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Yoruba group backs Ohanaeze protest over Southeast exclusion

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President Muhammadu Buhari has once again, come under pressure to review the country’s security architecture to accommodate the Southeast.

Some elders from the Southwest, under the aegis of Concerned Yoruba Elders (CCYE), told Buhari that “all major regions of the country should be given equal representation in security management” for the sake of justice and equity.

“The Igbo nation has suffered so much in this nation and if God must be kind to us, we need to address the so many injustices done to them,” they said in a statement on Tuesday by their National Coordinator of CCYE, Prof. Olusegun Ajibola, and National Secretary, Dr. Catherine Adisa.

It went ahead to challenge “prominent leaders in the country to stand up for the Igbo.”

The statement followed the outcry by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and individuals over the exclusion of the Southeast from the nation’s security top brass.

Buhari had last month named Maj.-General Lucky Irabor from Delta State (South-south) as new Chief of Defence Staff; Maj-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru from Kaduna State(Northwest) as Chief of Army Staff; Air Vice-Marshal Isiaka Amao from Osun State(South-south) as Chief of Air Staff and Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo from Kano State(Northwest) as Chief of Naval Staff.

But the CCYE expressed reservation over the continuous sidelining of the Southeast in top security positions in spite of the fact that it is a major stakeholder in the country.

Noting that no ethnic group or tribe in the country had a stake in the Nigerian project than the others, the CCYE insisted that it was time for President Buhari to right his wrong so that every part of the country could have a sense of being a part of the country.

The group said its members were losing sleep over the development given that it first happened in 2015 when no military officer of Southeast extraction made it in the security team composed by the President.

The statement reads in part: “We have carefully followed the reaction and counter-reactions that is trailing the appointments of the new service chiefs and concerns raised by Nigerians over the exclusion of Igbo from Southeast, and as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, we wish to add our voice to these growing concerns.

“Firstly, we thank God and President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing our son, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao as chief of the Air Staff. This is the second time that the President is considering our region worthy enough for appointment into the nation’s security management. We are indeed grateful to him for this gesture.

“We can categorically say that it is an appointment that Mr. President will not regret because of the professional and moral competence of the officer.

“We, however, stand totally with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and several other Nigerians who are of the view that justice was not done to the Southeast in the composition of the Service Chiefs and should be urgently and fairly reviewed in the interest of justice and equity.

“The Igbo nation has suffered so much in this nation and if God must be kind to us, we need to address the so many injustices done to them. Obviously, from the mood of the country after the long-awaited sack of Service Chiefs, the low or poor excitement in the country is a clear indication that people were not happy with the composition of the appointment.”

The elders while reiterating their position that a review of the appointments was necessary for the interest of justice and equity, said they had nothing personal against the new Service Chiefs but was only calling for the right thing to be done given that the country is a multi-ethnic one.

The statement added: “We wish to say here in very clear terms that we have nothing personal against the new service chiefs because they are all competent in their various capacities. “However, we wish to say also that there are also competent and qualified Igbos in the various arms of the Nigerian Military.

“Anything done without justice cannot be effective because God will not be part of it. The needed peace and prosperity of a country cannot be guaranteed as God is a God of Justice.”

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