Why We Took Nigeria To United Nations, President Trump Over Invasion of Igbo Land – Chief Diwe

Why We Took Nigeria To United Nations, President Trump Over Invasion of Igbo Land – Chief Diwe

The National President of the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU), Chief Emeka Diwe, in a chat with journalists recently bared his mind on issues affecting Ndigbo, especially the reported influx of northerners into the South East amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

(Excerpts)

Q: Your group, ASETU, recently petitioned the United Nations and President Donald Trump of the USA over reported influx of northerners into the South East and the alleged threats it portends. How did the town unions come about this?

A: Thank you so much. Every genuine Igbo person knows what the town union stands for and the depth of its awareness about the Igbo man in his day to day life. It is inseparable from the people. It is the closest administrative unit to the people at the grassroots which covers every square kilometer of Igbo land, and directly feels the heartbeat of the people across all social, political, economic and demographic cleavages. The question of how we came about a very ugly reality which is staring us in the face and which threatens our collective existence would not have been unnecessary if you understood the position the town union occupies in the life of an Igbo person.

But just as we have let the world leaders know, our land is now under siege. In the middle of the nights, strangers who are mostly from the North are moved into our region in a coordinated manner. Once they are moved in, they take refuge in various locations, notably forests, and never to be seen again. This is worrisome, considering that we are made to believe that inter-state movement of persons has been proscribed in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Again, it is bizarre for northerners who are mostly Muslims to move in droves to our land during the Ramadan festival. Why would those movements happen in the nights even when a dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed throughout the country? By being on ground as grassroots leaders, we understand very well the migration patterns of the Northerners here in the East. Experience has shown that those who are here usually travel back to the North during elections and other festivals, like the Ramadan. Not the other way round! Now is the Ramadan season, which usually makes them go home, yet they are nocturnally moving into the East in their thousands. Any cause that could have propelled them in deviance to Ramadan to move into our land must be very serious!

A few days ago, a truckload of people from the North was intercepted in Imo State and they tested for Covid-19, and twenty-six of the samples returned positive. So, what explains the unbridled incursion into our land when all borders are supposedly shut down and all our people locked up indoors? We are certainly not safe in the South East anymore.

Far beyond the health crises which this influx entails during this global pandemic, we are worried more fundamentally about the mission of these people and who their masterminds are. Why do they arrive between 8pm and 6am when the dusk to dawn curfew is supposed to be effective? Our people suspect that the curfew is to provide free and easy movement for those people to invade our land while we hibernate! If this is not correct, what explains the silence and docility of the law enforcement agencies in the face of this anomie? How do they beat all security checkpoints from the North to the East? Where are they taken upon their arrival? Who prepares the ground for their arrival? Why are they usually healthy and able-bodied young men? Indeed, there are many questions to ask.

Q: Since this is about internal security, would it not have been better to resolve it internally without the involvement of the international community?

A: Ever since we began to lament and plead for the Nigerian authorities to come to our help in the hands of the bloodthirsty herdsmen, what has happened? Who has responded to us? Are we supposed to keep silent and perish? Is it better to take the laws into our hands without exploring and exhausting all the possible channels for peace? This an existential issue of life and death. We have exhausted all internal channels. The marginalization we face in Nigeria is of a kind that has never been seen anywhere else in the world. The three arms of the Federal Government, namely the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, and headed by just one ethnic group. All the boards are headed by them. Oil is in our land, yet all the oil blocks are owned by them. In our land today, there is scarcely any significant Federal project. All the ports in our land have been shut down. All the heads of the security agencies are from this same ethnic group. Every position that is strategic to life and death is in their hands. In short, they have taken everything away from us, and now even our lives are no more guaranteed.
Our people have died enough. We cried out when Ozuitem community in Bende area of Abia State was invaded and attacked by the herdsmen, and nobody did anything. People were slaughtered and property destroyed! A month later, another community in the same Abia State, Ndi Okereke Abam in Arochukwu, was equally attacked by the herdsmen.

In the early hours of April 6, 2019, the herdsmen attacked farmers’ settlements in the Anambra West Local Government Area of Anambra State. They set the farm houses ablaze and killed the men and raped the women whom they captured, yet nobody came to our rescue. Can we keep beating about the bush while our people are being taken to slaughterhouses day after day?
What about the dastardly attacks on Umuowa-Ibu community in Okigwe LGA of Imo State? It started in since 2015. A year and three months old baby of the family of Mr. Edwin Okorie was kidnapped by these herdsmen. In 2016, this community again witnessed another disappearance of a young man, Mr. Ekene Odoemena. He was aged 50 years. In 2017, precisely, on the 14th day of December, another one happened. This time, it was the turn of one Chisom Nnadi, about three years and eight months old. In all these cases, we wept to high heavens, petitioned here and there, and complained everywhere, yet the authorities never budged.

Q: But the police said they were investigating the matter?

A: Investigate what? That’s a ruse to douse tension. Nothing has ever been done in reality. In Enugu, on June 14, 2019 the same herdsmen attacked a commercial bus carrying traders, mainly women returning from the market along Agbani-Ugbawka road in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State and

abducted three young women after they had robbed the traders. The internal outcry over these atrocities has become deafening. Remember these herdsmen also butchered a whole family and a Catholic seminarian on apostolic work in Nkanu. Their throats were slashed, limbs amputated, wombs were slit open and unborn children removed and slaughtered.

