The leader of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State chapter, Solomon Ogbonna, has urged Igbo people to disregard the advice for them to travel back to the South-East so they will be counted in their home states during the forthcoming population census.
The advice came from the Indigenous People of Biafra, which, in a statement on Wednesday, said, “The mass return of our people during this forthcoming population census will help us quantify the population of Biafrans in Nigeria. They have always told the world that we are a dot with an insignificant population. Now is the time to let the world know the population of Biafrans in Nigeria as Biafran agitation is gathering international attention and speed.”
Speaking with our correspondent, Ogbonna said voices urging Igbo people to leave for the South-East during the census were not speaking for the ethnic group.
He said, “I think those who want to travel to the East have no base in Lagos. I can assure you that most of us that have a base in Lagos believe that Lagos is our second home.
“Those who are saying that on social media have a different agenda and are not the voice of Ndigbo. I’m the authentic president of Ndigbo in Lagos State. So, whatever I say is what the whole Igbo residing in Lagos will work according to, with the belief that it is the voice of Ndigbo.
“You can pick anything from social media, anybody can come out tomorrow and tell you that Lagos has turned to Ogun State, but that does not mean that what the person is saying is the truth.”
Ogbonna said regardless of where an Igbo man is counted during the census, his identity and name would always point out his origin, which is the South-East.
Asked if Igbo people should stay and be counted in Lagos, he said, “Yes, I advise them to stay in Lagos, which is the home of everybody but there are owners of the land. When you talk of owners of the land, I do tell my people that no matter what you have achieved in Lagos, you came with nothing and you achieved what you never expected to achieve and got to where you never expected to get. You should obey rules of the land that gave you such achievement. A lot of people in Nigeria sold their father’s property, travelled abroad and came back empty-handed. But a lot of us came with nothing but go home with a lot. So, we should stay here and see it as our second home but not owners of the land.”
Meanwhile, the National Population Census has advised citizens living far away from their state of origin not to travel for the 2023 census which will commence on May 3.