerian Civil Rights Groups (CONRIG). Several representatives of ethnic groups from across the country, including members of the United Middle Belt Youth Congress (UMBYC), were at the event.
The joint statement was signed by Ibiri Digifa, Michael Popoola, Kalu Nwachukwu and Adegbuyi Kehinde.
The groups said without a national dialogue and the restructuring of Nigeria, there will be no end in sight to the circle of violence which has been the lot of Nigerians since 1960.
The groups noted that as 2015 presidential election draws near, it would begin an intensive campaign against Islamic fundamentalist candidates.
They noted that the statement attributed to Prof. Ango Abdullahi that the Hausa-Fulani will “never return power to the South” once the region obtains power now or in the future demonstrates a malicious show of arrogance that must be resisted by Nigerians.