Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo socio-cultural organization has expressed concern over the security situation in the Southeast and some parts of the South-south regions.
In a statement by the Chief Chid Ibeh-led Ohanaeze, it cautioned that Igboland may soon become a theatre of war, warning that such would be dangerous.
The statement was signed by Mr. Chigachi Eke, Media Consultant to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
The statement is coming hours after the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba ordered his men to go after members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, whom he blamed for attacks on Government facilities, an allegation the IPOB had vehemently denied.
Speaking on recent developments, Ibeh urged the governors of the region to disband the proposed formation of Ebubeagu Security outfit.
He said they should instead adopt the IPOB’s ESN to avoid conflict of interests.
The statement read in full:
“High Chief Chidi Ibe, MFR, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, unreservedly condemns the vulnerability of the environments of Ndigbo. We have recently witnessed the height of insecurity in our land by yet unidentified hoodlums who have been ravaging every nooks and crannies.
“We condemn in its entirety the attack on the village house of Imo State Gov. at Omuma in Oru East LGA on Saturday 24th April; wanton killing of Mr Ikonso and six other members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Saturday 24th April; senseless murder of eight law operatives along the Omagwa/Isiokpo/Elele Road, in the Ikwerre LGA of Rivers State on Monday 26th April and cowardly killing of five gallant police officers at the Okigwe South Police Area Command Headquarters in Orieagu, Ehime Mbano, LGA, Imo State, on Monday 26th April.
“The Ohanaeze commiserates with the families of the fallen citizens. While calling for calm, Ohanaeze demands for full investigation into the circumstances leading to these April 2021 tragedies with the hope of exposing and prosecuting the perpetrators.
“In the heat of these bloodlettings, we call on serious minded Igbo leaders and technocrats to intervene. This is not the time to take solace.
“Ndigbo must urgently embrace ESN; the governors should disband the proposed Ebubeagu Security outfit. ESN and Ebubeagu with different objectives can never work together. We must suspend one to enable us know the true source of the violence threatening to pulverise us. We are going to ensure proper and adequate consultation, we must be broad-based in dialogue from the grassroots. The governors may have to support local town unions to establish vigilantes that will compliment the efforts of ESN. Under this arrangement, the Ezes and presidents of town unions would be held accountable for any violation. But our reservations about abroad spectrum arrangement, like the ESN or Ebubeagu, is that you cannot hold anyone accountable.
“Ohanaeze can never support civilians carrying guns, whether the ESN or Ebubeagu. If you give a man gun you can never say what he will do with it. How can you collect back the gun from him, for instance? Do you give a thirsty monkey a cup of water thinking it will willingly return your cup after quenching its thirst? No. You must wrestle with it at tree top to retrieve it. It happened before with the Bakassi Boys: The government said it was fighting armed robbers and armed civilians whose backgrounds were unknown. The Bakassi ended up fighting landlords, tenants, debtors and creditors. Then one day the power-drunk Bakassi locked up thirty Igbos in an air-tight container where they suffocated to death.
“We cannot allow Igboland to be turned to another theatre of war. For thirty months we experienced it in the past without finding it easy. In that short period, we lost over 2.8 million lives. We refused to pass through the long night a second time as we do not have verse landmass for our people to hide in. We don’t have a large space for our people to farm. We are still hated and targeted in Nigeria. It is in our best interests never to do what others are doing. What a northerner did and got away with it will claim the head of any Igbo that attempts it. The IPOB must desist from acts or utterances capable of exposing our people in northern Nigeria, in particular, to sectarian violence. Enough is enough. Ndigbo remain law abiding citizens of this great country called Nigeria. We are also interested and ready to join hands with President Buhari in keeping this country safe.
“High Chief Ibe calls for urgent broad-based peace and security summit for the seven Igbo speaking states of Delta, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia and Rivers. He regrets that Ndigbo are already prisoners of raw violence. If faceless persons can kill and burn down police stations, none can protest for fear of being killed. Ndigbo are scared and confused. Why this violence now that it is the turn of Ndigbo to produce the Nigerian president in 2023?
“The majority of governors putting up Ebubeagu will leave office in two years time. How would they disarm those they armed? And what is your guarantee that the next governors will be sympathetic to Ebubeagu? The way out is for South East governors to support the police, army and Department of State Service, DSS, while Ndigbo work out an acceptable permanent solution in an inclusive peace and security summit that will include Igbo communities in Rivers and Delta States.”
Operation RP: Respect human rights in Igboland – Ohanaeze to police
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has reacted to the Tuesday’s launch of Operation Restore Peace by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba.
In a statement by Ohanaeze Secretary-General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, he said though the peace initiative was a welcome development, it must be without brutality or extra judicial killings.
He said in the statement that, “Nigeria Police Force and all sister agencies should adopt different strategies with human face to achieve desired results. We believe that police must have learnt enough lessons from ENDSARS protests.”
He added, “we expect a different approache to de-escalate the crisis and violence in the Southeast; there should be townhall meetings between police and all stakeholders in the Southeast.
“Killer herdsmen and bandits ravaging the North are now in the Southeast and must be dealt with ruthlessly.
“We are aware of other challenges but definitely attacks on police formations will end in the Southeast when police show remorseful actions through upholding human rights in “Operation Restore Peace”.
ANG had reported that the IGP on Tuesday in Enugu launched the new police operation for the Southeast zone.