The All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-east has asked the Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, to rescind the unconstitutional and undemocratic plan to issue identity cards to northerners in the state.
Also, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Suleiman Kawu Sumaila, has condemned Okorocha’s decision to register all northerners living in the state.
The spokesman of the party in the zone, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said yesterday in a statement that the unity, stability and harmonious relationship among the Nigerian citizens should be paramount and fundamental even as efforts are made to tackle Boko Haram scourge.
"Whereas we condemn the devilish and heinous atrocities of the deranged Boko Haram elements; we are of the candid view that the Boko Haram elements are not playing Northern script, as their agenda is more or less opaque and futile.
He said the South-east APC believes that the only way to crush Boko Haram insurgents is a well equipped army, security agencies, vigilantes and improved welfare of the citizenry that engender hope, trust and confidence."
Meanwhile, Kawu in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja yesterday, said such actions by the was tantamount to making northerners second class citizens in their country.
"These kind of actions are misguided, unfortunate and highly provocative. I strongly condemn it and warn those propagating it to desist from such paths of perdition," the statement read.
Stating that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) guarantees freedom of movement for all citizens no matter their ethnic group, religion or section, Kawu said it is unlawful for any state to attempt to compel other Nigerians to register wherever they may find themselves.
He said such treatment "is a gross infringement of their fundamental human right to liberty and violation of the constitution," appealing to state governments who indicated their resolve to carry out such exercise "to as a matter of urgency and necessity reverse the ill-informed decision in the interest of peace, stability and national unity."
Noting that there are millions of law abiding and enterprising Igbo people with whom the Hausa people are mutual friends, in all parts of the north as well, the lawmaker said "this relationship should not be destroyed at this point in time."
Noting that many southerners have been arrested for acts of armed robberies and kidnappings, Kawu said "there was never a time when any of the northern state governments compelled innocent Igbos to register in their states."
He cautioned that if the southern governors failed to rescind their decisions, "we may not be left with any option than to met out similar treatment to their people living in our states."
He also urged President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the matter by calling "these state governments to order…to protect all Nigerians from being made foreigners in their country."