- Says the Mastermind of Igbo Quit Notice Resides in Lagos
By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Against the backdrop of hate speeches, sectional agitations and secession tendencies coming from across the North-South divide, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has lashed out at some elites in the country for some of their misguided statements and actions which have exacerbated tensions and worries among Nigerians.
Falana who spoke at a media briefing organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on the raging agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the counter threat by some organized Arewa youth groups observed that what the nation is witnessing today was as a result of several unguided statements from ethnic jingoists in the past which have degenerated into the current crossfire, particularly taking a swipe at Professor Ango Abdullahi for some of his offensive statements.
The legal luminary added that it was the utterances of a one-time Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, over the brutal killings of four students of the institution, that allegedly led to the protests by the Nigerian students and the arrest of eight students of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime.
“On May 23, 1986, young people, four of them were killed in the Ahmadu Bello University because somebody had said we are against coup… Ango Abdullahi was the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University when these students were killed by the Police, he came out and said only four students were killed.
“That angered Nigerians particularly the Nigerian students and there were protests. One of the universities where that protest was very successful was the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Please listen to me, the man who led the protest was late Chima Ubani, what happened? The state did not like the case that it was a national protest against the killing in ABU.
“What did they do? They didn’t arrest the students who were protesting in the North. They didn’t arrest the students who were protesting in the West, (Ibrahim) Babangida regime went for Chima Ubani and arraigned him and eight of his colleagues under a military rule that required that they be sentenced to death.
“I left Lagos to go to Enugu to defend those men. We got them freed when they returned to campus, the Vice Chancellor expelled them. Again, I went to court and got them freed. Please this story is very important.
“A Hausa Vice Chancellor invited the police and they killed young Hausa students, four of them. Nigerian students protested and an Igbo young man led that protest in the East against injustice, a Yoruba man in the West to free them. So we must look at those things that the elites are using to divide our people. Injustice is injustice, so there is no nation without challenges,” Falana stated.
The New Diplomat recalls on June 9, 2017 while addressing journalists in Zaria, Prof Ango Abdullahi who is the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had backed the action of the Arewa youth groups who handed quit notice to Igbos residing in the north and was quoted as saying: “I am disappointed in the decision taken by Northern Governors’ Forum disowning and condemning the agitation by this young agile and progressive youth groups (Coalition of Arewa youths). Let me ask these northern governors, who are they representing, are they representing spirits, ghost or people of the north? Recently, people from eastern part of this country, specifically Igbo, were busy calling for the Sovereign State of Biafra and from all indication their leaders including governors are behind them.”
“First oil exploration was conducted using money from groundnut pyramid, cotton, hides and skin among other cash crops from Northern Nigeria. However, these people tend to forget all these goodies provided by the North. They always look down on us, feeling that Northerners are parasites in this country,” he said.
Speaking further, Falana also claimed that the person behind the quit notice issued to Igbos living in the North, resides in Lagos.
“This information is very crucial to all of us and I want to say this publicly. The man who is giving quit notice (to the Igbos to leave north) does not live in the North, he lives in Lagos, he is a Lagos man. So to stay in Lagos and be giving quit notices is not the answer.
“The recently concluded election in the UK, two weeks ago, seven Nigerians emerged as Legislators, can we repeat that, can we look at the challenges before us and stop following those ones trying to divide us?” He said.