The Igbo Elders Council in the FCT has called on President Buhari and the entire international community to intervene in the senseless and incessant killings of the Igbos, especially the youths in the South East.
The group made this known during a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, delivered by its chairman Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
Dr. Ezeife decried the militarization of the region, noting that the widespread bloodletting has precipitated unprecedented fear, thereby heating up the already tensioning level of insecurity in the land.
He said that security agencies now indiscriminately invade private homes, arrest young innocent Igbos and cart them away to unknown destinations for no particular reason. Most of which he said, do not come back, neither are their corpses recovered for burial purposes. Thereby denying them burial as the Igbo tradition attaches importance to.
According to him, “The current militarization and wide spread carnage in the South East have precipitated unprecedented fear, tension and untold hardships on the people in the zone, thereby aggravating the security challenges in the land.
“We condemn without any reservation the destruction of public property in the South East because it is not in our character to indulge in arson and brigandage. We believe, however, that it is not fair and just to use a sledge hammer to kill harmless flies as many victims of this joint security agencies onslaught are hapless and innocent Igbo youths and other citizens, who have become victims of circumstances.
“Information available to us says that despite the recent directive of the National Security Adviser, Gen Baba Gana Mungono, to dismantle all checkpoints throughout the federation, the security agencies in the South East still stop motorists at illegal checkpoints, search them in most dehumanizing manner in the guise of fishing out presumed members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Eastern Security Network, ESN, arrest the youths, especially boys and march them away to unknown destinations, most of whom never return alive.
”Also, security agencies now indiscriminately invade private homes at odd hours in the same guise of fishing out presumed IPOB and ESN members. They arrest, maim, and, sometimes shoot innocent and hapless youths, and cart away their corpses to unknown destinations, thus denying them the opportunity of burial.
The Igbo tradition values burial rites for the repose of the soul of the dead, yet our young victims of the military onslaught are denied that opportunity.”
The former Anambra state Governor cited the various unjust killings of Igbos in their thousands and disclosed that the IPOB and ESN have severally distanced themselves from the killings in the east.
He said that the conduct of security operatives in the South East defiles the rules of engagement of any security engagement.
He therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the entire international community to take urgent actions as the use of force by the military has never proven to be a solution.
In his words, “The case of Bar Ifeanyi Ejiofor, whose house in Anambra state was invaded at 2.30 am, and was promptly arrested and taken away to unknown destination, while his personal assistant was gunned down. Till now no person has brought any charges against Mr. Ejiofor.
“Earlier on Friday, May 28, 2021 five innocent Igbos died instantly when Nigerian Air force personnel allegedly opened fire on motorists and other passers-by at the Nekede/Naze junction, along the Owerri-Aba road over the death of their colleague in the hands of the unknown gunmen.
“The list is endless. So far, over 5000 [five thousand] Igbo youths have been killed in the South East, while more than 10,000 [ten thousand] others are languishing in horrible detention camps in different parts of the country under questionable circumstances. Yet, none of these victims was a member of IPOB and ESN.
“There were not even members of the unknown gunmen. Both IPOB and ESN have severally distanced themselves from the current terror and tension in the South East, yet countless innocent citizens are killed in the name of fishing out presumed members of IPOB, ESN and unknown gun men. “The conduct of the security agencies in the South East and some parts of South South is in contravention of any known rules of military/security engagement.
The newly confirmed Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba was quoted to have directed the police officers to be brutal in dealing with the suspected members of IPOB and ESN as their [police officers] actions would never be questioned by any person or authority.
“We, therefore, call on President Muhammad Buhari, the United Nations, the European Union, African Union, ECOWAS, United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia, China and the entire international community to take urgent and necessary actions to stop the current genocide against the Igbos in the South East and parts of the South South in the interest of peace, stability and unity of Nigeria.
“The use of force, nay, military force, has never restored peace anywhere; hence the need to explore dialogue and other effective strategies that have worked elsewhere. The Igbo Elders are available and ready to be part of this process if given the opportunity to participate.
‘A stitch in time saves nine’ is a utilitarian adage in this context and at this time.”