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IPOB attacks: Clear your names or be considered responsible, South East elites urged

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 18, 2015 Pro-Biafra supporters shout slogans in Aba, southeastern Nigeria, during a protest calling for the release of a key activist. The protesters support the creation of a breakaway state of Biafra in the southeast and want the release of Nnamdi Kanu, who is believed to be a major sponsor of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and director of the pirate radio station Radio Biafra. – In a region where separatist sentiments often flare up among the indigenous Igbo, officials are pointing at the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra or IPOB that agitates for a separate state.<br />But the situation is far from clear.<br />IPOB says it is falsely accused in a bid to divide the separatists who are already split over strategy. Some southern leaders accuse rivals of sponsoring attacks to discredit them. (Photo by Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP)

Igbo elders in the Southeastern part of the country have been challenged to publicly denounce the outlawed members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), or otherwise take responsibility for their alleged dastardly act in the region.

Former Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Assembly Matters, Alhaji Abdurrahman Sulaiman Kawu Sumaila, who made the call in a statement issued in Kano, insisted that until Southern elites ventilate their views on the ugly trend, Nigerians would assume their partial endorsement of the action and inaction of the armed militia.

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The former member representing Sumaila Federal Constituency cautioned Southern elites to be mindful of their reputations and the consequence of maintaining indifference.

The former presidential aide insisted that the respected elites in the zone should rather condemn the attacks, especially, on people of Northern extraction, noting that “it is only when they did this with sincerity that Nigerians will believe their innocence”.

According to him, “The elites in the southeast should borrow a leaf from their northern counterparts such as Arewa Consultative Forum and Northern Elders Forum, who have been persistently condemning the activities of Boko Haram fighters and bandits in the North.

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“You must clear your names or else, Nigerians will consider you culprits of all the killings and destructions in some Southern states. Had it been, the northern elites support the activities of bandits, Boko Haram and other similar crimes in the north, the story would have been different by now.

“But they keep on condemning it and calling on the authorities concern to take appropriate measures against the culprits for the peace to reign in the region. Not only the ACF and Northern Elders Forum, if some political and cultural groups in the North can criticise President Muhammadu Buhari on certain national issues, why the southeast elites cannot condemn the attacks in public at least to show their innocence.

“With these atrocities being committed by southeast people on records, how can Nigerians entrust them to govern them? I am sure not a single right-thinking Nigerian will endanger his life to support the candidature of any southeast politician contesting for presidency come 2023 general elections.”

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Sumaila noted that it has now become clear that the motives behind the attacks were to turn the country into anarchy, while believing that the perpetrators of the attacks must understand that “if the country is turned chaotic, then nobody including the perpetrators can escape”.

The former political aide, however, supported president Buhari recent position on the attacks in the south, saying the president should do everything possible within the ambit of the law to stop killings and destructions not only in the south but in the whole country.

Sumaila, who condemned killings and destruction of security formations in the south, stated that it was only when there is a peace that Nigeria will prosper.

He said peaceful coexistence was the bedrock of every development and progress of society, while appealed to northern people to continue to exercise patience about the happenings in the south.

“The government and Northern elites are aware of the losses you have been counting courtesy of the attacks in the south. Be patient, no condition is permanent. Normalcy will soon be restored to all the crisis-prone areas in the country,” Sumaila appealed.

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