From Steve Oko, Umuahia
The youths wing of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has urged South East Governors to urgently intervene in the mounting tension over the burial of the late parents of the Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra IPOB, slated for Friday, February 14.
Ohanaeze Youths Council said the Governors’ intervention had become imperative to stave off avoidable crisis following the altercation between the security agencies particularly the Police and IPOB as well as Kanu’s family.
OYC in a press statement by its National President, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, expressed concern over the mounting tension being generated by the row.
The Igbo youths body accused South East Governors of keeping “deafening silence” over the rising tension
OYC further expressed worry that the row could degenerate into another mass killing of unarmed Igbo youths by security personnel if not quelled.
The statement read in part : “We want governors of Igbo extraction not to remain silent in the face of growing threats and looming genocide against Igbo youths planning to attend Nnamdi Kanu’s parents’ burial”.
OYC condemned the insistence of the Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr Ene Okon that his men would be present at the event.
The statement also frowned at the reported military patrol of the community ahead of the burial, describing it as provocative.
OYC, therefore, urged Igbo Governors “to speak out in condemnation to the threat by CP Okon to deal ruthlessly with Igbo youths/IPOB members if they dare attend the burial of the Afaraukwu monarch.”
According to the statement “the deafening silence of the governors only amounts to their willful consent to the outbursts of the police commissioner.”
OYC recalled that “from 14 to 17 September 2017, Umuahia and the Afaraukwu community turned into a war zone where over 200 Igbo youths were killed during the infamous Operation Python Dance”.
The statement further read : “The South East and South-South governors claimed they were unaware of the military operation but today I am making it known to them that Mr. Ene Okon has stated in an interview on a national daily that his men will launch operation Elephant Dance on the burial date.”
OYC declared that “if anything untoward happens to anybody at Nnamdi Kanu’s parents’ burial, we will hold all governors in Southeastern Nigeria responsible.”
“The South East Governors Forum should swing into action to stop the Nigerian Police and Army from unleashing genocide against Ndigbo on 14th February”, the statement added.
OYC called upon the international community to keep watch over the unfolding scenario in Umuahia and the Afaraukwu community as the burial date approaches.
But the police boss had earlier in a press release denied constituting any “threat ” to the burial.
Okon in the statement said police’s presence at the event would be to provide security for mourners and not to cause any havoc contrary to speculations.
Police however warned that anybody with any IPOB insignia at the burial would be dealt with.