The Zikist Movement wants to believe that Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) and some other Northern youth groups were misquoted in reports that they threatened the lives and properties of Igbos residing in Northern Nigeria. However, if such statements were truly made, we ask them to quickly retract the implicating statements and retrace their steps.
Carrying out such threats will surely be counterproductive, given the existence of the International Criminal Court, and the international spread of activist Igbos and their friends all over the world.
Expelling a whole ethnic group from a region for no just cause is ethnic cleansing, which has been classified as a crime against humanity, and we remind the groups that unlike in 1966, today the International Criminal Court was formed to prosecute such occurrences.
We remind them that no single Nigerian socio cultural group can withstand the will of the international community if they decide to prosecute any case of ethnic cleansing. They should remember that all that is needed to get the ICJ to act on such if needed is movement of international public opinion galvanised by pictorial or other evidence.
As seen in recent instances, the Igbos and their friends clearly have the capability and willingness to move international public opinion in cases of unjust treatment. Igbos and their friends know how to capture such incidents with even the simplest of camera phones and share with the world.
We ask the AYCF and the other groups to ponder over what happened when Serbian ultra nationalists expelled Bosnian Muslims from parts of the former Yugoslavia. The world made sure all the ring leaders were punished severely.
We believe that should these groups carry out their threat, lawyers, human rights activists, online activists, journalists any victim’s families, Igbos and other Nigerians in Nigeria and decent people and leaders over the world will not sit by idly and watch, but will make sure swift justice prevails.
We urge security agencies and Northern elders to impress on these youths the need to stand down, as taking the stand they have vowed to take could lead to a cataclysmic situation they never even expected.
The Zikist Movement, being one of the groups that sacrificed dearly for Nigeria’s independence, believes that Nigeria, this country which Zik helped create should be given a chance. The followers of Zik have been at the forefront of promoting reconciliation between all sections of Nigeria. In the same vein, we urge the abovementioned groups to try to win the hearts and minds of Igbos resident in the North for the Nigerian course with goodwill, rather than engage in incendiary remarks capable of setting the Republic on ablaze.
Prince Charles Offokaja,