The Igbo National Council (INC) has reacted to allegation by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) that demolition of forest and shanties inhabited by criminals in the state is targeted at the northerners.
A statement by the President of INC, Chilos Godsent, described the utterance by CNG as a deliberate propaganda targeted to furiously blackmail the government of Imo State.
Godsent who cautioned the northern group against making such inciting comments clarified that statistics it gave over the number of shanties demolished and the number of people displaced was over inflated and full of lies.
While supporting the action of the state government, Godsent maintained that it was a step taken to curb insecurity in the state as most of the forest and shanties demolished he said were hideout for criminals.
“The INC wish to clearly State that the forests and Shanties demolished in various dangerous locations in Owerri Suburban by the Imo State Government Taskforce on illegal structures in the aforementioned Press Statement of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) are forests illegally inhabited by criminals.
“Where they have recently illegally erected shanties and used same locations for criminal activities ranging from Illicit drugs trading, kidnapping, armed robberies, prostitution, child trafficking, etc.”
He dismissed allegation that only northerners were targeted in the exercise.
“We wish to also inform the misinformed leadership of the CNG that the said forests and shanties demolished by government of Imo State were inhabited by citizens cutting across every state, ethnic group and tribes of Nigeria including Igbo people from even Imo State and the northerners have lesser population in the aforementioned locations.
“The INC, therefore, warn the CNG to stop fanning ethnic sentiment by negatively inciting Nigerians using lies, blackmails and unverified malicious propaganda. We, therefore, advice CNG to learn how to properly investigate issues of this nature before going to press.
“If the said forests and shanties demolished by the state government were a genuine and legal residential properties we know that the CNG and evicted inhabitants would have approached the court to get legal redress.”
The INC has gave the northern group a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw the allegation and apologise to the Imo State government and Nigerians on their utterance.