Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned a song he said wished the people of Igbo ethnic group dead, warning that the country should not be allowed to slide into genocide like Rwanda.
Mr. Atiku said the song currently circulating in some parts of Nigeria could trigger a major crisis as happened in Rwanda.
Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed in an inter-ethnic conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis, two major groups in the East African country in 1994, following the death of that country’s president in a plane crash.
In a statement released by his media office, which he personally signed and titled, “Nigeria Does Not Need a Rwandan Deja vu”, Mr. Atiku urged all Nigerians to condemn what he said was “reminiscent of the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide.”
The former president called on the security agencies to fish out and bring to trial those responsible for the song. He did not give further details of the song he was referring to.
“It has come to my attention that a song disparaging people of Igbo origin, and which wishes them dead, is circulating in some parts of the nation. I totally and unequivocally condemn this development, and I call on all men of goodwill to rise up against this evil,” Mr. Atiku said.
“This song is reminiscent of the beginnings of the Rwanda Genocide. Nigerians need to be aware that the Rwanda Genocide was believed to have been ignited by a song titled Nanga Abahutu (I hate Hutus), sung by Rwanda’s then most popular musician, Simon Bikindi. God forbid that we should have such a déjà vu in Nigeria.
“I call on the security agencies to thoroughly and decisively swing into action and apprehend, try, convict and severely punish those behind this ungodly song which incites racial hatred.
“Simon Bikindi was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for igniting and aiding the Rwandan genocide. Thus, let those who think they can treat their fellow citizens so unjustly know that within and outside Nigeria exist mechanisms that will ensure they answer to their crimes.
“I call on all men of goodwill to remember those immortal lines from our former National Anthem “though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand”.
“The effects of hate in any shape or form were made even more evident over the weekend, in a mass shooting incident that left many of us reeling with shock.
“I commiserate with the people of Ozubulu in Anambra State, who lost family members in the fatal shooting that also left almost a score injured. I pray that peace will return to their minds and their community soon, even as the police work hard to get to the bottom of the matter. May God comfort them as no man can.
“The difference between us as Nigerians is not a difference in our tribe or our religion. It was and remains a difference based on whether we are good Nigerians or bad Nigerians, and I am very certain that the good Nigerians far outnumber the very few bad ones.”