Ohanaeze Ndigbo reacts to destruction of Igbo businesses in Sokoto

By CHARLES ONYEKWERE, South-East Correspondent

The Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has reacted to the destruction of Igbo businesses by rampaging thugs in Sokoto State last Saturday.

Thugs and some religious fanatics took to the street of Sokoto to protest the arrest of the suspects responsible for the gruesome murder of Deborah Samuel, a 200 level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, over alleged blasphemy.

The rampaging fanatics destroyed businesses on their path and made efforts to set places of worship ablaze but the efforts of the security agents helped to contain the actions of the rioters.

In a statement titled “BLASPHEMY: WHY AGAIN THE IGBO?” Dr Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia; National Publicity Secretary, of the organisation, “condemned in very strong terms the unwanted destruction of Igbo property and business outfits during the protest by the Muslim faithful in Sokoto on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo wonders the nexus between the Igbo traders and Miss Deborah Samuel, an indigene of Niger State who was alleged to have blasphemed against Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the Prophet of Islam on Thursday, May 12, 2022, to warrant the destruction of Igbo properties.

“We watched the clip with intense curiosity, the background of the killing and burning of Miss Samuel at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto and could not in any way fathom any iota of Igbo connection to the incident. An Igbo neither interfered nor was an accessory in the said blasphemy. The question on every lip all over the world is ‘why again the Igbo?’

“It is very unfortunate that at any time there is any form of misconception or crisis in the North. It often ends with a mob that goes against the Igbo commercial and residential interests. For instance, in February 2016, there was a cartoon about Prophet Muhammad by the Danish newspaper in faraway Denmark which generated an international uproar.

“The uproar took an inexplicable barbaric dimension in Maiduguri, Nigeria, where over 50 people, identified as Christians, were killed, mostly of Igbo ethnic group and many of their properties were either destroyed or damaged by rioting Muslims.

“Perhaps, this is why Ambassador George Obiozor, the President-General of the apex Igbo social-cultural organisation, prophetically lamented that insecurity of Igbo people in Nigeria has reached a dangerous level of existential threat, saying Igbo are the most vulnerable and victims of violence throughout Nigeria.

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“We believe that the core essence of religion all over the world is to enhance humanity with such values as love, peace, fellow feeling, etc. The transcendental imperative of every religion revolves around charity, kindness, humility, sincerity, tolerance, empathy and the likes.

“The diversity of mankind makes it practically impossible for everybody to belong to one faith.  On the other hand, if every religion embarks on the cleansing of the members whose faith is at variance, we all shall revert to the Hobbesian state of nature where life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

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