IPOB lacks power to evict herdsmen from South East – Ohanaeze

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The apex Igbo social cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has dismissed the quit notice handed to Fulani herdsmen by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia in a statement, described the eviction order as “reprehensible and highly unacceptable”.

Ogbonnia also said that Ohanaeze is aware of the various interest groups with weird claims on leadership of Ndigbo.

According to him, Ndigbo only recognize Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, led by Ambassador (Prof) George Obiozor as the apex authority on such matters of National importance and it is very instructive that the general public verify the sources of information regarding the position of Ndigbo on where they stand on sensitive National issues.

“The attention of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the news making rounds that an ethnic or regional group has been ordered to quit any part of Igbo Land.

“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo views such statements as reprehensible and highly unacceptable. We are aware of the various interest groups with weird claims on leadership of Ndigbo.

“However, Ndigbo recognizes the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, led by Ambassador (Prof) George Obiozor as the apex authority on such matters of National importance.

“It is therefore very instructive that the general public is hereby emphatically advised to always verify the sources of information regarding the position of Ndigbo on where they stand on sensitive National issues.”

Alex further said that Igbos are known to be outreaching, hospitable and hardworking people who promote cordial relationship all over the world and therefore it is inconceivable for a sensible Igbo group to issue quit notice to non Igbos who are engaged in a lawful business within Igbo territory.

“The Igbo are very outreaching, hospitable and hardworking. They adapt themselves to legitimate businesses in all parts of Nigeria and the world. Igbos are known to promote cordial relationships all over the world. It is therefore highly inconceivable for a sensible Igbo group to issue quit notice to non-Igbos who are engaged in lawful means of livelihood in Igboland.”

Ohanaeze on the other hand advised non Igbos and herders in particular not to take undue advantage of Igbo character of hospitality and friendly acceptance to engage in any activity that will be dangerous to the culture and wellbeing of Ndigbo

“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo advises non-Igbos in general and the herders in particular not to take undue advantage of the Igbo character of hospitality and friendly acceptance of non Igbos in Igbo land by engaging in actions, behaviors or attitudes inimical to the culture and wellbeing of Ndigbo.

“It must be categorically stated and understood that freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria for all citizens does not include and will never include the right to destroy, desecrate or violate the laws and cultures of any part of Nigeria you live in and certainly not forceful entry into another’s farmland with impunity, and disregard of the peoples’ customs and traditions over land.

“Freedom does not mean anarchy or lawlessness. Therefore, it is in the interest of peace and mutual coexistence that the sensibilities of the host communities are respected. May we also here, call on the relevant Federal authorities to come up with actions, policies and strategies that will stop all the objectionable acts of destruction of farmlands, violation of community and cultural sanctity over land, customs, kidnappings that generate conflict between the host communities and the herders.”

It also congratulated Southeast governors for banning open grazing. Ohanaeze said creating an environment of social justice, equity and fairness are the ways to attain a sustainable political and economic stability in Nigeria.

“To this effect I congratulate the South East Governments and Governors for their recent ban on open grazing in the South East zone. It is clear that only by creating an environment of social justice, equity and fairness that Nigeria can attain a sustainable political and economic stability.

“For purpose of clarity, the said quit notice is unknown and did not emanate from any known political or social cultural recognized authority or institution in Igboland.”