16 youth groups in the North of Nigeria, some days ago, issued a press statement, directing the Igbos residing there to relocate within three months, specifically by 1st October, 2017. Nigerians are already reacting to the directive by the groups. One of such Nigerians, is Eze Dr. Alex Anozie, the Head of Igbos(EzeNdigbo nala Ibadan and Oyo state and Vice President, Association of Ezendigbo in diaspora(South). Eze Dr. Anozie says that nobody has the right to issue such a directive under the law. Excerpts :
What is your reaction to the directive issued by some groups in the North for Igbos to relocate within three months ?
I think it is either that they have slipped off from the point or maybe they have refused to make use of the constitution. Maybe, they have refused to obey the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees freedom of movement, freedom of association and freedom of residence and this, all and sundry must condemn because by their action, they have come out to challenge the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Secondly, we are in a new order entirely, Nigeria of today is not Nigeria of the sixties. We now realize that we are Nigerians and Nigeria belongs to all of us. So, nobody can order anyone to leave any part of the country without constitutional backing, maybe someone committed an offense or a group of people committed an offense and they were tried and found guilty and the law says that they should leave, if there is ay law like that in existence. But apart from that, any group of people coming up to sany to anybody that they should leave any part of the country, those groups are not only illegal, but are trouble makers and they should be treated as such. I want to congratulate Nigerians who are already speaking out. I have not seen anybody giving support to the unfortunate press statement. Everybody are speaking against them, including Government, ethnic groups and associations, including none Igbo associations are also speaking against this statement. I also want to congratulate Afenifere and some Yoruba personalities, who have spoken , condemning the statement in strong terms. I also congratulate the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, for taking a drastic action, by ordering the arrest of the signatories to the press statement. This is Nigeria, we have all agreed that we should remain in Nigeria. Any day, if we are going to disintegrate or restructure, let us sit down, discuss it, argue it and agree on what to do peacefully. The crime, they said the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra(IPOB) committed was that they appealed to Igbos all over the world to stay at home to remember the millions of their brothers and sisters, who lost their lives during the 1967 civil war and this was done without any violence. There is no law stopping anybody who opts to sit at home, from doing so. And some people are now taking it as a crime and because of this, Igbos should leave the North, it is most unfortunate. It is unfair, the Igbos are demanding for justice and truth to prevail in Nigeria, let us sit down to talk, everybody will come out with their points, telling us why we should disintegrate or why we should remain as one Nigeria or why we should restructure. We will disagree to agree. At the end of the day we must reach an agreement and the agreement ought to be carried out. By the way, there was the 2014 National conference report, which all parts of the country contributed to, but up till this moment, nothing has been heard of the report. I don’t think we should have any problem in this country, it is a very beautiful country, and everyone is proud to belong to it. Nigeria belongs to all of us, Igbos have invested in every part of the country. One aspect that distinguishes Igbos from other tribes, is that anywhere they are, they invest, make money and acquire property there, they have their homes there. Telling Igbos to leave, is just out of context. It is not done. But my final word is that whatever the situation, let us sit down, talk and agree. And whatever we want to happen, it should be done peacefully. The leaders in the North should speak out and condemn this act. People should stop issuing out threats, because it is dangerous.