- UN experts denounce ultimatum and death threats targeting Igbo in the north
- The UN also urged the federal government to investigate and prosecute the Northern youths behind the ‘quit notice’
- According to the UN, incitement can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigeria’s ethnic communities
The United Nations has called on the federal government of Nigeria to investigate and prosecute people behind the ultimatum against Igbos in the norther part of the country and those responsible for the creation, publication and circulation of the hate song and audio message.
The UN made this known in a publication obtained from the office of the United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The UN which strongly condemns the ultimatum and hate songs said hate speech and incitement can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigeria’s ethnic communities.
The statement read in full:
"An ultimatum telling Nigeria’s Igbo minority in the north of the country to flee their homes is of “grave concern”, a group of United Nations human rights experts* has warned.
"The experts also deplored a hate song and audio message being circulated on the internet and on social media. The Hausa-language audio message urges northern Nigerians to destroy the property of Igbo people and kill anyone who refuses to leave by 1 October, the same date given in the ultimatum.
“We are gravely concerned about this proliferation of hate messages and incitement to violence against the Igbo and their property, especially considering the previous history of such violence,” the experts said.
“The government must be vigilant, as hate speech and incitement can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigeria’s ethnic communities.”
"The ultimatum was issued on 6 June 2017 during a press briefing by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum in the city of Kaduna. It called for sustained and coordinated campaigns to remove the Igbo population from the northern region.
"The human rights experts noted that some local and national figures, as well as some media representatives, had publicly denounced any form of hate speech and incitement, but said other officials still needed to follow suit.
“We are deeply concerned that some prominent local leaders and elders have not condemned the ultimatum, hate speech and the perpetrators,” the experts stressed.
“We call on the Government, media and civil society representatives, and local and religious leaders, to reject and condemn hate speech and incitement to violence unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms.”
"The UN experts said any incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence had to be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted and punished. “This includes the people behind the ultimatum and those responsible for the creation, publication and circulation of the hate song and audio message,” they added.
NAIJ.com had reported that the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups (CNYG) had withdrawn the “quit notice” issued Nigerians of the Igbo extraction to leave the 19 Northern states by October 1.
The CNYG’s decision to withdraw the quit notice followed series of meetings with numerous stakeholders, TVC has reported.
Watch IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu speak on the activities of the group on NAIJ.com TV: