*Says Letter historically dishonest, factually defective
*Welcomes Call for Referendum
A coalition comprising Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations and the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, has faulted claims on the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, by the Coalition of Northern Youths in its letter to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, describing the letter as “historically dishonest and factually defective”.
It also rejected that part of the letter, which referred to the 15th January 1966 coup as Igbo coup, but commended the Northern Youths for recognising the rights of all constituent parts of Nigeria to self-determination in line with African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981 and United Nations Covenants on Civil& Political Rights and Economic, Social & Cultural Rights of 1976.
Ekweremadu did not visit Kanu
In a statement entitled “The Odd Side of the Northern Youths’ Letter to Osinbajo”, the group said that contrary to the claim by the youths that Senator Ekweremadu visited the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, it was Kanu who visited Ekweremadu and the South East Senate Caucus to thank them for their role in his release.
The statement signed by Intersociety’s Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi and its Head of Campaign and Publicity, Barr. Florence Akubilo, etc partly read: “We see political and sinister intents in the Youths’ singling out of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, for demonisation on a mere fiction that he paid a courtesy visit to the Leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Contrary to their claim, however, Kanu was the one who visited Senator Ekweremadu and the South East Senate Caucus to thank them for their help in fulfilling his bail conditions.
“It needs to be emphasised that by helping Kanu meet his bail conditions, Ekweremadu and the South East Senate Caucus helped the Federal Government to douse mounting restiveness occasioned by Kanu’s illegal detention”.
Intersociety blamed the President Mohammadu Buhari Administration for agitations.
“The FG made Kanu a hero and pro Biafra agitations loudest by indiscretion manifest in his arbitrary arrest and continued illegal detention in defiance of court orders, violent crushing of unarmed pro-Biafra protests and prayer meetings by its security agencies, and the apartheid policy of 5 percent and 75 percent, which excluded the South East from this administration’s appointments and major projects”, it added.
“The northern elite and north-controlled government and security agencies have not spoken up or taken decisive actions against prowling Fulani herdsmen who plunder our farms, rape, kill and maim innocent Nigerian citizens in their thousands including women and children and occupy their lands.
“On the contrary, Ekweremadu has been constant in preaching against any armed or violent engagement with the Nigerian State. He has consistently preached democratic and non-violent agitation for equity, fair treatment, and justice within the Nigerian state”.
While refuting the accusations of what it termed “unsubstantiated allegations of violence” leveled against IPOB and MASSOB in the letter to Osinbanjo, the coalition maintained that “a Nigeria where some citizens are untouchables while others are framed up, stigmatized, criminalised and visited with unspeakable State violence can never be a Nigeria of collective happiness, prosperity and unity”.
15th January 1966 not an Igbo coup
The Intersociety and SBCHROs went further to fault the claim by the Coalition of Northern Youths that the January 1966 military coup was an “Igbo coup”, saying that it “is historically dishonest and a cocktail of dangerous propaganda and mischief”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the ethnic distributions of the kingpins of the 1966 coups are as follows: Maj. Chukwuma Nzeogwu (Delta Igbo); Maj. Adewale Ademoyega, author of “Why We Struck” (Yoruba); Maj. Emmanuel Ifeajuna (Igbo); Lt. Tijani Katsina (Hausa/Fulani); Lt. Fola Oyewole, author of “The Reluctant Rebel” (Yoruba); Lt. R. Egbiko (Esan); Lt. O. Olafemiyan (Yoruba); Capt. Gibson Jalo (Bali); Capt. Swanton (Middle Belt); Lt. Dag Warribor (Ijaw); Lt. Hope Eghagha (Urhobo); 2nd Lt. Saleh Dambo (Hausa); and 2nd Lt. John Atom Kpera (Tiv).
“So, the continued reference to that unfortunate event as an Igbo coup is a continuation of the pogrom-inducing propaganda of some northern elements. It is borne out of deep-seated hatred and vendetta and evocation of genocidal sentiments against the Igbo Race.
“Instructively, these Arewa Youths admitted that the 1966 July coup was Hausa-Fulani counter bloody, which led to the death of 340 officers of Old Eastern Region in revenge for the first and mischievously tagged “Igbo Coup”.
“So, if the January 1966 coup, un-admittedly, was an Igbo coup, have the Hausa-Fulani and the north not had their ‘revenge’ in the so-called counter coup? Why the pogrom against tens of thousands of the Igbo People at the chant of “Araba” in the aftermath of the so-called counter-coup, forcing the declaration of Biafra? Why the genocidal 1967-70 Civil War in which over three million Biafrans were killed or starved to death? Why the continued killing of Igbo People in Northern Nigeria, even over a cartoon in faraway Denmark?” the group added.
The one Nigeria we want
Intersociety, however reiterated its firm belief in the Federal Republic of Nigeria where equity, constitutionalism, and justice reign.
“We believe in a true republic thoroughly governed according to the supreme dictates and wishes of the peoples of the Republic under democratic pluralism and constitutionalism; a Nigeria of equal access to justice, non discrimination on the grounds of sex, origin, tribe or religion; and a Nigeria of free democratic choice and speech and inalienable rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
“On the other hand, a Nigeria where cows are protected at all times with our commonwealth and supposedly defensive weaponry more than citizens is a questionable and rejected Nigeria.
“A Nigeria where cows invade classrooms during classes and churches during church services and deface and litter them with animal droppings, with the authorities looking the other side or doing nothing is a questionable and rejected Nigeria.
“A Nigeria of animal kingdom where some animals are greater and mightier than others is a questionable and rejected Nigeria. “A Nigeria of sectional untouchables, ethnic cleansing, racial, ethnic and religious stigmatization, criminalization and vendetta is a questionable and rejected Nigeria.
“A Nigeria of unspeakable State violence, vindictiveness, structural, direct and cultural violence as well as serial regime failure, incompetence and atrocities is a questionable and rejected Nigeria”, the group stated.
Board Chairman, Intersociety
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Issued this 20th day of June, 2017