A Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has expressed concern over alleged threats by the Osun State government to deploy Amotekun to apprehend and deport Northerners residing in the State.
CNG added that the threat became more imminent when Afenifere, the dominant Pan-Yoruba cultural association reinforced it as reported on May 1st, 2020, thereby according it the salient endorsement of the entire southwest.
CNG spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in a statement, explained,
“We view the threat as a serious cause for concern to all well-meaning Nigerians and friends alike when the Osun government remains undeterred, even with the protest on 30th April, 2020 by the Zamfara State government whose indegines are said to be targeted by the deportation plan.”
The statement added,
“The deportation threat by the Osun State government and the Afenifere is not only a catalyst for communal disharmony, but also a clear contradiction of the human rights guaranteed in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The groups opined that every citizen of Nigeria was entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part of it, adding that no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry or exit from it.
“No citizen of Nigeria is to be subjected to any disabilities or restrictions based solely on the fact that he/she is a member of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion, or circumstances of his/her birth,” they added.
The groups strongly observed,
“The deportation plan also rubbishes President Muhammadu Buhari’s reaffirmation in his address to the nation on August 21, 2017, of the Constitutional guarantee for every Nigerian citizen to reside in any part of the country without molestation.
“That the acceptable position is for anybody charged with the commission of an offence is prosecuted and punished in the state where the offence is committed and not to be forced back to his state of origin.
“That in extraordinary situations such as the one created by the COVID-19, a state, in the enforcement of the restriction of movement, can apprehend people coming from other places and send them back on point of entry as is being done by Kaduna and other states across the country.
“That the mode in this case is not limited to turning people back on points of entry, but involves fishing out people of the said targeted ethnic group from the Yoruba communities and deporting them.
“That this is planned irrespective of the trite law that unless otherwise proved, majority of northerners – including those residing in Osun and every other part of Nigeria – are peaceful everyday people with the same needs, anxieties and hopes as the rest of Nigerians.
“That in the execution of this plan, the consciousness is eroding that for decades, different tribes in Nigeria have been accommodated and tolerated in other parts of the country without their hosts contemplating discriminatory actions specifically to intimidate, harass and endanger them, their families, their properties or their trades.
“That they are so tolerated despite abundant hard evidence that shows how some of these non-indeginous northerners who are comfortably accommodated by the North take undue advantage of the region’s tolerant culture to pursue illicit trades.
“That while this is going on, the Presidency, the Police and other federal law authorities are conspiratorially silent and perhaps expecting the North to continue to tolerate the stay of other people from where it’s sons are being deported.”
CNG called on all northerners to continue to exercise a high sense of responsibility in restraint while remaining firm and focused in all parts of the country.