The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has come under strong criticism regarding its unfriendly and humiliating disposition to the Igbos in the country.
Making the criticism in Asaba, the Delta state capital, a retired police commissioner, Ikechukwu Aduba, said going by the recent appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari and in particular, his tagging the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist group, the Igbo man may gradually become an endangered specie in the Nigeria project.
He argued that there was no basis for the military under President Buhari’s administration to have tagged the IPOB a terrorist group because its members do not go about with guns or dangerous weapons in their protest.
Therefore, he said for the military to suddenly tag the IPOB a terrorist group could be likened to killing a fly with a sledge hammer.
Rather than use what he called maximum force against the IPOB, he said the presidency should have resorted to a civil approach by allowing the police to handle the group.
This, he said is what is universally accepted within the concept of internal security arrangement.
He said, in compliance with this, therefore, what the federal government should have done to curtail the perceived excesses of the IPOB was to deploy four units of mobile policemen to disperse them whenever they engage in any protest it perceives to be a threat to peace and security and not engage the army or use maximum force and even going to the extreme to label it a terrorist group.
Re-affirming his earlier position that the military is overstepping its constitutional bounds or duty regarding the IPOB issue, Chief Aduba said internal security is the responsibility of the police but unfortunately, the police that are constitutionally charged with that responsibility has been relegated to the background while the army has taken over its duties.
Describing the federal government’s tagging of IPOB a terrorist group as excessive high handedness, he said, up till today, not one Fulani herdsman has been arrested, prosecuted or convicted in spite of all the atrocities they have committed, ranging from destruction of farmlands with their cattle, raping of innocent and helpless female farmers, maiming and killings, yet the federal government has not considered it right to tag it a terrorist group.
Beyond that, he said, the Niger Delta militants killed scores of soldiers, sunk their boats, yet the federal government did not label them terrorist group rather, it called for discussion and dialogue with them because it knew what was at stake.
Now, an Igbo group, IPOB is peacefully asking for what it thinks will be good for them and government is tagging it a terrorist group. “This is a show of deep-rooted hatred for the Igbo race,” he said.
“All that the Igbo man is asking for in the Nigeria project is equity, fairness and justice, because Nigeria belongs to us all and no one ethnic group is more Nigerian than the other,” Chief Aduba posited.
“Look at the various appointments the Buhari administration has made so far and you would see the imbalance. The South-east is given non-performing ministries, which shows clearly the extent to which the Igbo man is marginalised in the Nigeria project.
“By every evidence available, the Buhari administration is treating the Igbos as if they are a conquered people and I think the time has come for the president to have a re-think and retrace his steps because, never in the history of Nigeria has it been so polarized in favour of one ethnic group like we have today,” Chief Aduba submitted.