Igbo communities in the United Kingdom have condemn the incessant threats and incidents of violence, intimidation, and deliberate ethnic profiling and infliction of pain on Igbos, particularly those residing in Lagos State, Nigeria.
Ogbako Ndi Igbo UK (ONIUK), the umbrella union for all Igbo communities based in the United Kingdom, in a statement made available to TimeAfrica in London, decried what they say is alarming and growing profiling of Igbos.
In a statement, signed by its President Dr. Jude Eze, Vice President Dr. Daisy Nwaozuzu and Secretary General, Barrister Kenneth Udeoka, the organization is deeply concerned with the profiling and unjust prosecutions of the Igbos and therefore called on Nigerian government not to allow Nigeria to slip down the dangerous slope, insisting that government must investigates the activities of the miscreants involved and ensure the protection of lives and properties of the Igbos in Lagos and by extension other tribes branded ‘Igbos’, who are subject of attacks.
The statement titled “An Appeal Against The Ongoing Ethnic Profiling, Violence, And Threat To The Lives Of Igbos In Lagos State,” reads:
“We, the ‘Ogbako Ndi Igbo UK (ONIUK), an umbrella union for all Igbo Communities based in the United Kingdom, condemn the incessant threats and incidents of violence, intimidation, and deliberate ethnic profiling and infliction of pain on Igbos residing in Lagos state, Nigeria.
“These heinous acts have continued unabated following the just concluded 2023 general elections in Nigeria. The Igbos, like all other tribes in the country, performed their civic duties in their places of residence as stated by the law. Those who lost in their perceived ‘strongholds’ which would otherwise be the beautiful story of our re-invigorated democracy, however, have taken out their annoyance on Igbos and those they perceive to be ‘Igbos’ in isolation, since then.
“Sequel to the elections, the social and mainstream media were inundated with video clips of inflammatory speeches and intimidation by some APC political party actors and traditional rulers in Lagos State prior to the gubernatorial elections. This, undoubtedly, ignited the current ethnic profiling, intimidation, and gross violence directed to Igbos during and after the elections. Consequently, these incitements resulted to loss of lives, maiming, indiscriminate arrest, and the burning of markets where Igbos, whose mainstay of livelihood is business, ply their trade.
“It is more disheartening to note that most of these acts of violence and unruly behaviors were carried out within the purview of security operatives whose primary responsibility is the protection of lives and properties. The actions and inactions of the security operatives can only suggest that the perpetrators of these violent actions received tacit support from them or have been compromised to look another way when these heinous acts of violence were committed. Till date, no statement of condemnation have been made by the state or the federal government or even a statement of reassurance to the affected people of a thorough investigation into these nefarious activities, with the sole objective of the evil perpetrators and their sponsors to justice.
“It is pertinent to remind everyone, that the Igbos have contributed significantly to the development of Nigeria in general and Lagos state through extensive trade and investments in real estate, hotels, tourism, etc. For instance, Igbos businesses in Lagos State contribute a significant percentage of the internally generated revenue (IGR) for the state. On the international stage, Igbos have ploughed their skills and competencies favorably and have received major international recognition, thereby boosting the image of Nigeria. Specifically, some major international recognition for Nigeria has been projected by the Igbos through their skills and competencies which are evident globally.
“The 2023 general elections have come and gone; aggrieved parties should follow the due process of the law. Those who carried out any illegal activity during the elections or benefited from it should face the consequences as a future deterrent. Therefore, no party or individual irrespective of the tribe or political affiliation should be deterred from doing this as it is their civic duty to do so.
“Ogbako Ndi Igbo UK believes in a Nigeria characterized by positive core values of inclusion, equity, justice, fairness, rules of law, freedom of movement, and association as enshrined in her constitution. To this end, all Nigerian citizens, including the Igbos, should feel free in their own country to live in any part of Nigeria, vote and be voted for, and carry out their businesses or professional activities within the ambits of the law without fear of molestation, intimidation or threat to their lives and properties.
“We, therefore, demand that the Lagos State government investigates the activities of the miscreants involved in the issues mentioned above and ensure the protection of the lives and properties of Igbos in Lagos and by extension other tribes that have been branded ‘Igbos’ residing in Lagos State.
“Furthermore, we urge the Federal Government to intervene now to demonstrate the spirit of fairness and equity which it preaches to ensure that all involved actors are identified and prosecuted.
“We therefore call on all Nigerians and all international bodies, most of whom sent observers during the elections and are aware of the concerns mentioned above to be aware of the unfolding history and not allow Nigeria to slip down the dangerous slope it is hanging on now, by insisting that the above demands which are rightful and just are heeded by the Nigerian authorities.
“Ogbako Ndi Igbo UK shall not keep quiet while our kith and kin are suffering unjustly and shall continue to be at the forefront of promoting justice and peace for Ndi Igbo and Nigerians wherever they may be.”