These are certainly not the best of times for Northern indigenes, residing in Anambra State, under the aegis of Arewa Renaissance. The northern traders are unhappy with the state’s government plans to eject them from the bridge head in the state, where they used to sell and make their livelihood. They have described this plan as unfair, inhuman and straining their relationship with Igbos in the State.
According to their Chairman, Habib Mohammed Farouk, “We are asking His Excellency, Governor Peter Obi to be lenient with us. Let him do to us like other Igbo States do to our brothers.”
Farouk said he wanted Obi to see Hausas in Anabra as his own brothers. “We are Nigerians too, we didn’t just come to Anabram. My father was born here! My father migrated to this place, there are many of us that their great-grand-fathers migrated also to this land. I am married to an Igbo woman. I am in my place, many of us are married to Igbo women,” said Farouk.
He added that he did not see why he and his fellow Hausas should be harassed just because they happened to come from the northern parts of the country.
He repeated: “ I have lived all my life here. I still believe this place is Nigeria. Go to Niger State, that is where Zik was born, in Zungera. Ojukwu was born in Zungeru. Igbos are indigenes there. Their Children enjoy scholarship in schools. All enjoy the privileges, whether they be Igbo or Yoruba! That is where I come from. No sectarianism.
“This issue had been discussed between his Excellency, the Governor of the State and His Eminence, the Sultan, when Sultan came here to intervene on this issue. The Governor promised the Sultan that he was going to relocate us to a proper place.
The Governor also promised him that he would build the place for us and the Sultan had replied, ‘when you build that place, call me and I will then talk to my people and we will relocate them.’”
Since that supposedly fruitful deliberation between the Governor and the Sultan, the traders had lived in hope, waiting for the new place to completed and for them to move.
But that hope had become a stillborn, since the Anambra State government appeared ready and set to renege on its promises.
In Farouk words:“Since then, nothing had been done, rather, we’ve been getting these incessant harassments, pressure and intimidation from Government agents and even from miscreants.
“We’ve been very consistence. If they want us to leave here, if they want to make use of this place, they should relocate us to a proper place as it is done elsewhere.
“When Kano State Government wanted to relocate the Igbo transporters in Kano, who were parking on the streets, causing obstruction, he built a big parking lot for them, where they are now parking today.
“At a time the Government said that it will relocate us to Umunya but we told Government that the place was not proper for human habitation.
“His Eminence was properly informed that the place is a land in dispute among Umunya, Ogbunike and Nkwelle-Ezunaka. That was the place they had earlier wanted to put us,. The Sultan said no, that they should not put his people in such an unsettled place. The Sultan insisted that they should relocate us to a place that is peace, settled and not under dispute. A place where we can develop. A place that has water and where we can have our mosque.
“State Government should see us as one and part of them because the history of Northerners in Anambra State dates back to 1803.”