*Demand halt to military operation
The Igbo Elders Council (IEC), Thursday night alleged that over 5,000 Igbo youths have been killed and more than 10,000 others, clamped into detention in the on-going special security operation in the South-East zone.
The council comprising eminent leaders from the zone, met for several hours in Abuja where they deplored the deplorable security situation in the zone.
Those at the meeting included a former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; former Minister of Education, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike; Prof Charles Nwekeaku, Bar Onwu Arua Onwu and HRM, Eze Ibe Nwosu (Igbo 1, Abuja), amongst others.
The security operation, which involves troops of the Armed Force and the Police, was launched about a fortnight ago in what President Muhammadu Buhari said was done in a bid to fish out criminal elements behind the recent killing of security operatives and burning down of public infrastructure in the zone.
At the onset of the operation, which is largely seen as controversial in the zone, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, had accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and it’s Eastern Security Network (ESN) of complicity in the serial killings and arson, an allegation the groups had persistently denied.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the council drew a nexus between the highhandedness of security operatives and the shoot-on-sight order given to them at the commencement of the operation.
“The current militarization and wide spread carnage in the South-East”, the group said, “have precipitated unprecedented fear, tension and untold hardships on the people in the zone, thereby aggravating the security challenges in the land”.
The council lamented that “in spite of the ban on road blocks nationwide, security agencies in the South-East routinely stop motorists at illegal checkpoints, search them in most dehumanizing manner under the guise of fishing out presumed members of IPOB, and ESN”.
According to the council, those arrested by security operatives, mainly young males, “were not charged to court to defend themselves, but and were marched away to unknown destinations, most of whom never return alive”.
They described the happenings as another round of pogrom against Ndigbo, made worse by the indignant responses from President Buhari each time complaints were sent to him.
They maintained that it was unfortunate that different sets of rules apply for different persons in the country, stressing that rather than see the complaints by well-meaning people from the zone as akin to secession, the president should attempt to dispassionately assess such complaints to unravel the truth.
They explained that the loopsided appointments made by Buhari, especially by denying officers from the zone any headship portfolio in any arm of the Armed Forces and other security agencies as among the worst form of humiliation of the Igbo in the country.
He wondered how the president could justify that no Igbo is brilliant enough to head any of the agencies whereas Igbo youth rank among the most brilliant not just in Nigeria, but across the globe.
They wondered the academic parameter adopted which now subsume the Igbo as unintelligent, stressing that such can only come from an already biased mind.