An international group, Igbos for a Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) has condemned certain allegations peddled against Ndigbo orchestrated by those it termed unscrupulous elements claiming to be speaking for the people of the South East.
It stated that the Igbo were not and would never be at war with the Yorubas or any other tribe in Nigeria.
In a statement by its Leader, South West Zone, Emeka Nwachukwu and Secretary, Bar Arinze Odiari, IPAN said the clarification followed insinuation by some tribal bigots taking advantage of the current crisis in the country to cause tribal war.
The group also frowned at the manner in which peaceful protests were hijacked by some hoodlums, which led to wanton destruction of lives and investments of fellow Nigerians.
The statement partly read, “For emphasis, Ndigbo are not and will never be at war with the Yoruba people, or any other tribe for that matter. We have learned from experience that any issue approached with war ends up like a tattered basket of a market woman.
“So, we will always be at peace with our host communities, states and tribes. And we will always use peaceful dialogue to approach any issue that may come up as we relate with them.
“We noticed how these unprincipled elements were pushing hard to brand the recent sad occurrences, especially in Lagos, as a war between the Igbos and the Yorubas.
“Although, we are not surprised at their actions considering their past antecedents. But it still baffles us greatly that normal people, without mental problems, would be rejoicing over the loss of lives and property of fellow citizens.
“Igbos For A Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) South West Zone want to use this opportunity to commend the efforts of Joe Igbokwe, Lagos State Governor H.E Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland Otunba Gani Adams, and all other South West leaders, who in their wisdom, were able to douse the tension, dispel the rumours and restore peace and unity in the state.
While commiserating with Lagos State government and families that lost their loved ones during the protests, the group vowed not to sit and watch persons with destructive agenda turn the ugly development into a combat between the people of South East and their friendly South West hosts.
“IPAN also encourages all Igbos in Lagos State and other Southwest states of the country to complement and appreciate the efforts of the leaders of the region, so that an enabling environment will be created for the betterment of Igbos and others living in the region.
“We therefore call on all Nigerians, especially the Igbo youths, never to be enticed by the overtures of those who are calling for war.
“At this time of our national life and in keeping with global standard, a roundtable discussion of issues affecting us remains a preferred alternative. Those who think otherwise should first start the war in their respective families,” the statement added.