Posted by News Express | 1 August 2013 | 4,328 times
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State in Nigeria’s South-East has expressed serious displeasure over the deportation of alleged destitute of Igbo extraction to his domain by the Government of Lagos State in the country’s South-West.
In a strongly-worded letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Obi described the action as “callous”, “illegal, unconstitutional and a blatant violation of the human rights” of the victims. He also described it as indefensible, a challenge to Nigeria’s unity, as well as an invitation to anarchy. Obi requested for a federal investigation of the issue and the meting out of appropriate sanction to the Lagos State Government. Below is the text of the letter:
I wish to respectfully bring to your due attention a very disturbing development that has vast national security and political implications. Last September and again on 24 July 2013, the Lagos State Government contrived inexplicable reasons to round up Nigerians, whom they alleged were Anambra indigenes (most of whom the SSS report shows clearly are not from Anambra state) and forcefully deported them to Anambra state, dumping them as it were in the commercial city of Onitsha (see attached SSS report).
This latest callous act, in which Lagos State did not even bother to consult with Anambra State authorities, before deporting 72 persons considered to be of Igbo extraction to Anambra State, is illegal, unconstitutional and a blatant violation of the human rights of these individuals and of the Nigerian Constitution.
Your Excellency, no amount of offense committed by these people, even if deemed extremely criminal, would justify or warrant such cruel action by a State authority and in a democracy. Even refugees are protected by the law. Furthermore, the extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution states: “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part, thereof, and no citizen shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom”.
Sir, forced deportation such as this, which Lagos State seems to be making a norm in addressing its domestic challenges are egregious, and calls into question the validity of Nigeria and its federating components. Such acts violate human decency, the rule of law and constitutionally ordered liberties. Were Anambra and other States in the federation to resort to such extreme measures, there would be total anarchy.
It would amount to complicity on the part of the states and the federal government, if this issue is not thoroughly investigated and some form of censure brought to bear on Lagos State. I suggest, Sir, that you direct the Attorney-General of the Federation to investigate these incidents. Naturally, I have the obligation to protect the interest and welfare of all Nigerians resident in Anambra State irrespective of their States of origin and I would be left no option other than reciprocity or reprisal. I will, however, put any such reaction in abeyance until Your Excellency has had the opportunity to address our concerns.
Please accept, Your Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest regards.
•Photo shows Governor Obi.
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