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Deportation: Let’s Stop This Saga
News about ‘deportation’ of some destitute of Anambra State origin to Onitsha by the Lagos State Government, which broke on 14th of July 2013, finally brought to the fore, an unwholesome practice by many state governments that was fast becoming a fad.
Whilst we appreciate that at this stage of Nigeria’s development, government at all levels should be up and doing in effecting the much-needed transformation and rebuilding process, we at I-Nigerian are not happy about the division that removal of so-called non-indigene destitute will further cause to the psyche of Nigerians.
As Nigerians, we must encourage a situation whereby any citizen resident in any part of the country will be regarded and treated as an indigene with rights and privileges of employment and welfare. ‘Deportation’ trend will do more harm to the much needed desire to cement the cohesion we envisage for our people. The strident arguments emanating from the incidence have mostly been along tribal divides – seriously reminding us about one of the ugly issues we have been grappling with as a nation- ethnicity.
We, at I-Nigerian are deeply saddened by the huge controversy that has erupted over this unfortunate incident. The Media in all forms has been awash with all manner of attacks and counterattacks in the form of comments and rejoinders by Nigerians themselves. The Social Media (what we call the free Press) has become an arena of endless ugly discussions and debates about this issue, where one is daily treated to the casting of aspersions and trading of words and blames between and among Nigerians particularly of the ethnic groups affected by this incident. This just seems to fuel the fires of an already deep dent on the collective psyche of the average Nigerian.
We must at this point state that the FCT Administration, Lagos, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Kano states have all ‘deported’ alleged destitute at one point or the other in the last 10 years and so, we are not singling out any particular state for castigation. Coming at a time that we SHOULD BE together…coming at a time that global attention on Nigeria is at an all-time high! Fellow Nigerians, this shouldn’t be! This shouldn’t happen! This should not be allowed or encouraged to degenerate any further!!!! ENOUGH!!
I-Nigerian condemns in its entirety, anything or any action by any institution, organisation or individual that will be inimical to our precarious efforts to retain and sustain our UNITY as a nation. Nigeria is one nation and remains will so.
I-Nigerian sues for peace, and a ‘sheathing of swords’ by all parties concerned and affected by this unfortunate incidence and call in particular, on the institutions involved to meet in properly constituted circumstances to discuss ways and means to stem the imbroglio that has arisen as a result of these ‘deportations.’ Nigerians must be made to feel safe to visit, reside, and dwell freely in any part of the country without having to feel that their stay is subject to unceremonious truncation at any time. Institutions of discipline (or sanitization of the system) should be more humane in approach and in the discharge of their duties.
Since this news story broke, many have turned this whole saga into an ethnic issue. We at I-Nigerian do not think or want to remotely assume that the Lagos State Task Force or any institution or governments involved before and after the Lagos saga which have engaged in such assignments carried out their duties with such bias at the back of their minds; we choose to believe in the reason that they were only doing their work (albeit that the modus and manner of doing so has raised a huge dust of suspicion). In the same vein, we do not want to think or remotely assume that there is enough reason for the reactions that have arisen from this act, to be from the standpoint of ethnic bias.
To all Nigerians, we say, we need to rise above ethnic sentiments in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Our country is at a very critical stage of its growth and development, and we Nigerians must all think, say, and emphasise on those things that bind us together, not divide us. Our ONENESS is sacrosanct, and should be respected at all levels. Our UNITY is crucial to our sustained development and we Nigerians one and all, must articulate and internalise this to keep this entity we call ‘home,’ in one piece.
This is Nigeria, this is home, this is our land, and we will thrive here for one simple reason: I-Nigerian!
God bless Nigeria and all Nigerians….long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria – ONE ENTITY, ONE NATION, ONE PEOPLE!
Ada Stella Apiafi
National Coordinator, I-Nigerian
21th August 2013
Source: Citizens Platform
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