By Ejike Ikezuagu – UK.
A New political force to boost the fight against the marginalisation and killing of Igbo people in Nigeria was last Saturday seen in the United Kingdom as the Igbo Councillors and Members of the UK Parliaments (MPs) jointly held an international online conference tagged “The Fulani Herdsmen killing of Igbo people in South Eastern Nigeria and other parts of the country”.
The conference was held to strategize actions to protect the people of the South East in Nigeria.
The new group under the auspices of “Igbo Cllrs & MPs UK” (ICM~UK) said the political group was established to create awareness and also lobby international organisations and governments to stand against discrimination and killing of Igbo people in Nigeria.
They said, the group has come to stay and will not stop in seeking for solutions to stop the menace caused in Igboland by the Fulani herdsmen. According to the group, they said, they will not stop until equity and justice are restored in their homeland..
In a communique released to Ogene Ndigbo Newspaper in London, the group maintained that they will be hosting the conference regularly to be creating the needed global awareness on the plight of Igbo people in Nigeria.
The conference which was described as a landmark by various groups in the UK was attended by several high profile UK politicians and Policy makers, ranging from past and serving Councillors, Mayors and Members of Parliament from both the House of Commons and the UK’s highest law making body, the House of Lords.
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Top of whom was The Baroness Cox of Queensbury, a UK House of Lords Member and crossbench life peer who has sat in the House of Lords since 2nd of March 1983. Baroness Cox is committed to working closely with Igbo Cllrs and MPs in UK to help create awareness and solve the security issues in Igboland in particular and Nigeria in general.
In her speech, she disclosed that as a member of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief who just submitted an inquiry they carried out on Nigeria recently, she was well aware of the systemic genocidal killings of the Christians of Nigeria by the Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen.
Other notable dignitary at the conference was the President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo who was also the Keynote Speaker for the day used his speech to commend the group for their foresight in organizing the conference, citing that this was the first time he is hearing of an Igbo political pressure group in the UK that was actually made up of real politicians of influence and declared that it couldn’t have come at a better time.
He further called on all Igbo groups who are fighting the injustices and Igbo marginalization to come together and tackle the problems from a position of oneness, strength and unity as that is what is passionately needed, if Ndigbo are going to make any inroads into correcting the injustices being meted out on them
He thanked Baroness Cox for identifying with the cause and encouraged her to be their voice in the UK Parliament until such a time when the people that matter begin to do something to correct the injustices.
In a press briefing, the group’s Coordinator-General, Cllr Nneka Keazor, said the formation of the group is a dream that the founding Igbo Cllrs have had for some time to empower Igbo families in UK and at homeland and to create awareness of the marginalization against Ndigbo as a people in Nigeria and finding political solutions to the plight of their people.
She said, “We encourage our Igbo people to speak up and stand in unity for matters that affect our community. We ask that our people also engage in politics in diaspora and in our homeland to become the voice of our people. Not to rely on the same political figures from ages past”.
She requested the Nigerian government to proscribe the Fulani Herdsmen as a terrorist organisation and asked all the South East Igbo governors to unite and speak up for the people they govern. She beseeched them to provide safety and better services for their citizens.
In her reaction over the killing of Igbo people in Nigeria, she said, “we are a political lobby group and our focus is to create awareness internationally and nationally of the suffering of our Igbo people, the marginalization and violence killing of Igbo people, whilst seeking solutions for our people” she concluded.
In the same vein, the group’s Publicity/Secretary-General, Hon Cllr. Endy Ezenwata said, the core vision of the group is to act as a political platform and pressure group of lobbying for international and UK government support against the existential threat facing the Igbos of Nigeria by way of systemic marginalization of Igbos by the Federal government and the killings of the Igbos and Christians in Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorist organisations.
He said, “We aim to create awareness of the numerous injustices meted out to our people which have led to the current Igbo agitation for a restructuring of the country or a referendum on self-determination” he continued, stating that they are also concerned about the lives and welfare of Ndigbo living in the United Kingdom and Nigeria and shall use their platform to try and promote their relevance in the UK politics and also promote their cultural and traditional heritage amongst their young people.
He said, “Our membership comprises of elected UK politicians and representatives (whether past or serving) who are of Igbo Origin”.
On the held conference, he said, “this conference was our very first public organised activity and I am so proud of its success and the wonderful turnout and coverage we’ve had”. He said that several more events are to be held in the future which are all geared towards achieving the visions and objectives of the group. .
He maintained that the group is a non-partisan organisation and fully a voluntary group and they are willing to partner with all or any Pan-Igbo groups here in the UK or in Nigeria whose aims and objectives align with theirs.
Hon Cllr. Endy Ezenwata said, “Igbo Life Matters for us and we aim to make the whole world hear our cry for help and to start positively doing something about it, he reiterated.
It could be recalled that the Fulani herdsmen have been killing the Igbo people and raping their women in the south east and the Nigerian government has not been able to protect the people. Various calls have been made for the government to take up her responsibility to protect the lives and properties of the people, but the government has been unable to do so. They failed in protecting her people as lives and properties are being lost daily and women being raped and killed.
UK Politicians Who Attended The Conference are:
Mayor Kate Anolue (Double Mayor of London Borough of Enfield), Mayor Ernest Ezeajughi (Mayor of the London Borough of Brent), Speaker of Tower Hamlet, Cllr Victoria Obaze, Sheriff of Nottingham, Cllr Patience Ifediora, Cllr Donatus Anyanwu, Former Mayor of Lambert, Cllr Gloria Opara, Cllr Favour Ifeyinwa Ezeifedi, Cllr Lady Caroline Kalu, Cllr Victor Eni, former Mayor of Borenhamwood and Elstree and Hon Endy Ezenwata.
Igbo Community Leaders and Professionals Who Attended the Conference and Spoke in Solidarity with the group’s cause are:
Hon. Ejike Ikezuagu, Publisher Ogene Ndigbo Newspaper, Lady Aqueen Ibeto, Deputy President, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo UK, Mazi Obi Okoli ( Director, Congress of Igbo Leaders UK), Dr. Eze Ugoala (Consultant Researcher of African and World politics), Dr. Comfort Ero (the African Director of Program at the Crisis Group International), Engr. Humphery Chinenyeze (President of Ezinihitte Mbaise UK) and also speakers from the vibrant and largest Igbo youth group in the UK and Europe, the Igbo Cultural Support Network (ICSN).
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