The Supreme Council of Ndi Eze Ndigbo in Lagos has sent a save-our-souls to the State Governor, Babajide-Sanwo-Olu, over the attacks on Igbo in the state.
The council has also called for the immediate release of Eze Ndigbo of Ibasa riverine community, Satellite Town, Chinedu Mozie, who has been in detention at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, under the order of the traditional ruler of Ibasa, Lagos.
At a press conference at the Palace of Eze Ndigbo of Shasha, Mr. Vincent Iwobi, who doubles as the Vice Chairman of the Council, the Igbo leaders said the attack on Ndigbo was becoming unbearable and embarrassing that they had to cry out to the state governor and well meaning Yoruba people, to wade in before the attack is taken to an uncontrollable level.
In a statement signed by Chairman of the Council, Lawrence Nnamdi Eze; Secretary, Edwin Obi, and Vice Chairman, Vincent Iwobi, the council said the attack on Ndigbo should be condemned and the thugs who perpetrate the act and their sponsors should be called to order with immediate effect.
Iwobi, who briefed the press said: “The unwarranted detention of Mozie is annoying as he was being intimidated for committing no crime, except that he went to exercise his franchise, where he was attacked by thugs under the order of Oba of Ibasa. He is presently being held by the Lagos State Police Command, and at the same time undergoing treatment at a police clinic in the cell because of the injuries he sustained from the attack.
“His ordeal started last Thursday when he was accosted by the Oba, who bluntly told him to tell his people that Ndigbo must not participate in the governorship and state House of Assembly elections, claiming that the order was from above. He explained to the Oba that he and Ndigbo have the constitutional rights to vote for any candidate of their choice. The explanation of Mozie did not go down well with the Oba. So, on Saturday, the election day, he was on his way to cast his vote when the Oba accosted him again, and ordered the youths and masquerades to deal with him. They attacked Mozie with cutlasses, broken bottles and other lethal weapons.
“Consequently, Mozie tried to defend himself to avoid being lynched and ran into the palace of the Oba and told them to kill him in there. The Oba who sensed the danger of lynching him in his palace, quickly called the police, who arrested him and took him to SCIID. We have visited him in the cell because he was taken from the cell to the clinic as he was bleeding profusely. Why did the police arrest him when he was the victim, while the people who attacked him are walking freely on our streets? Is it a crime to vote for the candidate of one’s choice? We don’t understand what is happening in Lagos.
“Prior to this development, Eze Mozie and the Igbo community had lived peacefully with their host until last Saturday. We, therefore, call for the immediate release of Mozie from police custody, to enable him to treat himself in the hospital, so as to get adequate medical attention. Governor Babajide-Sanwo-Olu should play a fatherly role as the Chief Executive Officer of the state and wade into the matter relating to the attacks of Ndigbo and, most importantly, the unlawful detention of Mozie.
“Suffice it to mention that it is the inalienable right of every Nigerian to reside in his place of choice. We passionately appeal that the governor should intervene quickly to avoid further breakdown of law and order.
“We are peaceful people who are interested in development. We are being humiliated for no just reasons. The three gubernatorial candidates are Yoruba. No Igbo man contested with them. The question is what has Ndigbo done that we are being prosecuted? We were threatened not to come out to exercise our franchise, yet those who threatened us are walking freely. The election is over, yet our people are being attacked. A pointer is the attack on Ndigbo on Sunday, at the Abule-Ado area.”
Iwobi also called on the state Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, to call his men to order and demand explanation from those who arrested Mozie on why he was arrested, when he was the victim of election violence.