Civil rights advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA, (HURIWA), on Monday, asked leaders of the international community such as the President of the United States of America Mr. Joe Biden, the Prime Minister of Great Britain Mr. Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, to hold President -elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the spokesperson for Bola Tinubu Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga responsible, should the violence against Igbo residents of Lagos State intensify.
HURIWA said the video trending whereby the so-called President-elect, Mr. Tinubu was caught on camero speaking in Yoruba language during the course of which he subtly described Igbo residents of Lagos as ‘strangers who want to bite the fingers that fed them’, just before the controversial gubernatorial election took place in Lagos which was characterised by armed violent attacks against Igbo voters in Lagos, is obviously a HATE SPEECH against Ndigbo from Bola Ahmed Tinubu which resulted in the HATE CRIME OF VOTERS SUPPRESSION of Igbos and sporadic attacks on Igbos by hoodlums in Abuleado Festac extension of Lagos State.
Specifically, in the trending video, Bola Ahmed Tinubu allegedly said-; “(oracle ti soro) ohun ti awon agba Eko you fi jeko ni ojo Saturday, ebe ewe ni won toju re si,” which loosely translated means “these are people who left their villages, came to into Lagos from childhood, 12 years of age. We accommodated and took care of them. Now, they want to bite the fingers that fed them.” Tinubu further stated that “their case has now become that of a hen.” HURIWA said although the President elect did not specify the people he referred to but the Rights group said the recent upsurge in anti-igbo attacks by core loyalists of Bola Ahmed Tinubu such as Bayo Onanuga, MC Oluomo, Femi Fani Kayode, points to the Igbos as the people being referred to by Tinubu in the trending video.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, also called on Igbos in the state to defend themselves against attacks by hoodlums who are apparently sponsored by politicians who oppose the Labour Party’s governorship candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who is not even an Igbo man but hated by Tinubu and his loyalists on the basis that he has an Igbo wife but Bola Ahmed Tinubu doesn’t have a Yoruba wife. HURIWA said it beat their imagination that the Labour Party’s candidate who is from Lagos can be so blackmailed and his candidacy wrongly interpreted to mean that Igbos want to take over Lagos only because he is married to an Igbo woman but the political godfather of Lagos All Progressives Congress Bola Ahmed Tinubu is married to an Ishekiri woman. So why the transferred aggression on Igbos?”
The group said Onanuga’s statement contravene sections 125 and 128 of the Electoral Act 2022 and he is liable to imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both and imprisonment for a term of three years respectively for inciting others in a disorderly manner and encourage the use of force.
HURIWA totally condemned the attacks on Igbos in the March 18 governorship poll, especially coordinated attacks by hoodlums on Igbo-dominated areas like Amuwo-Odofin, Ojo and other local government areas where Igbos voted heavily for Peter Obi in the February 25 presidential poll three weeks ago.
The group also called on the police and other security agencies to immediately arrest Onanuga for his inciting statements which was largely responsible for voter suppression and intimidation and ultimate low voter turnout in the March 18 governorship poll in Lagos.
Onanuga had tweeted, “I don’t owe anyone any apology for addressing the existential threats of our people. I am after all, first of all a Yoruba, before being a Nigerian…Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics.”
HURIWA’s Onwubiko also condemned attacks on Igbo traders and their markets in Lagos because of their staunch support for Labour Party’s Obi and Rhodes-Vivour.
The group maintained that all Nigerians regardless of their tribe or religion are constitutionally entitled to vote for whoever they choose and prefer in any election without being threatened, intimidated or harassed.
The group also vowed to drag ethnic jingoists and those whipping tribal sentiments to frustrate Igbo traders in Lagos due to their choice of LP candidates to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands over crimes against humanity.
Recall that goods worth millions of naira have been destroyed in a fire incident that occurred at Akere Spare Parts Market, Ajegunle in the Apapa area of Lagos just last week. Over 200 shops were burnt in the suspected arson where the attackers killed a security guard at the market during the midnight onslaught.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Onanuga’s inciting statement is condemnable. We call for the arrest of Onanuga for inciting the violence targeting Igbo in Lagos. We also call on Igbos in Lagos to defend themselves from attacks by hoodlums because the hoodlums are apparently working for those who oppose Rhodes-Vivour’s ambition.
“Onanuga’s action contravenes the Electoral Act 2022, especially Section 125 which provides thus: Any person who at an election acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
“Also, his action violates Section 128 (a) which states: A person who— (a) directly or indirectly, by his or herself or by another person on his or her behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restrain commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of three years.”
March 20, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.