- Buhari mourns, promises to punish killers, as Northern youths kick
- Northern youths declare Gov. Uzodimma enemy of the North
…Anxiety in South East over IPOB’s sit-at -home order
…IPOB not responsible for insecurity in South east – Nwodo
By Ezeocha Nzeh, Mike Uzendu (Abuja), Everest Ezihe (Owerri), Maurice Okafor (Enugu)
Amidst anxiety and fear in Owerri, the Imo state capital and other adjourning cities in the state, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said that the organization did not play any part in the death of Ahmed Gulak, who was murdered in the city on Sunday.
Ahmed Gulak, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was reportedly assassinated by yet to be identified gun men on his way to the Imo state airport.
A press statement signed by IPOB Media and publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, and made available to the AUTHORITY said allegations on IPOB by security agencies to the effect are totally false.
IPOB stated that it has no cause to attack the former presidential aide, since he was not of any threat to the group and its agitations, adding that the group have never seen him as its enemy since they have nothing in common
“The attention of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been drawn to the untenable allegation by the security agencies that IPOB was responsible for the assassination of former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak on his way to Sam Mbakwe Airport Owerri Imo State.
“We therefore state without equivocations that IPOB knows nothing about the said assassination. In the first place, what threat did the late Gulak constitute to our cause to warrant his elimination? We had nothing in common with him and could not have in any way killed him”.
“Pointing accusing fingers at IPOB for this barbaric act is only meant to divert attention away from the real masterminds. This is the same way terrorists in security uniform commit various atrocities in South East and turn around to blame IPOB for their crimes just to tarnish our global reputation. This is purely a smokescreen to justify their long awaited plan to declare another special military operation in the Eastern region to kill more innocent Biafrans”.
IPOB tasked the security agencies to properly investigate the incident and the factors that led to his dead, stating that IPOB do not have the itinerary of the late Gulak to have waylaid him at the airport.
The group urged security agencies to spread their investigation to his host, Governor Hope Uzodinma as well as his political adversaries.
IPOB stated further, “This is akin to the allegation by the Lagos Commissioner of Police, who raised false alarm recently that IPOB and ESN were planning to attack Lagos State. This was to conceal the plans by the terrorists patronising Nigeria government to use their imported terrorists to bomb soft targets in the City of Lagos and blame it on IPOB. But thank God some discerning minds understood their antics and did not fall for their cheap propaganda.
“We are not surprised that they quickly pointed accusing fingers at us just as they have always looked for every opportunity to incriminate us to frustrate our struggle for Biafra restoration. But this too will not fly because the world is aware that IPOB is a peaceful movement. IPOB is not a terrorist organization and does not spill blood”
“Had the late Chief of Army Staff Attahiru’s plane crashed in the East, definitely, the so-called Intelligence Agency would have said it was IPOB that shot down the plane and everyone in Fulani controlled Sharia core North would believe it. For us, linking IPOB with the assassination of Gulak is simply to pitch the East against the core Islamic North as a cover and justification for another round of pogrom against Easterners living in the North”.
“We are only after the restoration of Biafra. Assassination of politicians is not part of our agenda otherwise, we would have killed the “Efulefu” politicians in the Eastern region for sabotaging our struggle,” IPOB stated
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, said his administration would ensure that those who killed the All Progressives Congress, (APC) chieftain are brought to justice.
President Buhari in a statement issued by his media aide, Garba Shehu expressed outrage, sadness over Gulak’s murder
Shehu, who quoted the President as describing the killing a premeditated, said the President expressed outrage and disgust over what he termed “the heinous murder of the Adamawa State-born politician, in Owerri, Imo State by yet-to-be-identified gunmen.”
The statement quoted him as saying, “I’m repulsed by such premeditated and gruesome murder of Gulak by evil people who are determined to undermine the peace, unity and territorial integrity of our country.
“Let me warn however that nobody or group of people who engages in such despicable acts should expect to go free.
“We will deploy all resources at our disposal to ensure that such callous and criminal elements are brought to justice.”
The President extended his condolences to the family of the deceased, the people and government of Adamawa State as well as Gulak’s friends and associates.
Northern youths declare Gov. Uzodimma enemy of the North
Reacting to the gruesome murder of former presidential adviser, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, Arewa youths under the auspices of the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria, on Sunday, said they would declare the governor of Imo, Senator Hope Uzodinma, an enemy of the zone if he fails to produce those behind the killing
The group said they will declare the Imo state governor persona non grata in the North, if he fails, after two weeks, to produce those who perpetrated the dastardly act.
The council in a statement by its national president, Isa Abubakar-Sadiq, also lamented the spate of wanton killings and destruction of public properties in the southeast geopolitical zone, and charged the federal government to fulfil its constitutional duty of providing security for all.
