A Coalition of Civil Society groups, Govindex Leadership Empowerment and Leadership Foundation, has dragged former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, Lagos Garages Manager Musliu Akinsanyo a.k.a MC Olumo, former Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga, and two others before the Department of State Services (DSS), for alleged hate speech and conspiracy to incite hatred and instigate ethnic cleansing against Ndigbo.
The two others dragged before the Secret Police are social media influencer Reno Omokri and Sam Omatseye, who is currently the Chairman, Editorial Board of The Nation Newspaper.
The petition, which was copied to the Embassies of the United States of America and Canada in Abuja, was submitted at the DSS National Headquarters on Monday, April 3, 2023.
Govindex in the petition asked the DSS to invite Fani-Kayode, Omokri, Onanuga, MC Oluomo and Omatseye for questioning and investigation without delay, and thereafter, promptly prosecute them if found culpable, in line with the laws of Nigeria.
In the petition written on its behalf by Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN & Co and addressed to the Director General of the DSS, Govindex drew the attention to the unlawful, unfortunate and criminal activities of some individuals in propagating ethnic hatred and violence amongst Nigerians.
The group explained that the individuals involved had persistently engaged in intentional communications to cause ethnic conflict and incite violence in Nigeria, particularly, against the Igbo people and the supporters of Mr. Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (otherwise known as) Obidients.
The petition partly reads: “MUSILIU AKINSANYA (AKA) MC Oluomo was seen in a video which went viral on the social media, warning Nigerians who did not intend to vote for All Progressives Party (APC) in the just concluded presidential election, to stay away and not attend their polling unit on the election day. In the viral video, MC Oluomo was seen saying: “We have begged them. If they don’t want to vote for us, it is not a fight. Tell them, Mama Chukwudi, if you don’t want to vote for us, sit down at home.
“In a similar video and inspired by the likes of MC Oluomo and MR FEMI FANI-KAYODE, a group of APC supporters were seen on the streets of Lagos warnings Nigerians not to attend their polling units if they did not intend to vote for APC. In another video, Igbo people were prevented from exercising their franchise in a particular polling unit in Lagos, while some Nigerians reported on Twitter and Facebook that they were disenfranchised, attacked and prevented from voting in Lagos because they looked like Igbo.
“MR. FEMI FANI-KAYODE, through his daily online publications and public speech has consistently propagated hate and incitement to violence against the Igbo people and supporters of Mr. Peter Obi in a manner that is brazen and greatly undermines the peace and unity of Nigeria. Mr Fani Kayode has publicly called on the South West to defend the Yoruba land against the Igbos whom he frequently refers to as invaders or strangers and must be crushed. One of the inciteful statements made by Mr. Fani Kayode was the one he uploaded on his Twitter account on the 20th day of March 2023 in which he published the following words:
“The truth is that the Ibo in Lagos are no longer welcome by the people of Lagos. And unless they change their attitude quickly and drastically it may well be better for them to go home…We must endeavour to ensure that history does not repeat itself again, that this terrible cycle of our Ibo brothers repaying our good with ingratitude and subterfuge stops and that they never have the temerity and effrontery to claim that Lagos, or indeed any other part of Yorubaland, is theirs again”
“On the other hand, MR. RENO OMOKRI has consistently used his Twitter handle and Facebook page to incite Nigerians and create ethnic wars between the Igbo and other ethnic groups. He does this by criminally extrapolating and twisting innocent statements to create ethnic and religious incitement amongst Nigerians with the Igbo people being his target of abuse. On many occasions, Mr Omokri made publications that were capable of causing religious war between the Muslim North and the Christian in the South East, and has gone as far as translating statements made by Nigerians of Igbo extraction into Hausa language after he had manipulated the message conveyed in the statement to suit his dangerous quest to stoke ethnic conflict in Nigeria. Through his daily publications of animosity and disparagement of Obidients and the Igbo people, Mr Omokri shamelessly indulged in the hate and vilification of Igbos. One of those publications was the one he made on his Twitter account on the 19th day of March 2023 in which he said the following:
“Don’t stay in Lagos, and benefit from the leadership, infrastructure and economy Lagosians built over time, yet carry resentment towards them. You threaten violence and de-market Lagos on social media. You have options. Behave or relocate!”
“His ethnic and religious incitement have put the lives of Igbos and Mr. Peter Obi’s supporters at the risk of harm. Nigerians should not be discriminated or hated by reason of their ethnicity or by reason of their political association. We are aware that Mr Omokri lives in the United Kingdom, as such, we demand that his invitation for questioning be submitted to Homeland Security, United Kingdom and subsequently, a warrant of arrest be issued against him.
“MR. SAM OMATSEYE’s hate speech against the Igbo and Obidients are well documented in his publication titled, “Obi-tuary” published in The Nation newspaper in August 2022. Mr Omatseye’s publication was an incitement to violence against the Igbo and the supporters of Mr Peter Obi. Also, on his Twitter account he posted the following inciteful comment on the 20th of March 2023:
“The Igbo youths see the LP man’s project as their own and make the Yoruba youth believe it is for everyone. And the Yoruba youth fall for the cause. That is the curse. We ask that Mr Omatseye be investigated and prosecuted for ethnic incitement and criminal defamation with intent to cause tribal wars.
“Recently, MR. BAYO ONANUGA published a hate speech against the Igbo people on his Twitter handle. He defiantly stated that he owed no one apologies for his ethnic slurs against the Igbo. These are contained in his words which he uploaded on his Twitter account on the 18th day of March 2023 in which he said the following:
“Let 2023 be the last time of Igbo interference in Lagos politics. Let there be no repeat in 2027. Lagos is like Anambra, Imo, any Nigerian state. It is not No Man’s Land, not Federal Capital Territory. It is Yoruba land. Mind your business”.
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