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Hate speech: Poor handling is recipe for national catastrophe, Ohanaeze warns

By Eno-Abasi Sunday and Gbenga Akinfenwa (Lagos), Abba Anwar (Kano) Adamu Abu (Abuja), Lawrence Njoku (Enugu) and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka)   |   13 August 2017   |   4:37 am

President General of Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Jnr)

• Unnamed Hausa Female Singer Waxes Lyrical In Anti-Igbo, South Attacks
• Frustration, Jealousy, Envy Motivation For Hate Song – MASSOB
• No Cause For Alarm Over Disturbing Song in Kano, Says Yakassai

Accusing the Federal Government of abdicating its responsibility and treating proponents of hate speeches with kid gloves, apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, says the scenario playing out in the country portrays government as “biased and unfair.”

The group, which was reacting to the trending anti-Igbo song in the North, which is coming on the heels of the October 1st, 2017 quit notice to Igbo by Arewa youths, is therefore warning that government’s failure to deal decisively with those making unguarded statements could signal the “beginning of a national catastrophe.”

The obnoxious song by an unnamed female singer, which has more than 20 vitriolic stanzas, plays for a duration of five minutes 39 seconds. For most of this period, the singer busies herself casting aspersions and invectives on Ndigbo.

While attempting to justify why Igbo should be blamed for the rising tension in the country, the singer who also touched on the Nigerian civil war, as well rendered her understanding of how Nigeria’s search for oil and its exploration were solely financed by funds from the North.

Loosely translated, the opening stanza of the song goes thus: “Igbo! Igbo! A human betrayer, Igbo a betrayer, stupid! Your being miscarried is far better than giving birth to you, Igbo!

Another stanza adds: “Let us face each other and see who will regret it. An Igbo was nonentity even in the history of our nationhood. When you were assisted and brought to limelight, not minding your troubled posture.”

Another stanza adds: “Even in the past, we knew you were paupers. Oil search and exploration in the South were done with the North’s wealth. We have with us agriculture and everything in the North. Truth is different from fiction.”

The singer continued: “It is the North that produces beans not South. It is the North that produces rice not South. We produce sesame, potato and wheat not South. Pepper, onion and millet we produce not South. Groundnut and other tubers we produce not South.

“Let’s disintegrate, let’s disintegrate, we northerners opt for disintegration. You said you don’t like us, we also never liked you for once. This is our country, not a personal property of one’s daddy.”

According to the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo: “Ohanaeze is appalled that prominent leaders in the North (with the exception of a few), have allowed this development to flourish without reproach. The Arewa youths have stoked the embers of hatred to a discomforting temperature. The toleration of their criminal conduct has portrayed the Federal government as biased and unfair.”

Nwodo continued: “Their quit notice to fellow Nigerians to leave any part of Nigeria strikes at the fundamental rights of citizenship. It is a call for the dissolution of the country. Their call for an inventory and seizure of assets of Nigerians living in the North is conversion. It amounts to a daylight robbery of lawful property. The declaration of mop up action after October 1, 2017 to deal with those who resist their quit notice order is a declaration of war.

“It is surprising that on top of all these, a hate song calling for more hatred, despise and abortion has been allowed to fester. Yet no one is arrested. All the orders of arrest from Kaduna State and the IGP seem to be ambivalent and unreal. The youths meet freely with governors of northern Nigeria and northern leaders showing that they enjoy their support,” Nwodo alleged.

The Ohanaeze chief warned that, “This development signals the beginning of a national catastrophe, which if not nipped in the bud will snowball into incalculable damage to our continued existence as one country. Ohanaeze gives notice to the Federal Government to deal with this situation decisively or forever be held responsible for the consequences this abdication of responsibility provokes. A stitch in time saves nine.”

Ohanaeze’s position is amplified by the pro-Biafra group, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), which insists that the hate song “is borne out of frustration, jealousy and envy,” as well as a sign of “deep frustration and disorganisation of Arewa people, their religion, tradition and political leadership.”

According to its leader, Uchenna Madu, “This uncontrolled and loose frustration, envy and jealousy of Arewa people through another dimension of hate song is a clear and eloquent evidence that Nigeria is doomed and doomed forever and can never be redeemed. They have further proved to the world that Nigeria is not and can never be one entity. We are Biafrans, Hausa Fulani are Arewas, while Yoruba are Oduduwas. We can never continue to deceive ourselves as if Nigeria is one because God did not create or establish us as Nigerians.

“MASSOB welcomes the hate songs from Arewa people against the people of Biafra. We have listened to the song, we have it both in audio and script. MASSOB once again reminds our people residing in Hausa Fulani land to immediately commence relocation back to Biafra land because a stitch in time saves nine,” Madu said.

“We wish to remind the people of Biafra that spreading of this Arewa hate song against Ndigbo is also targeted against other ethnic groups from eastern region of Nigeria. Even their Yoruba Muslim brethren are not safe in Arewa land when the Arewa people commence the execution of their threat of genocide against Biafra people residing in the North after October 1, 2017. MASSOB wants the hate song to spread like wildfire not only in Arewa land, but throughout Nigeria.”

For the Eastern Consultative Assembly, the hate song is crafted and designed by people opposed to the country’s restructuring, even as it expressed sadness that a segment of the country has refused to see reasons why the present political and economic structure would no longer work.

Secretary General of the group, Elliot Uko said: “Some elements are totally opposed to restructuring and doing everything at their disposal to ensure that they discourage any effort in that regard.

“This is not the first card they have thrown. The first of their scheming was the ultimatum given to Igbo and now they decided to increase the tempo with the Igbo hate song. The truth is that if Nigeria is not restructured it is bound to fail. Those who think that they will convert Igbo property in the North have failed. Those who think they will ride on Igbo blood to prosper themselves have failed.”

For elder statesman, Tanko Yakassai, there was no cause for alarm over the trending hate song because, to the best of his knowledge, Ndigbo resident in Kano have not been molested as a result of the song.

Yakassai told The Guardian, yesterday: “You know I am an old man who doesn’t step down from my apartment until 3pm on daily basis because I don’t have many friends like before again. Most of them are now dead. But I have not heard anything on the hate song. Of course I monitored the Interior Minister, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, talking about a bill to deal decisively with those behind the ugly trend.

“Kano is at peace. Nobody is under threat, not even the Igbo, who have been living with us for years. If there is any negative thing, I will definitely know because I have up to 20 of my children with me here in Kano. They have friends among the Igbo.

“I am very sure they will tell me if anything is happening, or if our people here are taking the hate song serious. The funny side of the story is that I am not even aware of the hate song in spite of the fact that I am also active on both the social and traditional media platforms.”




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