In the wake of the recent peace parley organised at the instance of former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, leaders of Ndigbo have asked Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to implement resolutions of the 2014 national conference as a way of restoring peace in the country.
Their reason: No sort of peace meeting by any individual or group could usher peace into the country than an implementation of the outcomes of the 2014 confab, which, according to them, was reached by representatives of various ethnic nations and stakeholders that own the country.
The leaders explained that their absence at the peace meeting called on Monday by Abubakar was premised on the perception that lumping ethnic groupings in a meeting with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association was an insult.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo stated that the former head of state was wrong in calling a meeting of ethnic groupings in Nigeria with leaders of the Miyetti Allah, a trade organisation, representing cattle dealers.
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chuks Ibegbu said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo, PANDEF, Afenifere and Middle Belt Forum absented themselves because they were lumped together with Miyetti Allah and killer herdsmen.”
He further said: “We are not against Gen. Abubakar’s move to end the insecurity in Nigeria but things should be done properly. Apex socio-cultural groups in the country should not be expected to be on the same pedestal with an association of Cattle breeders. Miyetti Allah should have a roundtable with fishers, farmers, goat breeders, poultry farmers and artisans who are in same category with them.”
Ibegbu stated that Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other major groups in the country have continued to promote peace, unity and justice, among other ideals that could move the country forward. He explained that various ethnic groups, which presented their positions for a better Nigeria, attended the national confab of 2014.
“Those things have not been implemented and we feel that anyone interested in the peace and security of the country should look at the resolutions reached and pressure the government to implement them.”
In the same vein, former secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Joe Nworgu, wondered how the resolutions of the meeting by Gen Abdulsalam could be implemented, when it did not have support of the government.
He stated that the decision taken by ethnic groups to boycott the meeting was the best thing to do, “otherwise, the organisers would have succeeded in telling the world that there was nothing left in the ethnic groups.”
He added: “What can we lose, what locus does the meeting have? How can he (Abdulsalam) call a trade group for cow owners to come and have meeting with Afenifere, PANDEF, Ohanaeze, and the Middle Belt Forum? It is an insult to have even thought of it.
“My advice is that he should re-invite the four groups because these people (Miyetti Allah) are already represented by the Arewa Forum and northern elders forum. Miyetti Allah is a recent invention,” he said.
Nworgu, who was a member of the 2014 national conference, insisted that there was no better way of resolving lingering issues in the country than taking another view at the resolutions of that conference, which he said represented the views of Nigerians.
The President emeritus of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, who dismissed the meeting as a further denigration of the ethnic groups in the country, stated that its motive was revealed by the comments attributed to one of the Media aides to President Buhari.
“I do not think that the meeting set out to achieve any peace or security than to further mock the ethnic regions that make up the country. Ndigbo and other Nigerians have always met and resolved issues plaguing the country. The problem is that those at the leadership seem to have resolved to look away from the issues. Ndigbo are interested in peace and development of the nation and will like anything that could foster it. Doing so does not mean that it should stoop so low to accept anything in the name of peace talk,” he said.
For the National President of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Ibuchukwu Ezike, Abdulsalami, being one of the country’s leaders, need not call a meeting of ethnic nationalities to call the federal government to action over security challenges.
He said that government’s apparent lack of interest in security has now made most regions resolving to oversee security issues by themselves.