By Emeka Mamah & Chidi Nkwopara
ENUGU—THE National Executive Council, NEC, of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, yesterday, accused the Federal Government of “receding into an authoritarian regime” as it now picks outspoken Nigerians and detains them without trial.
Rising from its meeting in Enugu yesterday, Ohanaeze gave the example of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who it said was recently arrested and detained for several days without being told the reasons for his incarceration.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Media Aide of the President General of the association, yesterday, Chief Emeka Attamah.
The statement read in part, “The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has condemned the recent arrest, detention and harassment of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe by the Department of State Services, DSS.
“Abaribe’s detention was an aberration because under the law, nobody should be detained for more than 48 hours without being charged to court or released.
“His incarceration and harassment could make others with the interest of the nation at heart to develop cold feet instead of contributing ideas to the growth of the nation.
“Ohanaeze regretted that by the action of the Federal Government, the country is gradually receding into authoritarianism.”
…Criticises Buhari over comparison of Plateau killings with Zamfara incidents
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership also lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari for comparing the ethmic cleansing in Plateau State with the killings in Zamfara State, describing the situation as unfotunate.
According to the statement signed by his media aide, Emeka Attamah, yesterday, “the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo described the comparison by President Muhammadu Buhari of killings in Plateau State to those of Zamfara State as most unfortunate.”
The foremost Igbo body said that “it believes that no human life was greater than the other and that two wrongs do not make a right.
“Rather than compare the number of casualties, the Federal Government should rejig its security apparatus, stop further killings and appease the families and communities affected by the senseless killings.
“ Ohanaeze Ndigbo expressed the fear that from the trend of events, it appeared as if General T.Y. Danjuma’s outcry that there was a grand design by some people to carry out ethnic cleansing in the country and that government was colluding with them was justified.
“The group called on the government to allay the fears of the people, especially with the double standards being exhibited by the Federal Government in the handling of the issues of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the suspected herdsmen.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo observes that while the Federal Government proscribed IPOB a harmless organization, Miyetti Allah which has openly claimed responsibility for most of the attacks for just the killing or rustling of their cattle has been going around .
‘If government could label IPOB a terrorist organization, there was no reason that Miyetti Allah, the umbrella body of cattle herders should not be proscribed and their leaders prosecuted.”
It stated that if the Federal Government is not being partisan, why then should it remain silent on the utterances of Miyetti Allah which also advanced the killing of their cattle in the Benue massacre for their attacks there.
“Ohanaeze is asking: how many suspected Fulani herdsmen have been taken to court for either the killings in the country or for carrying Ak-47 rifles about in the full glare of security operatives, contrary to the provisions of the law.”
It wondered what should be the punishment for those herdsmen alleged to have killed more than 200 people in a Christian-populated area in Plateau State if five Christians have been condemned to death for allegedly killing a herdsman.”
Nwodo, Turaki blast FG over killings
Also yesterday, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, and former Minister of Special Duties and intergovernmental Relations, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN) blasted the Federal Government for not doing enough to tackle the periodic massacre of innocent Nigerians.
The duo spoke during the 6th Professor Celestine Onwuliri Memorial Lecture and Undergraduate Scholarship Awards at Ahiazu Mbaise.
For Nwodo, “the mayhem in Jos, Plateau State is a national disaster which doubles as a climax of the total breakdown of the security system in Nigeria”.
According to Nwodo, “the response of the President and the Federal Government is most disgraceful”, stressing that our country is threatened in a way that it has never been threatened before”.
Continuing, Chief Nwodo said Nigerians are anxious to see a more positive response from the government, “otherwise, we will be calling for a meeting of all socio-cultural organizations in the country, to ask the Federal Government whether it is capable of keeping Nigeria and Nigerians safe.”
Buhari has failed—Turaki
Delivering his 22-page lecture titled Security and Unity for Greater Prosperity, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (SAN) said: “From whatever angle or perspective one approaches this question, it becomes crystal clear that this government has failed in meeting up with its obligations to the people of this country as directed and mandated by our constitution.”
He lamented that Nigerians have become more vulnerable as far as the security of their lives and properties are concerned.
“We have seen how a tiny issue of insecurity bedevilling the three front line states in the North-East, had snowballed into a national disaster. There is now the issue of clashes between herdsmen and farmers, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people, almost on a daily basis, in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba and some areas in the South East and South West geo-political zones”, Turaki said.
He said that “the citizenry have seen how government has clearly displayed either lack of interest or more correctly, lack of capacity and political will to stop the killings and restore peace and order in the villages and communities affected by these wanton killings.”