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UN denounce quit notice, death threats against Igbo people

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  • As Nzuko Umunna petition garners almost 3000 signatories 

Jude Johnson 

 

The United Nations (UN) has condemned the quit notice issued by Arewa youths against Igbo people living in the north.

This is coming as the petition launched by Igbo Think-Tank group, Nzuko Umunna to raise global alarm concerning the threat of genocide elicited by the “quit notice”, has garnered close to 3000 signatures in matter of days.

A group of United Nations human rights experts had in a special report, warned that the ultimatum telling Nigerians of Igbo extraction in the north of the country to flee their homes is of “grave concern”.

The experts in a statement made available on Friday by the Communication Specialist, Communication and External Relations of UNICEF Nigeria, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, condemned the quit notice as deplorable.

The UN investigators also deplored a hate song and audio message being circulated on the internet and on social media.

They noted that the Hausa-language audio message urges northern Nigerians to destroy the property of Igbo people and kill anyone who refuses to leave by 1 October, the same date given in the ultimatum.

“We are gravely concerned about this proliferation of hate messages and incitement to violence against the Igbo and their property, especially considering the previous history of such violence.

“The Government must be vigilant, as hate speech and incitement can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigeria’s ethnic communities,” the experts said.

The ultimatum was issued on 6 June 2017 during a press briefing by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum in the city of Kaduna. It called for sustained and coordinated campaigns to remove the Igbo population from the northern region.

The human rights experts however, noted that some local and national figures, as well as some media representatives, had publicly denounced any form of hate speech and incitement, but said other officials still needed to follow suit.

“We are deeply concerned that some prominent local leaders and elders have not condemned the ultimatum, hate speech and the perpetrators

“We call on the Government, media and civil society representatives, and local and religious leaders, to reject and condemn hate speech and incitement to violence unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms,” the experts urged.

The UN experts said any incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence had to be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted and punished.

“This includes the people behind the ultimatum and those responsible for the creation, publication and circulation of the hate song and audio message,” they added.

The experts are: Mr. Mutuma Ruteere,  Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and Ms. Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERDis the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties.

In a related development, the petition launched by Nzuko Umunna to raise awareness over the implications of the quite notice issued by the Arewa group and the hate song following the threat, has garnered close to 3000 signatures.

The content of the petition on https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/nigeria-quit-notice-to-igbo-people-stop-another-looming-genocide-now.html is reproduced here:

 

 

Nigeria: Quit notice to Igbo People: Stop another looming genocide now

 

 

 

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, a coalition of youth associations from northern Nigeria issued a statement which has now come to be infamously known as “The Kaduna Declaration” in Kaduna asking fellow citizens of the Igbo stock from southeast Nigeria, to quit the north of Nigeria before October 1, 2017, as they (northern Nigerian youths) would commence “visible actions” which include to “reclaim, assume and assert sole ownership and control of … landed resources currently owned, rented or in any way enjoyed by the … Igbo in any part of Northern Nigeria.

“Consequently, officials of the signatory groups to this declaration are already mandated to commence immediate inventory of all properties, spaces or activity in the north currently occupied by the Igbo for forfeiture at the expiration of the ultimatum contained in this declaration”.

Soon after this quit notice, a hate song composed in Hausa language encouraging the massacre of the Igbo anywhere they are found in the north of Nigeria went viral.

Apart from the fact that the quit notice and declaration to forcefully eject and take over properties belonging to the Igbo in northern Nigeria violate all known statutes of the United Nations guaranteeing the legal ownership of property and enjoyment of same by the owners anywhere in the world, these threats by youths of northern Nigeria have set the tone for genocide against the Igbo from October 1, 2017, hence, our petition for those behind the statements, songs and actions to be brought to book in order to nip the planned genocidal attacks in the bud.

The threats should not be taken lightly especially as notable leaders and elders of northern Nigeria have given their backing to the quit notice and hate song against the Igbo while the commoners have been celebrating same.

Our advice comes from the background of the fact that it was the same process and sequence as we are witnessing today that led to the pogroms against the Igbo people in northern Nigeria in 1966 leading to the Nigerian civil war and other mass actions against the people at several times in the past.

We hereby urge all relevant authorities both local and international to rise to the occasion and ensure such violence is not allowed to happen again because it has the possibilities of throwing the nation into another round of chaos more massive than the scale of a civil war.

 

Following the unlawful and ill-advised notice issued by Arewa youths of northern Nigeria to the Igbo people residing in that part of the country to quit on or before October 1, 2017, a hate song that has gone viral composed in Hausa language by a Hausa/Fulani singer encouraging the massacre of Igbos anywhere they are found in Nigeria, and the grave danger such notice and song portend to not only the Igbo people but also Nigerians in general, we seek, by this petition, the urgent actions of Nigerian authorities, the United Nations and the international community to immediately bring the authors of the hate speech and genocidal song to justice.

We call on the Nigerian authorities in particular to immediately embark on a global campaign particularly in northern Nigeria to ensure that these murderous plots against the Igbo race in Nigeria do not become manifest.

We by this petition also put world leaders particularly those of the United States, Germany, Britain, France and Israel among others on notice relating to these infractions.

 

 


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