The Voiceless Igbos of Northern Nigeria - Chris Aniedobe reports

 [ Masterweb Reports ] - The average Nigerian does not feel like he is being represented anywhere in the country, whether at the Federal, State, Local Government, and certainly not by his or her elected members of the State House, House of Representatives, or Senate. In fact, most people do not know who their representative is. Nor do most politicians understand that they are there in any representative capacity.


The situation is even worse for Ndigbo in Northern Nigeria. Here is my conversation with two prominent Igbo Community Leaders in Kano following the March 18, 2013, suicide bombing at a luxury bus park in Kano which killed over forty people and left well over 40 seriously injured. The interviews were conducted over the weekend.


“Sir, Has Governor Kwankwaso called you to offer any condolences and to offer assistance of the government of Kano State?”


“No, on the contrary, following the aftermath of the bombing, the Governor insisted on demolishing all stalls belonging to Igbo Patent Medicine dealers in Sabon Gari despite our begging him to punish only those who have been caught doing bad things. We feel humiliated that while the Igbo Community was in mourning, the Governor chose to beat a wide path of destruction through our businesses. It took only court injunction to stop him but he has indicated that he is coming back.”


“Did he visit the terror scene to ascertain first hand what was going on?”


“No, but his deputy did.”


“Did his Deputy call you to offer condolences or visit with you or offer government assistance?”


“No Sir. He just visited the scene.”


“Do you know the Kano Senator representing the area of the bombing?”


“Yes Sir.”


“Did he call you to offer any condolences or government assistance or find out how the Igbo community is coping?”


“No, Sir.”


“Did the Emir of Kano call you?”


“No, Sir.”


“And you are a well know bona fide representative of Ndi Igbo in Kano?”


“Yes, Sir.”


“Did any Hausa or Northern elite call you?”


“No sir.”


“So the Igbo community in Kano is on their own as far as the Kano State Government is concerned?”


“Yes, Sir.”


“Okay. Did any Governor from the South East call you?”


“Yes, Sir. Only one Governor.”


“What did he say?”


“He said that he has told us to leave Kano and that it is our fault that we are still staying.”


“Is that all he said?”


“Pretty much, Sir.”


“So no other South Eastern Governor called you?”


“No sir”


“Did any South Eastern Senator call you?”


“Yes, Sir. Senator Chukwumerijie and Senator Ekweremmadu.”


“And are you satisfied with the nature of their call?”


“Yes, Sir.”


“Did any Traditional Ruler from the South East call you?”


“No, Sir?”


“Did any Igbo Organization in Diaspora call you?”


“No Sir. Only journalists, but no Igbo organization in Diaspora has called to find out how we are doing or to offer us any support. Are you a journalist, Sir?”


“No, I am a victim’s and good governance advocate and I will see to it that the world knows that Ndigbo in Northern Nigeria are an endangered species in their own country.”


“Sir, be brutally frank with me, who do you think is responsible for the suicide bombings?”


“It is Boko Haram, Sir.”


“Who is behind them?”


“I don’t know, Sir, but they are well organized. All I know is that the Northern elite does not seem as concerned as we are. When you challenge them, they tell you that Northerners were also killed but the truth is that Ndigbo are the primary targets.”


“Sir, last year, there was a coordinated series of attacks in Kano that left many people dead. Knowing that Kano is a hotbed of terrorism, why do you people stay?”


“Sir, that is the question we ask ourselves. The truth is that many Ndigbo in Kano are born and raised in Kano. My kids all grew up here, schooled here, went to University here, speak fluent Hausa, have occasionally visited the South East but otherwise have Hausa friends and see themselves as Nigerians first. In fact, they do not think of themselves as Ndigbo. Many Ndigbo have lived here all their lives –30, 40, 50, 60 years. We are Northern Nigerian Igbos not Southern Nigeria Igbos. There are more Igbos in Abuja than in Ebonyi State. Outside Abuja, in the rest of Northern Nigeria, there are more Igbos than in any State in the South East and we intend to live indefinitely outside the South East as Nigerians. Sir, funny enough, people want to blame us for living out the true meaning of one Nation and funny enough, the policy makers and Hausa and Yoruba journalists speak of NdeIgbo as the people who do not want a United Nigeria. I have lived in Kano for a long time, but I can tell you that there are very very few people from the Southwest and South South here. We, Ndigbo of Northern Nigeria should be the pride of Nigeria but instead, they treat us like Hausa goats.”


“Sir, what I am saying is that we are Northerners even though we are Igbo by state of origin of our parents. You people in America should make that clear. WE ARE NORTHERN NIGERIANS who happen to be Igbos and we are not running away from our country. The Hausas live peacefully in Igboland and nobody is killing them. Nobody is killing them in the SouthWest. Why are they killing us in the North? Are we not Nigerians? Do we have two countries? Did I come to Kano with my family on a Visa? I came here with nothing

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