By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The government and people of Ebonyi State have raised concern over what they described as deliberate attempt to tarnish the corporate image of the state and its indigenes by portraying them as criminals in Anambra State, especially through the use of the social media.
Recall that a good number of Ebonyi State indigenes and other people from different parts of the country have been arrested and rearrested for one crime or the other in different parts of Anambra State. Publications and media reports about the arrests also usually identify the suspects’ states of origin, among other details. It is against the backdrop of this that the government and people of Ebonyi State have started raising concern over the said profiling of their indigenes in Anambra.
The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Jude Okpor raised the concern when the State President Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Peter Mbam, led the group to pay him a courtesy visit in Abakaliki, the State capital on Friday.
The Commissioner made known the displeasure of the state over some viral video clips on social media portraying Ebonyi people as criminals in Anambra.
According to him, Ebonyi indigenes in all parts of the world are industrious, hardworking and law-abiding people; hence, it would be insidious to brand the entire Ebonyians as criminals due to the offences of a few miscreants from the State.
“Ebonyi indigenes in all parts of the world are industrious, hardworking and law-abiding people. So, as a government, we strongly condemn the criminal activities involving Ebonyi people and maintain that the few hoodlums cannot be used to generalize Ebonyi people as criminals,” he said.
Whild calling on Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide to intervene and stop further escalation of the issue to save the image of Ebonyi people and the Igbo in general; Commissioner Okpor further urged the Ọhaneze to continue to foster unity and progress in the southeast region, especially in line with its age-old slogan and spirit of “Onye Aghana Nwanne Ya” (Be Your Brother’s Keeper).
“No Igbo man can attain the level of sainthood by rubbishing the image of his brother,” he said.
Contributing, the Convener, Ọdịmma Ndị Ebonyi, Dr. Laz Eze, said Ebonyiphobia had now been created and worsens by the day in Anambra State, as, according to him, some landlords in Anambra are already refusing to accept Ebonyi people as tenants.
He called on the Ebonyi State Government to engage its Anambra counterpart to end the dangerous stereotyping, which, he said, might victimize more innocent Ebonyi people carrying on with their decent endeavours.