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Frontline Igbo socio-political groups on Wednesday condemned the convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Junaid Mohammed, for asking Ndigbo to break away from Nigeria if they feel marginalised.
One of the groups, Njiko Igbo Forum, said Mohammed’s statement amounted to treasonable felony.
President of the Njiko Igbo Forum, Rev. Okechukwu Obioha, who reacted to the development in an interview in Enugu, said Mohammed should be tried for treason.
Also, foremost Igbo socio-political body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in its reaction to the matter, described Mohammed as a “northern bigot.”
Mohammed made the statement while replying a former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who said the Igbo had not been treated fairly in terms of political positions and appointments in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Reacting to the statement made by the former Anambra governor, Mohammed had said, “I don’t believe Buhari or Nigeria owes any Igbo anything.
“I don’t care what Ezeife says – if they (Igbo) had seceded, there would have been no Nigeria today.
“As people who acted outside the interest of Nigeria as a country, to expect compensation is a very odd logic.
“If the Igbo don’t like it, they can attempt secession again.
“If they do, they must be prepared to live with the consequences – nobody owes them anything and nobody is out to compensate them for anything.”
However, reacting to Mohammed’s comments in a telephone interview, Obioha, the leader of the Njiko Igbo Forum, said Mohammed should be arrested and prosecuted for instigating the Igbo to secede.
He said Buhari should show that he meant business when he said there would be no sacred cows during his administration by ordering Mohammed’s arrest.
Obioha said, “He (Junaid Mohammed) should be arrested and charged with treason for suggesting that (secession) at all to the Igbo.
“If President Buhari said there will be no sacred cows during his administration then anybody who is guilty of any crime should not be allowed to go scot free.
“What the man (Mohammed) said amounted to treasonable felony.
“I don’t want to go into whether the Igbo want to secede or not but now he is instigating the Igbo to secede, so he should be tried for treason.
“This statement should not be overlooked – it is like what happened in the past when, after elections, some people said they would make the country ungovernable for the then President, although they later denied making that statement, so many things started happening.”
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, told our correspondent that the organisation would not like to join issues with Mohammed over what he described as an irresponsible statement.
“We don’t want to join issues with people like that – that was just an irresponsible talk,” the Ohanaeze Ndigbo leader said.