The statement reads in part, “The Imo State Governor must bring the killers of Ahmad Gulak to Justice or we declare him non grata in the entire Northern soil.
“The government of Imo state must give an account of those who killed Gulak. The continued killing of Northerners and destruction of security facilities in the State will no longer be tolerated.”
Fear, anxiety reign in the South east as residents’ desert streets over IPOB’s sit at home order
Socio-economic activities have remained sat standstill in the major towns of the South east, as well as parts of Delta and Rivers states following the stay – at home declaration by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) on Sunday and Monday (Today) to commemorate what it described as Biafra day and recognition of the citizens from the zone who were killed during the Nigeria civil war of 1967 to 1970
The towns, cities and communities within the three senatorial areas that constitutes Imo state since last Saturday till date is nothing but a ghost town as checks by The AUTHORITY have revealed that people have deserted the streets and all commercial activities closed as fear, anxiety and suspense grip the people despite staying indoors in compliance with the directives from the proscribed Leadership of IPOB
As a signal to justify most likely compliance of this year’s Sit at home order, last Friday in Owerri, Imo State capital and its environ there was a noticeable beehive of economic activities as people were seen buying food stuffs in a situation likened to panic buying.
Our correspondent who visited the Relief, Ekeukwu Owerri and other rural markets in the state, residents were seen indulged in panic buying and sales.
Also, major roads and streets in Owerri, Imo State capital, Orlu and Okigwe senatorial areas were deserted as economic activities came to a halt in the cities. All proposed ceremonies like burial, marriages, meetings etc for last weekend endowed the air waves with commercial indefinite postponement given the security situation as an excuse.
Even motorists both private and commercial kept away from major roads such as Wethedral, Okigwe, Tetlow roads, Government House axis, while stalls were under lock and key at Ekeukwu market, Relief Market, New Market, and Naze Timber market among others. The usual teenagers, playing on the streets and the usual men gathering in front of houses discussing were not even seen, even as joints were completely closed and deserted by.
Some residents, who spoke to our correspondent, agreed that if the situation persists for more days, it will completely ground the fragile economy of the State as socioeconomic activities are already strangulated.
Major business outlets in the State capital were also under lock and key while banks, hotels, eateries and churches where guarded by seeming armed and less un uniformed security personnel.
IPOB not responsible for insecurity in the S/East – Nwodo
Former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, has doubted claims that members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are responsible for the heightening insecurity in the country.
Nwodo also said the surest way to bring about accelerated development in the country is to allow an Igbo man become the next president of the country.
The former governor of Enugu State while speaking on Arise Interview at the weekend, also disputed claims that political opponents of governors in the South-East were sponsoring the killings, burning of police stations and jail breaks in the zone.
Nwodo while speaking against the recent police action in the zone, urged them to “be professional”, stressing that “if the police are not professional in the discharge of their duties, it can only escalate the situation.”
He stated that what is happening in the zone resulted from “lack of confidence in the police”, adding that “if you use crackdown and gun down innocent citizens, it will only escalate the situation.”
He added: “The best way to restore peace in the South-East is through constructive engagement with the people. We should ask: ‘what are the grievances of the IPOB that they want to leave Nigeria?’
“Many of us, the elders, believe in one Nigeria. But, I think there should be dialogue by the federal government and the IPOB to convince them on why they should remain in Nigeria, because I think it is something to look forward to.
“If people want to leave Nigeria for Biafra, it has to be through dialogue and through plebiscite so that people will freely express their views. There is need to engage the IPOB so we can understand what they want and then we address it.
“If we do so, we shall have lasting peace instead of unleashing the armaments of the police or the Nigerian Army on innocent youths, most of who may not even understand the philosophy of the IPOB”.
The former PDP boss state that although there are good reasons Ndigbo would want to secede from Nigeria, he however said that such can be resolved by ending the marginalization against Ndigbo.
According to him, “more than 60 years after the civil war, there has been more of marginalisation of the people of the South-East, more of deprivation by the federal government of Nigeria, deliberate exclusion of the South-East from certain positions in Nigeria, and the climax with the leadership we have in the country at the moment.
“Before now, the demand for Biafra had completely disappeared, but right now, there is a resurgence of that demand by young people who cannot find jobs and who believe they are not being treated as equal partners by the Nigerian government; appointments are made in strategic agencies to totally exclude people from the South-East, especially in the security agencies.
“There is great loss of confidence and apparent exclusion of people of the zone in government affairs which has agitated them to begin once again the agitation for Biafra.
“But like I said, the leadership in the South-East do not believe that violent agitation is the way to go about it and we have to a large extent, restrained these young people from violence and they have consistently denied that they are not the ones burning down police stations.
“And we know that some of those unknown gunmen that have been apprehended are not from the South-East”.