THE Ohanaeze Ndigbo has condemned the alleged killing of South-East youths by security agents.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction the Chief of Army Staff Faruk Yahaya and Police Commissioners in the South-East over the alleged killings.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, April 4, by the National Publicity Secretary, Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze said the killings are unjustified.
According to the group, those killed were Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members who were peacefully protesting Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s detention in defiance of court rulings and pronouncements by the United Nations Committee on Arbitrary Detention.
Ohanaeze condemned the killing of unarmed Igbo youths by soldiers and policemen in the South-East in a quest to put an end to agitation for Biafra.
“The attention of the Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the remarks made by the Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Army, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, with the heading: ‘Don’t threaten Nigeria’s integrity – COAS warns IPOB, ESN’.
“Yahaya is quoted to have warned that ‘the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Eastern Security Network, ESN, or any other group or individuals have no constitutional backing to threaten Nigeria’s integrity.
“Yahaya emphasised that ‘elections or no elections, neither IPOB, ESN nor any other group or individuals should threaten the integrity of this nation as enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria. Yahaya issued the warning at an Army event in Abuja on Monday, April 3, 2023.
“On Friday, March 31, 2023, five members of the IPOB were shot dead in Osusu, Aba, Abia State, while they were on a procession.
“Confirming the incident, the Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr Mustapha Mohammed Bala, a Katsina-born well-educated police officer, claimed that “On 31/03/2023 at about 11:45hours, policemen on confidence building patrol/show of force within Aba metropolis came under attack by the proscribed IPOB/ESN members. They were armed with petrol bombs, machetes, battle axes and other dangerous weapons. Bala added that “the attack was repelled by the Police operatives with minimal casualties while the majority of the hoodlums scampered for safety.”
Ohanaeze claimed that its investigations showed that certain locals, armed with video proof, had reported that the group had been peacefully protesting against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s detention before they were fired at.
The group criticised the Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Mohammed Bala, for calling the IPOB men “hoodlums” and considering the deaths of five IPOB members “minor casualties.”
Ohanaeze observed that the quest for peace, progress and development in Nigeria will only be achievable with justice and equity.
“Nigeria, at the moment, is at a critical juncture with two significant options: truth and progress on one hand or falsity and backwardness, poverty and political travails on the other,” it noted.
Attempts by The ICIR to speak to the Abia State Command Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna, were unsuccessful as he did not pick up his call nor respond to messages sent to his phone.