Northern traditional rulers should caution Bayero don — HRM Eze Eberechi Dike
Eze Berechi Dike, who called Palace Watch during the week, said the allegation made in Kano State, where the university don alleged, among other things, that drug abuse prevalent among northern youths is the handiwork of Igbo people, is in bad taste and a deliberate attempt to incite violence against Igbo traders, who are doing their businesses peacefully in the north.
Dr. Bala Muhammad of the Faculty of Communication, Bayero University, Kano, had accused Igbo traders of being drug merchants, who supply codeine syrups to the north.
Muhammad made the allegation, while presenting a paper at the Kano Youth Summit on Peace Advocacy and Development, organised by Hamisu Magaji Foundation at Mambayya House.
HRM Eze Eberechi Dike said: “Much as I feel sad about the ugly menace of drug abuse among northern youths, as painted by the university don, it is wrong and inciting to say the Igbo, known all over the world for entrepreneurial qualities, are the ones supplying these banned substances to the northern region.”
In his view, this allegation is most unfair and a deliberate call to arms against Igbo living peacefully in the north.
He explained that in the north, there are a lot of natives and foreigners, including Lebanese, Syrians and people from Asian countries generally, who are engaged in all manner of businesses in every part of northern Nigeria. He, therefore, wondered why Muhammad decided to zero in on the Igbo alone.
He said: “The Igbos are not known for producing or manufacturing the classes of drugs he listed. And since these drugs can be sought and procured by whosoever has the means, why should the Igbos be singled out, if it was not a deliberate act of mischief and incitement? This is a calculated attempt to prepare grounds for another orgy of violence against Igbo living in northern Nigeria.”
Eze Dike said he was worried and bothered about this grievous allegation. And as the Chairman of South-East Council of Traditional Rulers, he argued that if he kept quiet and refused to respond to Dr. Muhammad’s allegations, it might be taken on the face value as an acceptance of the ugly situation he painted in his lecture.
He said: “I am not in any way encouraging Igbo people involved in this deadly trade, if actually it is true they are involved. The university don should do well to encourage Kano State government and the police to ensure that the people arrested are charged to court and made to pay for their crimes to deter others from going into such trades.
“Youths from the Southeast region are not known to be involved in such acts, or the act is not so pronounced in this part of the country because once they are caught, both suppliers and users are heavily punished. The northern government ought to take a cue from this.