From Steve Oko, Umuahia
The youth wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has asked the Nigerian security agencies to “reserve their bullets for terrorists and not for defenceless people.”
Ohanaeze Youths Council, OYC, was responding to a statement credited to the Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr. Ene Okon.
The CP was quoted to have said that should members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB venture to show up at the burial of the parents of its Leader Nnamdi Kanu, the police would disrupt the event.
CP Okon was also quoted to have threatened to launch another operation “Elephant Dance” should IPOB members refuse to heed to his warnings.
A statement by OYC National President Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, chided the police boss over the comment which he said is “provocative.”
According to OYC, it is gross injustice for the Nigerian security operatives to direct their force against unarmed peaceful agitators while terrorists killing and maiming people in Northern region go without any arrest.
OYC said any attack on innocent and defenceless mourners at the burial of Kanu’s parents slated for Friday, February 14, would be considered a declaration of war on Ndigbo.
“Any move to disrupt the burial or launch Operation Elephant Dance by the Nigeria Police Force would be solely viewed as an act of conventional war against Ndigbo, and we must resist it with anything within our reach,” OYC said in the statement.
Ohanaeze youths therefore, urged the federal government to immediately pull out soldiers and other security personnel parading the Afaraukwu country home of Kanu.
The statement further reads: “OYC is reiterating that President Buhari should, as a matter of necessity, withdraw all the military troops and police personnel hovering around and over the Afaraukwu community to enable the bereaved bury their dead and accord their last respect to the late King and Queen.
“This is the least they could do as we do not see any need for provocative actions or statements promoting violence or tragedy at this time.
“It is unfortunate that the Nigerian police when asked to join the army to fight Boko Haram by the FG chickened out and protested that they are not trained to fight the armed terrorist group but they are spoiling for a war, a showdown to kill defenceless and unarmed youths at Afaraukwu, Umuahia.”
OYC asked the police “to launch their Elephant Dance at Borno, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Gombe and other northern states where sleeping at nights has since become a nightmare as a result of activities of terrorists, including bandits and kidnappers.”
OYC also called on Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu to rise to his responsibility as the chief security officer of the state to stop the massive killing of innocent Igbo youths during and after the burial.
It added : “That at a time Nigeria should be working towards redeeming its battered image vis-a-vis human rights abuses before the international communities, they are busy condescending a bit lower, losing sleep on trivialities.
“We are, therefore, compelled to ask: How much lower can Nigeria go from here?
“Ndigbo would no longer watch with hands akimbo while the Nigerian security forces decimate defenseless youths, we would not go back to the villainous methods of the past and Nigeria will not find it easy if they release a single bullet or waste any Igbo blood in the name or Operation Elephant Dance or Python Dance. Bullets are reserved for terrorists and criminals not for defenceless people.
“If Ndigbo would endure systemic marginalization, they would not and cannot endure killings of its defenceless brothers and sisters.
“The wounds of the civil war are ripe with all these actions coming from the government and its agencies, reminding us that Ndigbo are not part of Nigeria. Caution should be taken, lest we fall.”