The Anglican Bishop of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday, flayed the Northern Elders Forum for threatening to drag the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika before the International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague for alleged extra-judicial killings of some northerners during military operations against insurgents.
He warned that the move could lead to a major crisis that would threaten the nation’s corporate existence.
Bishop Chukwuma, who made this known at a press conference in Enugu, said any attempt at persecuting the former COAS on account of the actions that were taken while he was in office would be resisted by the Igbos, urging the northern leaders to be well guided and advised.
Bishop Chukwuma, who also doubles as the South-East Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, said Igbos would resist any attempt to humiliate the respected military officer, whom he hailed for succeeding in reducing the terrorist activities of the insurgents and their sponsors.
“Northern elders should be warned or they will set up inter-tribal war in Nigeria. Is it because Ihejirika is an Igbo man?” the clergyman asked rhetorically.
He added, “Any attempt to sue him or drag him before the ICC will be resisted by the Igbos. Let them know it that we are ready to defend our brother because he has done nothing to warrant anybody taking him to Hague”.
He, however, expressed dismay at the non-appointment of an Igbo man to the newly reconstituted Service Chiefs by President Goodluck Jonathan, saying by this action, the president had shut out Igbos from the nation’s Security Council.
Bishop Chukwuma urged the National Assembly not to approve the appointment of the new Service Chiefs until the imbalance was addressed, insisting that the action of the president by not appointing a South-Easterner to the highest positions in the armed forces, in spite of the position of the South-East in the nation’s political arrangement amounted to “selective negligence.”
“The president must be very careful because these northerners that he is flooding around himself have their own agenda”, he stated.
On the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which reached a climax with last week’s resignation of Alhaji Bamangar Tukur as National Chairman, Bishop Chukwuma, who brandished a front page newspaper report showing that he had earlier called for the non-active participation of Tukur and PDP Board of Trustees chairman, Tony Anenih, in party activities considering their ages, said he was not surprised by the latest turn of events in the ruling party.
On the mass defection from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bishop Chukwuma said the situation portended great danger for the opposition party.
“These defection will not augur well for our democracy, if APC continues to accept defected members, it will be a conglomeration of trouble makers and the end result will be the crashing of APC”, he said.