Firstly, we of the IGBO RENAISSANCE FORUM would want to salute the courage and resilience of our frontline health workers in this fight against this ravaging and rampaging COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria today. We pray that you stay protected by nature as you save lives.
We want to advise everyone to ensure that safety precautions are followed and that citizens should endeavor to stay at home and help stop the spread of this virus.
We received with amazement and shock the inhuman and demeaning treatment currently being meted out on Ndi Igbo and other Nigerians in China. A few days ago, videos of molestation and intimidation of Ndi Igbo and other Nigerians living in China went viral online. We have taken time to investigate the matter and have confirmed the videos that we received in relation to the incidents recorded as factual.
We want to use this medium to speak directly to the South East political leaders, and specifically to the South East Governors. That your deafening silence in the face of obvious life-threatening circumstances facing your people in China is disdainful and insensitive to put it mildly.
It is sad that these people stranded in China and being subjected to inhuman treatments by the Chinese were quarantined for 15 days and subsequently thrown into the streets and asked to leave, without any consideration whatsoever. From information received from reliable sources, we gathered that hotels have been instructed not to take them in, even as some are being evicted from their living places.
It is even more sad that while our people are being treated like animals in China, our leaders, who were always screaming on podiums during campaigns, vowing and pledging to protect and preserve our lives and rights have decided to be VERY SILENT and are acting as if they are deaf, dumb and blind!
We are waiting for Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to address this matter with the urgency it deserves. It is disheartening for us as Ndi Igbo to observe the kind of efforts that goes into rescuing citizens from regions other than ours from unsavory situations, only to see a snail speed action when any bad situation seems to affect Ndi Igbo more.
However, we shall not dwell on the lacklustre attitude of the federal government to issues concerning Ndi Igbo as our focus is on our elected leaders in the South East who have become even more fatally lethargic at taking charge and defending Ndi Igbo in recent times.
Our people are going through unimaginable pain and anguish for no other reason but XENOPHOBIA, and yet we have our own brother, Geoffrey Jideofor K. Onyeama as Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs in GOLDEN SILENCE MODE.
WHAT AN IRONY! Some people in some quarters have insinuated that most of the people affected are either not legally resident in China or have criminal records that might affect their exit from the country. For us as an Organization, it is absurd to start attributing and conjuring such ideas without any data of the individuals affected, or even a thorough investigation of the matter to ascertain the legal immigration status of these individuals.
OUR RESOLVE 1. We demand that the South East Governors by Friday 10th of April 2010 should tell Ndi Igbo in definite terms, the course of action on how to engage the federal government to evacuate our people facing homelessness, anxiety, vagaries of the weather and ultimately COVID-19 in China at this moment.
2. That the South East Governors constitute adiaspora interface organization at the shortest possible time, made up of credible individuals to get to work and to quickly come up with a comprehensive welfare report on Ndi Igbo across the globe. This is very pertinent for us, as we battle this pandemic and beyond, for R&￼ purposes.
3. We demand that a database of Ndi Igbo stranded in China be raised immediately. That is the only way we can work out an efficient plan for a successful action.
4. We demand that the South East Governors, the South East Parliamentary Caucus and Ohaneze Ndigbo convene an emergency meeting on or before the 15th of April, 2020 to holistically look at the Igbo nation and its survival through this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond as we are tired of the silence in the face of serious threats to our existence by the effects of the measures to combat COVID-19 globally.
We want to state very clearly that Ndi Igbo are fast losing patience with a leadership that has not inspired any hope in those they lead.
We shall be left with no option but to invoke the PEOPLE POWER in the situation where it becomes obvious that the lives of those who took pains to put our leaders in office does not matter anymore.
Finally, we want to give our people who are caught in this unfortunate situation in China hope, that they are certainly not alone, and that we shall not rest until they are safely evacuated back to Nigeria. We ask that they maintain the peace and be of good conduct as great ambassadors.
We shall no more fold our arms and watch! SIGNED: Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (Oyi) International Coordinator – Igbo Renaissance Forum