As the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal delivers judgment on Wednesday in the petitions against the declaration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Ndigbo as winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election, Ndigbo Lagos, a socio-cultural group representing the interests of Igbo residing in Lagos, has called on security agencies to protect its members.
Expressing fears that Igbo may ne targets of attacks if the tribunal takes a fecision that does not favour Tinubu, the hroup said it was “deeply concerned about the potential threats to the lives and properties of Ndigbo.”
The group, in a statement signed byvits President General, Major General Obi Abel Umahi (retd), said security agencies should take proactive measures to secure Igbo in the post-judgement period.
Ndigbo Lagos said: “The recent tribunal proceedings have generated heightened tension and apprehension within Nigeria, most especially the Ndigbo community in Lagos. As a peace-loving and law-abiding community, we urge all members to accept the outcome of the tribunal in good faith and explore lawful means to seek redress if necessary. However, we cannot ignore the unfortunate history of targeting and victimisation experienced by our community in the aftermath of such events.
“The protection of lives and properties is the primary responsibility of the security agencies. We implore them to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding the lives and properties of every Nigerian citizen, especially Ndigbo, during this period of heightened vulnerability. We call on the relevant security agencies to deploy adequate personnel and resources to prevent any form of violence, intimidation, or harassment targeted at members of our community.”
The Igbo group commends security agencies for maintaining peace and order during the election period, “even though more should have been done and ought to be done. We urge them to build upon their limited success and ensure an even more robust security presence across all regions with significant populations of Ndigbo, considering the long history of making us scapegoats in such situations.
“It is critical that every citizen, irrespective of their ethnic background, feels secure and protected within our great nation. We also appeal to our fellow Nigerians, particularly political actors and supporters, to exercise restraint and embrace peaceful means of expressing their grievances or celebrating their victories, as prescribed by the law. We must collectively reject any form of violence or incitement that can further inflame tensions and endanger lives.
Ndigbo Lagos called on leaders at all levels, community stakeholders, and well-meaning Nigerians to join it in advocating for peace, unity, and justice, saying: “We must work together to foster an inclusive society that protects the rights and lives of all its citizens regardless of their ethnicity.
“Ndigbo Lagos will continue to partner with relevant stakeholders and cooperate with the security agencies to promote a peaceful coexistence among all Nigerians within Lagos State and beyond.”