Economy

Food blockade: Ohanaeze Ndigbo say there are conspiracies against the South-Eastern region by ’those who want to destabilise the region’

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The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has alleged that there are conspiracies against the South-Eastern region by ’those who want to destabilise the region’.

In an interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the insurrection in the South-East is caused by some northerners who want Igbo people to denigrate into civil disobedience that will open them up for attacks.

Isiguzoro was reacting to a statement by the Secretary of Onion Dealers Association in Imo State, Halilu Muhammad, who noted that the association had withdrawn onion shipments to the South-East until further notice.

SaharaReporters had earlier reported how members of the association claimed they lost over N13 million to the recent seizure of onion trucks heading to the South-East.

Muhammad had made a claim that gunmen intercepted two onion trucks heading to the South-East and sold them to locals for N9,000 per bag instead of N15,000.

Ohanaeze, however, described it as a simple strategy aimed at using the weapon of hunger against the people of the South-East.

Isiguzoro noted that the Ohanaeze will never instigate the stoppage of palm oil shipment to the Northern region.

He noted that the insecurities ravaging the region are allegedly caused by a northern cartel that wants to deny Igbo people their rightful position in Nigeria. 

Ohanaeze however vowed that it would never allow Igbo people to stoop low to civil disobedience but rather allow peace to reign.

Isiguzoro said, “We have observed that all the things happening to South-East are well-coordinated attacks by a cartel that wants to destabilise South-East for economic and political reasons. 

“First, you hear the National Chairman of Arewa telling the northerners to leave the South-East that the region is no longer safe for them. You have also seen the American embassy warning the people of southern Nigeria that northern bandits and Boko Haram are moving to the South to destabilise the South, particularly the South-East.

“You have seen President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to unleash the war experience against the Igbos. And currently, we can see the perishable goods. They have done it before and they are using hunger as a strategy to ensure that the South-East does not keep up the political aspiration for 2023. 

“All these are the handiwork of northern cartel aimed at denying Igbos their rightful position in Nigeria and pushing them to civil disobedience that will lead to another civil war but the South-East will overcome all these evil conspiracies.

”Igbos are known all over the world as emergency experts that can handle any delicate situation and turn it into a gold mine.

“Ohanaeze will not instigate the blockage of palm oil to the North because Igbos have over N22 trillion worth of investments and property in the 19 northern states and whatever has been happening, including the (Ahmed) Gulak assassination is to prompt the repeat of 1966 massacre but we will resist them this time around.

“We are calling on those who are behind these to stop before it is too late, whether they block onions or do not block onions to the South-East, we will overcome this conspiracy. 

“Most of them are surprised that 51 years ago, we came out of civil war and we rebuilt our cities and they are trying to destroy our cities so they have unleashed insecurity, they have threatened us with civil war again, about killing of 3 million Igbos, mostly children and women. 

“They have threatened us with blockage of food to the South-East. They have even killed their own person in the South-East to instigate a crisis in the North but we are calling on the Northern governors, we are calling on patriotic Nigerians living in the 19 northern states, who are not part of this conspiracy to ensure that we promote things that will bind us together rather than things that will lead us to separation and that will lead us to go our separate ways. 

“This is the right time to checkmate this erroneous or this evil plan against the people of the South-East. But remember the dynamics and indices of 1966 have changed, we are now in the global world. Those factors that made them have the upper hand in 1966 are no longer feasible in 2021. Igbos will fight them at their doorstep but for now, we are calling for peace.”

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