Anybody guilty of ethnic profiling should be prosecuted — Obafemi Hamzat
Obafemi Hamzat, the deputy governor of Lagos State and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, has insisted that all individuals found to be guilty of ethnic profiling during the events leading up to, during, and after the 2023 general elections should be made to face the wrath of the law.
Hamzat made his position known in a matter that has unfortunately created division among people of different ethnicities cohabiting in a cosmopolitan place like Lagos.
He was answering questions about his position and what the state government thought about such an unpatriotic event during his appearance on Tuesday’s Channels Television Sunrise Daily show.
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He expressed disappointment about the ethnic tension that heated up Lagos State during the elections and demanded that anybody, regardless of their ethnic affiliation, found guilty of ethnic profiling and threats should be arrested and prosecuted.
“Like I said, if anybody has committed any crime, let them be prosecuted because that is the reality,” he said.
He made reference to the diversity that exists in Lagos, as many of his friends who aren’t Yorubas voted for the APC.
“Look, I was a commissioner for works in Lagos State; I was the commissioner when the road in Ago Palace was repaired; I know how many friends I have there that complained to me—and these are people that vote for us,” he explained.
He added that the idea that the party would go and harass people from other ethnic groups out of fear of voting for the opposition is completely ludicrous.
“So to suggest that our party will go there and disturb people who will vote for us doesn’t make any sense. Well, I think it’s very unfortunate to profile people and say that people should not vote because of how they look; it’s absolute nonsense,” he reemphasized.
He insisted that in a civilised country where the rule of law is above any individual, people who are accused of promoting ethnic tension, especially during the just concluded elections, with substantial evidence should be made to face the wrath of the law.
He also added that often times our ethnic affiliations and locations can drive some of these undemocratic and unpatriotic tendencies, but it bemoans on us as Nigerians to desist from such.
“My point is that as a people—so we are Africans, and because we are Africans, we are regionally based. That’s who we are, and that is why you will hear a South African say, I am not from this part. You will see an Ijaye man say, I am from Ijaye. You will see an Igbo man say, I am from Nnewi.
“And so, because of that, you will have some people who will take this over board. That is why Mr. Nwanyanwu said Yorubas are political rascals, and all Igbos will say that.
“That’s why we went around the state to campaign,” he said, responding to a question about what the ruling party had done to reassure non-indigenes about their safety in the state.
“Like I said, some people take these things overboard, which is terrible. Remember that there are Igbo APC members—so for anybody to go and say that because you are Igbo, you won’t vote, it’s just ridiculous. Anybody that does that should be prosecuted; if it’s a crime, people should be prosecuted, so to assume that somebody is from one ethnic group and he is going to vote one way is just stupid,” he said.