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Over Lagos Demolition: Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide Insists State Government Must Compensate Victims

ABUJA – The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has wad­ed into the demolition of alleged illegal structures in parts of Lagos by the state government...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

At a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, the group evaluated the activities of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration in the state, insisting that “if any government demolishes the prop­erty built with approval of appropriate government department, such govern­ment by law must pay appropriate com­pensation for all the damages incurred to the owner of the building.”

Ohanaeze also regretted that property belonging mostly to Ndigbo were being demolished by the special taskforce, maintaining that “any property they owned was properly bought from the owners according to the laws of Lagos State and Nigeria. I must say that Igbo carried out the same invest­ments to other parts of the coun­try, North, East and West.

“And wherever they invested, they prospered and they reinvest­ed their profit to the development of the area. I must say that Igbos have lived very peacefully in La­gos over the years.

“They transform barren lands to habitable lands. So in effect no ethnic group in Nigeria has made more investments in Nigeria than the Igbos.”

Ohanaeze also revealed plans to establish an Ohanaeze Relief Agency to be managed by top Igbo leaders.

The agency, it said, will pro­vide support to Igbo citizens in distress, as it “will also support other Nigerians when the need arises in the spirit of brother­hood.”

A statement by the Presi­dent-General, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, recounted the long standing relationship be­tween the Igbos and the Yorubas, stating that “they had lived very peacefully and established a good relationship with the indigenes. They established businesses and made investments in Lagos.

“These Igbos had been re­called by the Almighty God but their good works still remains. Lagos at the time it became the capital of Nigeria, needed foreign and local investments.

“Igbos took up that challenge and invested in Lagos. They built both commercial and residential homes. They lived as law abiding citizens.”

The statement equally be­moaned the ill treatment endured by the tribe after the civil war, as it recalled, “In 1966, there was an unfortunate coup de-tat against the Federal Government. Igbos as a people were completely ig­norant of the coup.

“To the contrary, that gov­ernment of 1960 and 1963 had been the best to Igbos since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria.

“This coup and its after effect culminated into civil war which made Igboland a theater of war. Thousands of Igbo lives were lost and properties worth billions of naira belonging to Igbos were destroyed.

“After the war, Igbos suffered a very severe blow when the Riv­ers State government made a law seizing all Igbo properties in Riv­ers State at the time claiming that they were abandoned properties.

“This experience was very painful to Igbos because Igbos re­garded Port Harcourt as Ikwerre land and Ikwerres are regarded as their kit and kin.

“Igbos remembered with nos­talgia when there was dispute over the ownership of Port Har­court. The Igbo Union at the time threw their weight behind our kit and kin the Ikwerre.

“A judgement on the matter by the West African Court of Appeal (WACA) in Gold Coast now Gha­na, declared that the Ikwerres are the legitimate owners of Port Harcourt. Igbo’s rejoiced that Port Harcourt which the Igbo’s called Igwe Ocha belongs to their kit and kin, the Ikwerres.

“In spite of many setbacks suf­fered by the Igbos, we have risen from the dust of hatred and frus­tration, to reinvest.

“Today all these experiences are confined to the archives of history. But the ugly signs of ha­tred for Igbos have started rear­ing its head in some parts of the country.”

The statement further reads, “I as a leader of Igbos most hum­bly appeal to all Nigerians in the thirty-six states and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to rise to the support of Igbos against this ugly experience of wrong profiling and threat to Igbo lives and property.

“We wish to state categori­cally clear that Igbos are not all angels, among Igbo there are the good and the bad. There are also the good and the bad among the other tribes in Nigeria and indeed the world over. The law is there to appropriately address the issue of good and bad people.

“I have kept a record of crimes such as drug peddling, corrup­tion, ritual killing and murder, kidnapping etc. from my records, Igbos are not the highest perpetra­tors of these crimes.

“Many other tribes are more involved in these crimes than the Igbos. There are many instances of people from other tribes writ­ing very nasty articles against the Igbo. I will distribute a letter writ­ten by a Nigerian (name with­held), the writer is a Lagosian.

