OUTSIDE Northern Nigeria, their place of origin, most violence against northerners in other parts of the country are perpetrated by Igbo, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has alleged. Chairman of NEF, Prof Ango Abdulahi, raised the allegation, yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State where the forum kick-started a tour of northern communities across other parts of Nigeria to assess the pains and losses suffered during the #EndSARS protests.
The NEF chief, following the forum’s interaction with Governor Nyesom Wike the day before, addressed a gathering of northern community in Rivers and neighbouring South-South states. He said: “We came because we saw no reason innocent residents, wherever they are, irrespective of where they come from, who are not participating in the protest will be subjected to violence. They suffered enormous violence and loss of lives and assets of various magnitude. “What was surprising to us was that those that perpetrated the violence against northerners are the same people who are crying more and calling for compensation. “We take particular delight when we talked with the governor of the state. We were told by residents of Rivers that the governor was particularly interested in protecting them and their rights as he swore in his oath of office.
“It is now becoming clear that most of the violence that are being meted out to northerners in various parts of the South came from people from the southeastern states. People with some names. “We are not sure what name really they want to keep. They come with different brands, use these names to perpetrate criminality in different parts of the country. For years this particular incident has been with us for sometime. “It is up to the authorities to assure all of us that this must end. I think the North will no longer allow this red line to be crossed. It is because people get away with criminal behaviour without sanctions and punishment that is why they keep recycling this irresponsible behaviours.”
“Therefore, as we leave the South-South, we will be heading for the South-East. We will be speaking with the leadership there, especially the governors, to remind them of their responsibility to protect residents irrespective of where they come from in their areas of responsibility.
“Failure to do so, especially, on this continuous bases, it will be difficult for all of us, who have been restraining our various communities, especially our youths, to protect others when their brethren are being killed and maimed in other parts of the country.” No northerner is stranger anywhere in Nigeria In like manner, NEF Director of Publicity, Hakeem Ahmed, said no northerner is a stranger anywhere in Nigeria outside the North, adding: “We have the right to live anywhere we choose.” Ahmed made the declaration in Port Harcourt, Rivers State during the forum’s ongoing tour of northern communities across other zones of the country to see how they are faring post #EndSARS protest.
Ahmed told a mammoth crowd of northern traders in Rivers and other South-South states: “You are no strangers in the South-South. You have the right to live wherever you want to live. Don’t let anybody call you strangers. “We expect northern communities in South-South to be protected same way we protect southern communities in the North. We value their presence, welcome and protect them.
“This is the only way this country will live in peace. We need our communities here to be protected and to be made to feel at home. We appeal to federal and state governments to continue to protect you. “And in return, please live in peace. Unite. An attack against one of you is an attack against all of you.’’