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Post-Boko Haram attacks, Igbo quit Kano in droves

A day after the January 20 bomb attacks on the metropolis, luxury bus parks became jam-packed with Igbo residents purchasing tickets to leave the state.…

A day after the January 20 bomb attacks on the metropolis, luxury bus parks became jam-packed with Igbo residents purchasing tickets to leave the state. At the famous New Road Motor Park in Sabon Gari area of Kano, long queues of prospective travelers of Igbo extraction were seen. All the buses leaving the park had no vacant seats, an unusual development at the park at this time of the year. Some residents leaving say they will never return, while others with unfinished businesses say they will be back when the security situation improves.

When Weekly Trust visited the motor parks along New Road, majority of the passengers aboard the South-East-bound buses were women and children. The travelers said while they regret leaving the city unprepared, they were being compelled to do so. Some argued that security agencies could no longer afford to secure themselves and could not be trusted to provide security for others. Those who spoke cast doubt over the pledge by President Goodluck Jonathan during his visit to the state to condole with victims. “It has happened in many other Northern states, what did Goodluck do? I know that our governor has promised us security, but life has no duplicate, so prevention is better than cure.Tthat is why am leaving for now,” Henry Nwoko said.

A ticket vendor at the motor park said they are witnessing huge traffic of people leaving. “It is true that we have more passengers than we should have at this time leaving Kano. Previously, after Christmas and New Year celebrations we have more people travelling from the East to Kano, but this time it is the reverse.”

Weekly Trust checks showed that prices of tickets have been hiked by over 50 percent. “The reason we increased the price is because not all buses come to Kano, so those of us who send buses to Kano send them empty, so to make up for the diesel and other expenses for coming empty, we have to raise the price,” a park attendant explained.

Speaking earlier on this development, the Eze Ndi’Igbo Kano, Igwe Boniface Ibekwe, had denied there was any instruction from his palace directing Igbo in Kano to leave the state for security reasons. “We did not ask anybody to leave and are working hard to address the challenges and douse tension. We will soon issue a statement to that effect,” Igwe Ibekwe said, adding that they are yet to arrive at the casualty figure recorded by the Igbo during the attacks on Kano

The Kano State chapter of the Pan Igbo group, Ohaneze Ndi’Igbo told Weekly Trust that over 3 million Igbo reside in the state. Chief Tobias Idika, chairman of the group, said: “Our people are leaving and they will continue to leave. We have informed our South-East governors and they are not responding to our demand for them to evacuate our people from Kano. But our people will continue to leave.”

Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, who visited Kano in the aftermath of the incident, said that he was perturbed by phone calls and text messages sent to the East that Igbo indigenes living in Kano were massacred during the series of bomb blasts that rocked the state and he described the development as false and baseless. Rochas noted that he has directed his people to stop leaving the state, noting that Governor Kwankwaso is doing all he could to ensure the safety of all, including non-indigenes. “Igbos are never a threat to anybody because what concerns an Igboman is his business,” Rochas said.

Christians in Kano under the aegis of the Christian Association of (CAN) observed a one-day prayer session for peace and to commiserate with relations of victims of the multiple bomb explosions. Kano CAN urged not just Igbo other but non-indigenes to not flee from the state, disclosing that the body has received messages of solidarity from Muslim leaders in the state. Weekly Trust checks revealed that churches where Igbo worshippers observed their activities recorded a low turnout, most of their shops located in Kofar Ruwa Spare Parts Market and the area called France were shut down.

Back at one of the parks, a man called Francis Mbanefo was accompanied by his family and he told Weekly Trust that he is sending his wife and kids home to the East because he cannot leave his business behind. “If security improves, I will bring them back. If not, I will also plan how to go and join them.”