In the early hours of April 25, 2016, Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani area of Enugu State was invaded by these armed herdsmen who brutally murdered over 50 innocent men, women and children. At Ezi Nze in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, the herdsmen kidnapped several young men, demanding N2 million.
The story is the same in Ebonyi State! In Onunwakpu community, of Izzi Local Government Area, as well as in Ivo Local Government Area of the state, herdsmen attacks have become a daily fact of life!

In Imo State, the herdsmen have unleashed terror in Oguta, Ohaji-Egbema and Orlu. Even the international community has rated these herdsmen as the fourth deadliest terror group in the world, Nigerian authorities have kept mum. Despite these atrocious acts, the authorities have looked the other way, maybe to create a scenario that would elicit retaliation from us, so that they would criminalize and annihilate us, and exonerate our predators.

So, don’t forget in a hurry that Nigeria is signatory to a number of international treaties, charters, protocols and conventions on human rights. When citizens of Nigeria are slaughtered in cold blood and the authorities look the other way, it is a violation of those charters. For almost half a decade, our people have endured the agony of murder, rape and molestation in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen, a minority group that appears to be sacred cows because it leverages on its control over all state apparatus in Nigeria to unleash violence on us. Our people at the grassroots whose livelihoods depend almost entirely on their farmlands have had those farms ravaged by the herdsmen and their cattle, yet nothing has been done. As I speak to you, there is no single herdsman standing trial anywhere in Nigeria for these killings and atrocious acts, neither can you find one in detention. Not even one has been prosecuted! The feeling our people now have to contend with in Nigeria is that their lives do not matter anymore. This is what keeps fanning the embers of secession in the youths.

When these ugly developments in our land are situated in the context of the current security architecture of Nigeria in which our people have been deliberately shut out, nobody is left in doubt that the worst is yet to happen. Today in Nigeria, one ethnic group controls all the arms of government, security establishments and all whatnot. Where lies the much touted federal character principle? How can a multi-ethnic formation like Nigeria sustain this level of insensitivity, and you are still talking about complaining to the internal authorities?

If as elders and leaders of these vulnerable people at the grassroots we keep quiet, it is a stain on our collective conscience. But talking about using internal channels, the two Chambers of the National Assembly have been served our petition on this ugly development.

All we care about is the peace and security of our people. That is the least they deserve. Our people have been at the tearful side of Nigeria’s history since Independence. Yet this is the country our forebears like Azikiwe, Mbadiwe, Nwafor-Orizu, Mbonu Ojike and Ikejiani fought with all they had to build. The undying spirit of the Igbo man is the life of Nigeria, and the injustices against Ndigbo underscore everything that is wrong with Nigeria. That notwithstanding, we shall never rest in our oars until our investment initiative known as Aku Ruo Ulo is achieved.

Q: What is the Aku Ruo Ulo Initiative all about?

A: It is the ASETU economic action plan for making our wealthy brothers and sisters who reside outside Igbo land to begin to consciously, gradually and seamlessly repatriate their wealth and investments back home. In this way, more jobs will spring up and social vices will take a nosedive in Igbo land. It is the conscious development of the Igbo man in Igbo land.

The Igbo parade the greatest number of individual wealthy Nigerians yet this reality has not reflected in the existential conditions of the Igbo man in Igbo land. The aggregate wealth of our people is scattered across the globe, and their business nestling everywhere. But with the repatriation of just 20% of our wealth back home, there will be no attraction for any Igbo man to live outside Igbo land.

We will be cheating ourselves if we don’t realize this. We are blessed with human resources to become the Dubai of the UAE and the California of the USA. We must therefore end the ongoing capital flight which will also lead to an end to brain drain, and with the multiplier and accelerator effects, Igbo land will become the attraction of Africa and the world. You saw the technological heights we attained even in a war situation under Biafra? You see what Innoson and Coscharis are doing now? That’s the way to go! The Igbo man doesn’t believe in sharing other people’s resources or gunning for unearned wealth, including the oil wealth.

Q: You mean the Igbo don’t believe in oil wealth?

A: Yes. We have no faith in earnings that are truly unearned. For the Igbo, necessity is the mother of invention. Our manifest destiny plays out in times of need. The Igbo man’s ingenuity is peerless. It is genetic! We only need to realize this and do the needful backward economic integration by way of Aku Ruo Ulo.

We bring out our best under excruciating conditions. We have the capacity, the ingenuity and the technology. The sharing of oil money has taken Nigeria backwards. The people that need oil should keep taking oil, but after looking inward and implementing our Aku Ruo Ulo Initiative, they will bring the oil money back to us by purchasing our goods and services. They will need our shoes, cars and textiles. They will come to us. During the civil war, we refined our oil, we created our missiles and other military hardware, we built our airport, and produced most of the items that are today imported into Nigeria. This ultimate restructuring is what we need. It is the economic restructuring of Nigeria. It is what we can do for ourselves as Ndigbo.

That is the restructuring that can never be “re-restructured”. And once we achieve this powerful economic base, every other power shall be added onto us. We would witness social regeneration, cultural resurgence, political renaissance and ethical reorientation. That is what we are talking about.

©️News Corner 


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