Weekly Trust: Who really is behind the proposed registration of all Northern traders operating in Imo State?
Alhaji Abdulahi Dikko Ajara: Let me tell you that this good idea was the brain child of those of us who are Northern leaders and this was conceived after a meeting that was attended by all of us. The idea was muted in order to protect our brothers who are operating in Imo State.
After careful consideration, we decided that given the current insecurity situation in the country, especially with the activities of Boko Haram, every northern trader must be identified and known with the type of trade he/she deals in and where the base. There should be ID Cards that would be issued to everyone at the end of the exercise, which must be endorsed by the Sharakin Hausawa, Alhaji Baba Saidu Suleman.
WT: What do you think that really informed this idea?
Abdullahi: It is because of the way our country is today. Again we resolved to do it in order to protect our own people from embarrassment and abuse. Because nowadays anywhere people see a Hausa man, they would tag him a Boko Haram man. It was after we agreed on this issue that we informed the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor of Imo State on Northern Affairs Hon. Faisal Lawal, who saw the idea as a good way of checking insecurity in the state. I must not fail to tell you the present Governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha has been relating very well with Northerners in the state. I tell you this because since 1979 I have lived in the state, I have not seen a governor who have not only related closely with our people but shown so much respect.
WT:How do you see the opposition to this planned registration of Northerners in Imo?
Abdullahi: Yes there are people kicking against this idea and I want to tell you that they are those not in the same political parties with the
Governor. The members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) want to cash in on the lofty idea to discredit the government of Rochas Okorocha and his records of achievements, which have virtually surpassed those of previous governments in the state.
WT: What happens to those who refused to be part of the registration?
Abdullahi: Well, that would be unfortunate. Nobody would tell me about Owerri and Imo State now. I have lived here for quite a number of years. I was here when Olusegun Obasanjo handed over to Alhaji Shehu Shagari during the Second Republic. I have received many tittles from across the state. So what we are doing has no evil intention, it’s all about knowing who is who.
WT: Do you have confidence in you leaders especially in the handling of the registration and issuance of ID cards?
Abdullahi: Yes I think our people living in Imo have immeasurable confidence in those of us that are leaders. The reason is that no Northern leader including the Sarakin Hausawa can afford to engage in evil things against his fellow Northerner. Do you know that many of the leaders today do not know any other place except Imo State because they have lived here for many years? Somebody like the Sarakin Hausawa does not know his state except Owerri and for that reason; no leader can afford to destroy the state.
WT: What makes you so sure that this measure would check insecurity in the state?
I strongly believe it will add value in checking excesses of some people and stop the embarrassment our people face every day in Imo State. Anybody who refuses to take the ID cards should stay away from us. Remember the state is not forcing anybody to pay neither are they collecting any money from any northerner, in fact it is not their project, rather our thinking with the hope that this can assist in no small measure in encouraging peaceful coexistence between us and the people of the state. In case you may not aware, in Enugu State registration of northerners is currently going on and the state government is collecting money from our brothers there for the exercise.