Amidst the killings of policemen and burning of public buildings in the Southeast states, former Sokoto State governor and Senator representing Sokoto North, Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako, has urged Igbo leaders to halt the descent into anarchy in the region.
Senator Wammako in a statement titled, “A Clarion call on Igbo leaders: Enough is Enough,” which he personally signed, the former Sokoto State governor accused the group, Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) as masterminds of the scary insecurity in the Southeast states.
He further accused leaders in the Southeast of cold indifference to the nefarious activities of IPOB.
Senator Wammako who incidentally is the Chairman Senate Committee on Defence gave a detailed account of the killings and disruptions of businesses of Nigerians from the Northern part of the country, whom he noted are now targets of attacks by arsonists and unknown gunmen in the Southeast.
He recalled the looting and burning of a truck loaded with onions in Owerri, two trucks conveying palm oil from Enugu to Kano and the burning of a truck conveying livestock from the North which was intercepted in Akwa, Anambra state and burnt along with the animals.
He said:” Many Northerners living peacefully in some states in the South-East have come under undue harassments lately while a number of them have been murdered in cold blood for simply coming from a section of the country. Prior to the assassination of Ahmed Gulak last Sunday in Imo, tens of our people have suffered a similar fate at the hands of the increasingly emboldened IPOB militants.
Those killings are largely under-reported perhaps because the victims are not prominent and partly because of a deliberate culture of silence in a section of the media about what is happening.
“In the past week alone, there have been three incidences of arsons and looting against properties belonging to Northern traders travelling in the South-East. Last weekend, a truck of onions with about 500 bags of the commodity was ransacked by members of the IPOB in a daylight robbery in Owerri.
They sold the onions and ran away with the money before the police could save the other truck they similarly took.
Around the same time, two trucks conveying palm oil from Enugu to Kano were intercepted and razed down in Nsukka, for no reason. Just yesterday, a truck delivering livestock to Anambra was burnt down along with the animals it carried in the streets of Awka.
“Through all these, as individual leaders and collectively, we have maintained a studied silence by avoiding anything that will further rock the boat. Rather, we have been restraining our own people who are victims of these atrocities by preaching patience and peace.
“Regrettably but curiously, our friends and compatriots, leaders of Igbo extraction, have remained dead silent in the face of increasing assault and effort by their own people to stock nationwide mayhem.
“For whatever reason it is, I want to loudly call them out to speak up. Silence is no longer acceptable in the face of this clear danger and threat against the country. The silence by political leaders and other prominent persons from that part of the country tells us only one thing: Their tacit approval for the activities of the murderous IPOB gangs.”
The former Sokoto state governor who warned that the voices of restraints of concerned Northern leaders might soon be drowned by agitated Northern youths, smarting for reprisal actions against those responsible for the killings of businessmen from the North and destruction of their means of livelihood, further tasked leaders in the Southeast to call members of IPOB to order.
The statement further read in part: “As leaders of our own people, we have been under intense pressure over the current situation. We cannot bear it any longer. If leaders from the South-East feel they can allow their own people to do what they wanted, we may have no choice but to stop dousing the increasing tension among our own followers.
“There is no part of Nigeria without its own share of discomfort and even reservations about the state of our country.
Addressing such challenges require sincere political engagement, not threats and violence. Besides, the quest for political answers to one’s grievances should never be directed at hapless citizens who are going about their own legitimate businesses. The day the victim decides to pay back the aggressor it will not be good for everybody.
“A stitch in time saves nine!”
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