May 6, 2020

Igbo Presidency: We didn’t appoint Gowon to negotiate on our behalf — Ohanaeze


Yakubu Gowon

Yakubu Gowon

…Calls for investigation of Abia govt’s claim of invasion by almajarai

By Chioma Gabriel & Eric Ugbor

Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has denied the allegation that it appointed former  Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retd) to negotiate Igbo Presidency on its behalf.

The group also called for investigation of Abia government’s claim that  trucks loaded with almajarai  have invaded the state.

Spokesman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, in a statement  expressed dismay over comments that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has appointed Gen Gowon (retd) to lead negotiation for Nigeria presidency of Igbo extraction in 2023.

Ohanaeze warned people who make statements using the name of the organisation to desist from such acts or they will be prosecuted for impersonation.

The group said it had not made any move yet to see eminent personalities mentioned by the media, adding that if such is to be done, appropriate organs of Ohanaeze will notify Nigerians .

“Besides,  the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is led by Arthur Obiora from Anambra State and not anyone else,” it said.

Investigation of Abia govt’s claim of invasion by almajarai

Ohanaeze also raised concern over the alarm by the Abia State government that some almajirai from the North have infiltrated the state in large numbers.

Ohanaeze, which, wondered how that happened when the state borders were supposed to be closed, asked for full investigation of the matter with a view to sending them back from where they came if confirmed.

READ ALSO: MASSOB vows to resist Chinese medical team in S’East

Fear has reportedly gripped residents of different parts of Abia State following the interception, yesterday, of a group of almajirai loaded in cattle truck on their way to Abia.

Vanguard gathered that Abia State Homeland Security agents led by the Commissioner for Homeland Security, Prince Dan Okoli intercepted the almajirai hidden in cattle trucks at Enugu-Abia border, along the Enugu- Aba highway.

A release by the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu, explained that overnight, several trucks conveying food items with several almajirai hiding in them were turned back at the same border until the interception  yesterday.

The commissioner said government had directed that more Homeland Security agents be deployed to one of the borders with Akwa Ibom State as well following the interception of another truck conveying almajirai alongside goods destined for Akwa Ibom State.

Abia State government had earlier on Monday alerted citizens that it received intelligence report on the planned movement of a group of almajirai  into the state within the next 24 hours.

Anxiety, fear

Some residents of Aba, the commercial hub of the state, who spoke to our reporter, pleaded with the state government to quickly do the needful to beef up the security within the state, especially at the borders.

Mr. Jackson Akudiwe said: “Since the news broke out, we are all jittering because we have been hearing that the level of deaths in Kano State was as a result of these almajirai.

“How come they want to shift them into our peaceful and less disturbed state? I thank God that the government uncovered this evil plot, but uncovering it is not enough. We are also happy that they have apprehended some of them and that is a wonderful achievement. We plead with them to quickly strengthen the borders.”

Meanwhile, Okiyi-Kalu said the state government has directed that traditional rulers and TC Chairmen of inter-state boundary communities will be held responsible and sanctioned for any of such unauthorised entry into the state.

He said government has warned that all necessary lawful measures must be taken to stop the entry of not only the almajirai but also other unlawful migrants.

He  added that the measures will remain till the Federal Government-backed inter-state border closure regulation put in place to control spread of COVID-19 from one state to another is lifted.

Ohanaeze warns

Following the  interception of these trucks, Ohanaeze has warned those who are suspected to have contracted COVID-19 and intend to run into Igbo land to think otherwise as they would be fished out and deported.

Ohanaeze advised all governors in the zone to monitor their borders and ensure security agents are not compromised.

Also, the group asked agitators in the country to mellow down on vulgar languages against groups or individuals, insisting that agitators could achieve their aim or achieve some level of concession from authorities without using foul languages.