The APC national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, and some APC governors were in Owerri, Imo state on Tuesday, where they had a discussion with the Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo on the relationship between Igbos and Hausas, especially following the murder of Mrs. Bridget Agbahime in Kano last week.
The APC governors present were Imo governor Rochas Okorocha, Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai and Bauchi governor Mohammed Abubakar. The Ohanaeze group was led by its President-General, Chief Gary Igariway.
The meeting had come after the visiting governors and the APC National Chairman had attended the achievements presentation ceremony of Okorocha in the past five years on Monday night. In addition to the murder of Mrs. Agbahime, the issue of rampaging herdsmen was discussed.
Gov. El-Rufai said that the killers of the Igbo trader must be made to face the wrath of the law. “We will not accept a situation where people either Christians or Muslims hide under the umbrella of religion to commit crime. If someone had insulted God, the person should be left for God to take care of. I have advised the Kano governor to publicly deal with the people involved to serve as a deterrent to others,” he sid.
He continued: “I thank Ohanaeze for choosing the path of peace and unity. People are now using religion as a tool to divide and even defraud people. That necessitated the introduction of religion bill in Kaduna so that people can be stopped from using divisive languages in the name of religion.”
On the issue of the herdsmen, he said: “It is a problem that is affecting the whole nation. It is not a case of Fulani invading other tribes but a criminal activity that must be nipped in the bud. In pure Fulani communities, the herdsmen are equally attacking them in numbers, doing all kinds of ugly things like kidnapping, armed robbery, rape etc.”
In his own remarks at the meeting the Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar said “the killing of the woman in Kano was an evil act. I had liaised with the Kano governor and he assured that arrest has been made and those responsible will face the full weight of the law.”
On the herdsmen problem, he said: “The problem has been in the North over the years and its occurrence in the South should not be seen as an act of invasion but a criminal act that must be treated as such, adding that the traditional Nigeria Fulani herdsmen are not known to be criminally minded, but because of the country’s porous borders, herdsmen from other African nations especially after the fall of Libya found their way into the country and they are the ones committing these crimes.”
The APC National Chairman, Oyegun in his contribution, said there were proofs that most of these crimes are being committed by foreigners and gave an instance of a Reverend father in Benin who was kidnapped and out of the number of those involved in his abduction only one was a Nigerian and the rest were foreigners, adding that the nation has to rise to face these challenges squarely.
The host, Governor Okorocha said the killing of the woman in Kano State was an outright case of murder and has nothing to do with tribe or religion because what is criminal is criminal and must be treated as specified by law, adding that seventy percent of Nigeria’s problems could be adjudged to have arisen from lack of communication.
He said with what the governors said: “It could now be understood that the Kano incident was not an attack against Ndi-Igbo but a case of crime. It is also pertinent for us to know that the wonderful bridge that connects the Igbo to the North is not faulty. The bridge is as strong as it has ever been. The Igbos must fortify this bridge for both economic and political reasons.”