• Professionals, others meet over defunct Midwest region
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has decried what he termed a song wishing Igbo people dead. He, therefore, warned that Nigeria should not be made to witness genocide like Rwanda.
Abubakar noted that the song, currently circulating in parts of the federation, could trigger a major crisis reminiscent of the Rwandan experience.Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed in an inter-ethnic conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis in the East African country in 1994 following the death of their president, Juvénal Habyarimana, in a plane crash.
In a statement yesterday from his media office in Abuja, Abubakar urged Nigerians to condemn what he said was “reminiscent of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide.”The former president called on security agencies to fish out those responsible for the song, which he declined details.
He said: “It has come to my attention that a song disparaging people of Igbo origin, and which wishes them dead, is circulating in some parts of the nation. I totally and unequivocally condemn this development, and I call on all men of goodwill to rise up against this evil.
“This song is reminiscent of the beginnings of the Rwandan genocide. Nigerians need to be aware that the incident was believed to have been ignited by a song titled Nanga Abahutu (I hate Hutus), sung by the country’s then most popular musician, Simon Bikindi. God forbid that we should have such a déjà vu in Nigeria.”
He went on: “I call on the security agencies to thoroughly and decisively swing into action and apprehend, try, convict and severely punish those behind this ungodly song which incites racial hatred.
“Simon Bikindi was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for igniting and aiding the genocide. Thus, let those who think they can treat their fellow citizens so unjustly know that within and outside Nigeria exist mechanisms that will ensure they answer to their crimes.
“I call on all men of goodwill to remember those immortal lines from our former national anthem that ‘though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand’.”
In another development, professionals and civil society groups from Edo and Delta states are meeting tomorrow in Benin City to chart a future for the defunct Midwest region.
Congregating under the aegis of The Midwest Movement, the participants are to deliberate on how the region could get a better deal in the face of numerous calls for the restructuring of Nigeria.
The conveners include renowned playwright, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki; Nollywood star, Richard Mofe Damijo; Senator Domingo Obende; Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Benin, Professor Edoba Omoregie; former presidential adviser, Professor Echefuna Onyebeadi; Dr. Chris Itsede; Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Ide Eguabor.