from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE murder of a top politician has triggered ethnic tensions in the conflict-prone Nigeria.
Unidentified gunmen described as bandits by the police killed Ahmed Gulak in the southern Imo State on Sunday while he was on his way to the airport in the regional capital, Owerri.
Now a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), he is formerly a special advisor to ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan.
Some youths based north of Nigeria, which is largely Muslim, have threatened to “avenge” the killing if his assailants were not arrested within two weeks.
The Igbo Peace Ambassadors (IPA), the conflict resolution group for the South-East geopolitical zone, has denounced the threats.
Engr Uju Okoro, the IPA president, said, “The mischievous threat by the Northerners is capable of sparking off ethnic crisis that can disintegrate Nigeria.”
He called on security agencies to arrest those involved in the threat to serve as deterrent to others planning to embark on similar provocation.
“No person has monopoly of crisis,” Okoro said.
Governor Hope Uzodinma pledged his administration’s commitment to arrest the suspects.
Describing Igbos as accommodating and peace loving people, Okoro absolved them from the murder of Gulak.
Accounting for18 percent of the country’s population, the Igbos are the third largest ethnic group in Nigeria, behind the most-dominant Hausa and Yoruba.
The West Africa country has a history of ethno-religious conflicts.
Between 8 000 and 30 000 Igbos and easterners are estimated to have been killed during the 1966 anti-Igbo massacres.
– CAJ News