“He has even recommended that the Lagos State government should close down all the markets in Lagos where Igbo traders are in majority including the following markets – Alaba International Market, Ladipo Market, Trade Fair Market, Kantagua Market, and other places with majority of Igbo population.

“Naturally, as politicians in different parties, they disagree from time to time and came to­gether also when the need arose. Chief Awolowo had great love for Igbos and he is very highly respected by Igbos.

“The writer of the article said that Igbos hated Awolowo. That is not true. It is worthy of note that there is difference between po­litical relationship and personal relationship.”

The apex ethnic pressure group assured President Bola Tinubu of the Igbos support, stat­ing, “You don’t have any reason to panic, please continue to leave in Lagos and other Western states. Continue to go about your normal businesses, there is no fear.

“The President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR as governor of Lagos State was very good to Igbos. Throughout his tenure as the governor of Lagos State in eight years, there was no complaint or report of any maltreatment of Igbos in Lagos. During his tenure I visited his home a number of times and he was very kind and patriotic, fortunately Sen. Tinubu is now the president of Nigeria.

“We did not support him during the presidential election but that did not in any way under­mine our trust of his capacity to lead the country.

“Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in his favour, His Excel­lency, President Tinubu can be rest assured that Ohanaeze Ndig­bo will recognise, respect and be loyal to him as the president of Nigeria.

“What Igbo require is peace, fairness justice and equity. We will demand what is our share, be given to us.

“We believe in one united Nigeria where people of differ­ent tribes, creed or ethnicity can move with pride and confidence and get what they rightly deserve without any hindrances.

“At this point I want to con­gratulate Igbos as very patri­otic, loyal and faithful citizen of Nigeria. Nigeria in order to survive socially and economi­cally requires foreign and local investments.

“I am proud to say my people, the Igbo, have made investments in all the nooks and crannies of the country. Where ever they go, they buy properties, build educa­tional facilities.

“They transform barren lands to habitable lands. So, in effect, no ethnic group in Nigeria has made more investments in Nigeria than the Igbos.

“When a foreigner invests in Nigeria, he makes effort to repa­triate his investment to his coun­try, but the Igbo investor has his investment in Nigeria.

“The investment behaviour of Igbo is therefore a patriotic ges­ture which all leaders, governors, presidents should acknowledge. I encourage other ethnic group in Nigeria to do as Igbo are doing to invest in other regions outside their home of origin.

“I have carried out investiga­tion on what has happened in Lagos, and I appeal to the govern­ment of Lagos State to intervene and ensure that justice is done.

“If anybody fails to obey the laws of the land, the Igbo leadership will never support misconduct from any Igbo man anywhere they live.

“I don’t have any doubt that there may be some instances where Igbo and perhaps other people whose property was de­molished in Lagos did not fully comply with the laws of Lagos State.

“If any developer with impu­nity and without proper approv­al proceeds to develop a property anywhere in the world, he is tak­ing a risk and his property stands the risk of being demolished.

“On the other hand if the property is properly purchased, approvals from appropriate au­thority given before development, the individual deserves a happy and peaceful enjoyment of his assets.

“If any government demolish­es the property built with approv­al of appropriate government department, such government by law must pay appropriate compensation for all the damag­es incurred to the owner of the building.

“I will make attempt to see the governor of Lagos State in the next few days. I will therefore appeal that the governor of Lagos State kindly suspends the demoli­tion of buildings until all the facts are cleared.

“I have also got reports of vi­olation of building regulations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Because of the in­vestment characteristics of Igbo, private properties and invest­ments in Abuja are substantially owned by Igbos.

“I will advise my people, the Igbo, to ensure that they comply with all legislations and local regulations to avoid demolition of their properties in Abuja and other parts of Nigeria.

“It has been brought to my notice that many families have been thrown into serious diffi­culty due to the demolition in Lagos State.”...CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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Baba Voss

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