President-General of Apex Igbo Socio-cultural Organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has said that Igbo forebears are “the pioneers” and “heroes” of modern Lagos State.
Iwuanyanwu stated this in a press briefing video that has gone viral. He was indirectly responding to the comment the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, made about the origin of state, which generated controversy.
The monarch had said that Lagos State was founded by Binis. But speaking on the role of the South East in the development of Lagos, Iwuanyanwu said Igbo forebearers made parts of the state habitable.
He argued that when Lagos was made the federal capital territory (FCT), the Igbos rose to the challenge of investing to make the state befitting. Iwuanyanwu said, “Igbos have been part of this country for a very long time. When Lagos became the federal capital, the development of such territory was a challenge in all countries.
“The Igbo forebearers, most of whom are dead today, rose to the challenge of that time. The challenge of that time was investment to make Lagos befitting as the federal capital territory. That is how the Igbos moved to Lagos by a sense of patriotism. “Igbos converted swampy lands to habitable places.
” They built businesses, homes, schools, and developed Lagos. These pioneers, are the heroes of the time, the heroes of what we call today a very strong Lagos. The Igbos in Lagos are highly respected citizens. Respected Yorubas and Igbos built very solid relationships with each other. Igbos are the great shareholders if Nigeria is a corporate body. However, Iwuanyanwu said that it would be difficult for the socio-cultural organisation to defend any of its kinsmen who flout Lagos construction laws.
He added that he was yet to get the facts about the ongoing demolition exercise in the state, but he learnt that all demolished houses were found guilty of contravening the land acquisition laws.
He added, “On the demolition of houses of Igbos, I have not gotten the fact, but the information I have from the government is that some of the houses are built on roads and drainage lines. “We have to obey the laws of the land. Wherever we are, if you want to build a house, buy and register the land properly. Apply for approval from the government agency. Then you can be rest assured that Ohanaeze will defend you. “But if you go on to build on drainage lines and roads, you failed to abide by the law of the land and did not get approvals, it will be be difficult to support you in any way.”