Southern, Middle-Belt leaders demand full investigation
Ikokwu, Okorie, MASSOB, Igbo in Diaspora, others speak
Nwodo urges vigilance, says we’ve entered another phase of independence struggle
By Emeka Mamah, Clifford Ndujihe, Anayo Okoli, Emeka Aginam & Peter Okutu
FROM the lips of eminent Nigerians and groups, outrage, Monday, greeted Sunday’s bombing of the Ukehe, Enugu State country home of Ohanaeze President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo.
Describing the attack as cowardly, wicked, heinous, provocative, and irresponsible among others, those who spoke on the incident expressed worries about worsening insecurity in the country and called for full investigation.
Indeed, the Ohanaeze, Monday, laid a curse on the attackers and blamed the Federal Government for its inability to provide security with Chief Nwodo saying that Nigerians have entered another phase of the independence struggle.
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum demanded for an inquiry and full investigation to unravel those behind the explosion that rocked Nwodo’s home.
In a statement by Mr Yinka Odumakin, the Southern and Middle Belt leaders urged the security operatives to unearth the masterminds.
The group stated: “The Leaders of Southern and Middle Belt Forum have received the initial reports of a bomb explosion that occurred at the Ukehe country home of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,Chief John Nnia Nwodo at around 5:30 am on Sunday when members of the household were getting ready for the early morning mass.”
It noted that what has been described as an Improvised Explosive Device, IED,was said to have been hurled over the fence into the compound causing damage to the windows, the ceiling of one of the houses in the compound and air conditioning units.
“We thank God for Nwodo that he did not suffer any loss of life in this terror attack. Five days before this ungodly attack, Nwodo was the spokesman of Southern and Middle Belt Forum Leaders at a press conference in Abuja where we bemoaned the harassment that Gen T.Y Danjuma and his community have been subjected to over his call for Nigerians to defend themselves against attacks from terror herdsmen whom he alleged have collusion from security forces and operating unhinged. The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum therefore backed the self-defence call as lawful and moral.
This is why we are demanding a thorough investigation which report will be made public into the terror attack on Nwodo’s home shortly after this press conference so as to ascertain that there is no cause and effect in this incident. We are stiff worried at the intensification of terror in our land but will hold our breathe until we have reports of the investigations,” they said.
Meanwhile, among those who paid solidarity visits to Nwodo yesterday were the Secretary to the Government of Enugu State, Dr Ajah.
And those who spoke on the issue included a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, James Ikeyi, a popular priest, Rev. Father Emeka Ngwoke and lawyer in Chief Nwodo’s Law Firm, Nkwuo Chimezie, described the attack as a wicked act calculated to put Chief Nwodo into panic as well as deter him from pushing forward the cause of the Igbo race.
Perpetrators will remain cursed – Ohanaeze
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Barr. Uche Achi-Okpaga, in a statement described the attack barbaric, lugubrious and irresponsible and hoped ”that such deadly reprehensible perpetrators will soon be caught to face the full wrath of the law. No sinner ever goes unpunished.”
He blamed the federal government for its inability to stem the tide of insecurity in different parts of the country stressing that the attack on Nwodo would not deter the group from clamouring for the restructuring of the nation.
“It smells to high heavens that security and freedom in Nigeria have fled to oblivion. The whole of Nigeria has become a theatre of war and terrorism. This brings to bare why we insist on restructuring. The Military, Police, Civil Defence and others alike are agencies of the Federal Government. So that is why we blame the federal government for the alarming insecurity all over Nigeria.”
Also, laying a curse on the perpetrators, the Enugu State Chairman of Ohanaeze, Dr Alex Ogbonna, during a solidarity visit to Nwodo, yesterday, described “Chief Nwodo as the conscience of Igbo nation because he represents Ndigbo for truth and equity.”
Ogbonna, who was accompanied by the chairmen of Ohanaeze in the 17 local governments of the state, said that, as the home state of the President General, it behooved on them to be the first to react to the attempt on his life.
“Whoever is trying to repress Chief Nwodo is wasting his time because the ideological foundation of what he advocated and is fighting for is anchored on truth. God brought Chief Nwodo at this point in time to save Ndigbo from the quagmire they have found themselves, and anybody fighting him is fighting the whole of Ndigbo.”
