Igbo leaders warn against violent secession
Mbaise in U.S. laments Imo security situation, seeks peace
Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), an umbrella of Igbo intelligentsia has warned that Nigeria may be heading towards chaos more fatal than 1967 to 1970 civil war.
This was as Mbaise leaders in the United States of America condemned the destruction of life and property in Imo State.
ILT Chairman, Professor Ben Nwabueze, stated yesterday that the circumstances had changed over the past 50 years and lessons ought to have been learnt.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) noted that “about this time in 1964, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the ceremonial President of the country, in his characteristic manner, warned of the impending calamity about to befall the country,” and pleaded for a peaceful disintegration of the country rather than through battles and wars.
According to him, it seems appropriate at this point in time to draw attention to Azikiwe’s warning, as “other federations have disintegrated, apart from the ill-conceived, ill-structured Nigerian federation.”
He added: “On behalf of ILT, I call, like Azikiwe did, for peace and sanity. The command of troops may, in the end, prove to be mere cosmetic than real. If we must disintegrate, let us meet and decide how to do that. I repeat, no one owns this country.”
MBAISE Leadership Forum (MLF) in the U.S.A decried the security situation in Imo State, in which lives and properties are destroyed by ‘unknown gunmen and security operatives drafted to the state to restore peace.
In a statement signed by the Moderator of MLF, Chris Ohanele, and President, Mbaise in U.S.A., Chief Samuel Echendu, the group described the mayhem as needless, while hoping for the return of peace in the state.
Mbaise is a major clan in Imo with three local councils. It was at Afor Enyiogugu, Aboh Mbaise Local Council, that the alleged killers of Ahmed Gulak were gunned down and burnt by security operatives.
The statement read in part: “Recent events in Imo and Mbaise have been difficult to watch. We are saddened by the escalation of violence, the needless loss of lives and the destruction of property. We sincerely hope that peace will soon be restored.
“All of us are united by our shared purpose to live in peace and security and to go about our legitimate activities without let or hindrance. We desire to be treated with fairness and justice. But we know that the constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens cannot be taken for granted. So, we have the right to demand them.”
It asserted that reasonable people could disagree without resorting to violence, just as it welcomed all peaceful initiatives to secure the law-abiding citizens whose lives had been significantly impacted by the general insecurity.
Supporting the call by Ezuruezu Mbaise for the people to stay away from actions that will lead to insecurity in the land, MLF urged the people to desist from making utterances that could inflame the current situation.
“Social media should be used responsibly and not as a tool to cause panic. It should not be used to post hateful propaganda and incendiary comments. In the face of a common threat to our security, it is necessary that we stay united even as we may have different points of views.
“We must avoid the temptation to turn on one another. Given the Nigerian geopolitical reality, in which we are so tenuously situated, our strength at this moment lies in our ability to exercise restraint. This may well be a strategy for survival. But we must set our sights higher than mere survival; we must aim to thrive, and by the grace of God we will live and thrive together.”