Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Wednesday, warned the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa to desist from plans to make laws to protect some persons who claim to be indigenes and frustrate Igbos living for decades in the state.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the Igbos in Lagos should not be punished for voting Labour Party's Peter Obi and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour in the 2023 presidential and governorship elections respectively, insisting that every Nigerians has inalienable rights including freedom to vote for any preferred candidate without being victimised on the basis of the choice made.

The group said Section 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria protect the rights of all Nigerians to reside and trade in any part of the country without being witchhunted or victimised.

HURIWA stressed that "the law mulled by Obasa and his fellow travelers in the monopolised All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Assembly is satanic and undemocratic in all ramification.

" Obasa had said the state parliament will pass new property, and business ownership laws in the state to protect indigenes. Obasa stated this in his acceptance speech as a third-term speaker of the Lagos parliament and the inauguration of the 10th Lagos assembly last week Tuesday, " HURIWA said.

The rights group quoted Obasa as saying : "There would be laws…in the areas of economy and commerce, property and titles, and we will reverse all that is reversible to protect the interest of the indigenes."

"Lagos is a Yoruba land as against the assertions of some people that it is a no man's land.

"We also aim at achieving our collective goals of creating a robust legislative framework that protects the interest of our people. Going forward in this wise, we are going to employ all legislative instruments for the support of the indigenes of Lagos," he added.

Reacting, however, HURIWA's Onwubiko said, "Speaker Mudashiru Obasa's comment is so unfortunate and disappointing, not for a lawmaker who has been in the Lagos State House of Assembly for 16 years. His statement to make laws to protect the businesses of Lagos indigenes at the expense of others like Igbos is most condemnable and will be resisted by all lovers of fairness and democracy.

"Section 41 (1) of the constitution stated that every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.

"Obasa must desist from this path of doom and stop his subterranean moves to make any law that derogates from the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all citizens including right to property, freedom of movement and right to freedom from discrimination.

"It is on record that many businesses of Igbo traders were targeted and burnt before, during and after the 2023 elections. Obasa's comment is further confirmation of the suspicion of keen observers.

"Igbo-dominated areas like Amuwo Odofin, Alaba in Ojo Local Government Area amongst others were seriously attacked, with none of the suspected so arrested by the police charged to court or anything known about them.

"Igbo traders have suffered loss of goods worth billions of Naira when their businesses in places like the Olowu spare parts market where shops filled with air-conditioners, vehicles spare parts among others were burnt by suspected arsonists.

"An arson also occurred at Akere Spare Parts Market on Kirikiri Road, Olodi-Apapa in Ajegunle, where a security guard was shot dead in the market populated by Igbo traders.

"The Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu government must begin to govern the state and stop waging imaginary war of political attrition against perceived voters who opted to vote for Labour Party which is legally permissible. Nigeria has suffered enough divisions, killings, violence, mutual suspicions. Now is the time to rebuild the battered nation."


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