Responding, Chief Nwodo observed that the country had entered another phase of its struggle for independence pointing out that his trust in God remained “unshakeable.” He further said that nothing would distract him from the assignment given to him by Ndigbo, adding that the attack on him was symbolic as it could happen to any other person in the country.
Nwodo, however, commended the Igbo delegation for the solidarity visit which he said had emboldened him, as it was a sign of acceptability and support and called for total vigilance by all Nigerians.
Ndigbo fearlessly advocate a restructured Nigeria – Ikokwu
To Second Republic politician, Grand Patron of Ohanaeze Lagos and President of Pan-Ndigbo Nigeria Forum, Chief Guy Ikokwu, the bomb attack on Nwodo’s country home was a heinous and cowardly display.
Canvassing for the restructuring of the country to boost security of lives and properties, he said: ”All Ndigbo are members Ohanaeze Worldwide irrespective of their political parties affiliations in Nigeria. Our President, Nwodo is a fortified leader. Ndigbo are resilient and courageous due also to the civil war experience of living memory. We fearlessly advocate a restructured truly federal Nigeria to move the country forward as Africa’s shinning light.
”The vast majority of Nigerians reject the present militaristic unitary hegemonic governance system which is not productive or developmental for a multi-religious, multi-cultural , and heterogeneous country like Nigeria. This is the core issue facing Nigeria and deprived Nigerians are taking their positions under Afenifere in Yoruba land under Chiefs Fasoranti and Ayo Adebanjo, and Senator Edwin Clark and leaders of PANDEV and Niger Delta Forum, and the Middle Belt Forum of Dr Takaya, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Prof Jery Gana, and the Alhaji Tanko Yakasai new Association of Core North Liberal Fundamentalists gaining momentum as anti-unitarist movement, so it is clear that Ohanaeze Global and indomitable Chief Nwodo shall prevail in moving Nigeria foward.”
It’s to provoke Ndigbo into precipitate action – Okorie
National Chairman of the United Progressive Party, UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie, said the party received the news of the bomb explosion with ”shock and anger”.
”This is a highly provocative and cowardly act. It is public knowledge that Chief Nwodo has recently been a victim of unprovoked verbal attack and threats from certain quarters for reasons of his principled stand on issues in the line of duty as the President General of Ohanaeze. It is also not unlikely that some terrorist organisations from outside Igbo land may be behind this dastardly act with a view to provoking Ndigbo to take precipitate action.
We call on the Police, DSS and all relevant security agencies to spread out their dragnet to track down and bring to justice the culprits and their sponsors. We urge Chief Nnia Nwodo to remain strong, resolute and committed to his patriotic leadership of Ndigbo at this trying time. We assure him and the entire leadership of Ohanaeze of our solidarity and prayers,” he said.
It’s a terrorist attack – MASSOB
The Movement for The Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, also condemned the explosion and described it as “a terrorist attack.”
MASSOB said its leader Comrade Uchenna Madu and the entire members are disturbed over the trend of increasing insecurity in the country and called on Ndigbo to be very vigilant going forward.
In a statement signed by its National Director of Information, Comrade Samuel Edeson, MASSOB said it was “regrettable and disgraceful” that enemies of Ndigbo would target Nwodo’s house for attack.
“It is regrettable and disgraceful that the house of the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was bombed by the enemies of Ndigbo who hate peaceful atmosphere but delighted in evil.
“MASSOB assures that whoever that is responsible for the devilish operation must never go unpunished. We shall intensify our security efforts, vigilance and grassroots reawakening of security consciousness in Igbo land against our common enemies. MASSOB is calling on Ndigbo and all Biafrans to wake up from their political slumber. Ndigbo must know that our enemies are now within our midst. We condemn this terrorist attack against an Igbo leader. Today, it is Nnia Nwodo, tomorrow who knows the next target?”
Diaspora Igbo group calls for investigation
Also, the umbrella organization of the Igbo in the Diaspora, the Igbo World Assembly, IWA condemned the attack.
The Chairman of the group, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze in a world press conference at the weekend while consoling with the Nwodo family described the action of the arsonists as callous, and urged security operatives to get to work immediately to unravel those behind the wicked act.
“We are sad to hear the burning of the house of Ohanaeze Ndigbo chieftain. It is very unfortunate. It is an attack on Ndigbo. Security agencies should get to work and arrest the culprits. It will go a long way in serving as a lesson to others, ” he said.