13th June 2017
Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, says the three-month ultimatum issued to Igbos residing in Northern Nigeria is capable of dismantling Nigeria’s unity and diversity even as it potentially violates sections 42 & 43 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended), which guarantees the right of Nigerians to acquire and own immovable property an live anywhere in the federation they choose.
ANEEJ Executive Director, the Rev David Ugolor said that the recent 90-day given to Igbos by a group in the North which has now received the endorsement of some Northern Elders is a disturbing trend which has the potential to promote hostility and a threat to lives and property. He said that the ultimatum by the Arewa Youth to Igbos in the North does not bolster an economy in recession, and urged Arewa group to rescind their threat in the interest of peace and embrace dialogue as an alternative dispute tool for conflict resolution in Nigeria.
‘There should be no place for political, religious and ethnic intolerance in the Nigeria of today. Therefore, government must take serious steps to address this threat to the peace and unity of Nigeria by ensuring that those responsible for this ultimatum are charged appropriately. To this end, therefore, government must work to nip any anti-human right postulation that threatens the common existence of Nigerians in the bud. We believe that it is the exclusive right of citizens to exercise their freedom of speech, association, culture and religion, and to live in any part of the country they chose. Human rights of Nigerian citizens are sacrosanct. in every society and is key to the survival of any nation’, the Rev Ugolor has said.
Ugolor wondered why the orders of Governor Nasir-eL Rufai of Kaduna State and that of the Inspector General of Police for the arrest and prosecution of those who issued the ultimatum were yet to be executed days after they were issued cautioning that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Rev Ugolor added that the Police must move in quickly to prevent a breakdown of the law and order, and urged the government to invite aggrieved groups and individuals as well as all ethnic nationalities to a genuine national dialogue different from what has been the norm to re-negotiate the basis of Nigeria’s unity with a view to keeping Nigeria as one united nation.
Rev Ugolor also called on the masses of Nigeria not to allow themselves to be used by a few elites who are in the habit of whipping up religious and ethnic sentiments for their selfish gains. “I align myself with the genuine views of the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on this matter that poverty connects the common people of Nigeria while looting of our common wealth remains the bond wire of a few elites who like to use the common man to feather their nests,” he submitted.
‘Nigeria’s involvement and membership of several international human rights organisations should serve as motivation to implement the human rights treaties and defend innocent citizens from constant attacks by aggrieved groups. Government should domesticate human rights laws and regulate policies that will enhance both the security agencies to be effective in the discharge of their duty and enforcement of laws that will ensure the safety of citizens’ Rev Ugolor stressed.