Pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has demanded the probe of last Monday’s mass murder of Igbo youths by the military and the police in various parts of the South East and South-South regions.
The group expressed its indignation at what it described as the outrageous killing of the members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), during their celebration of the 49th anniversary of the declaration of the defunct Republic of Biafra on Monday this week.
In a press statement from the office of the
Secretary-General of the Ohanaeze said it does not accept the excuse of provocation which is being offered as a pretext for what turned out to be a mass murder of unarmed Igbo citizens, wondering what level of provocation by unarmed people would have warranted the use of live bullets on them.
The Ohanaeze, in the statement signed by its Secretary-General, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, said that the two organisations- IPOB and MASSOB-are noted for their sworn belief in non-violence, affirming that they were, as usual, totally unarmed at the time of the onslaught on them by armed security agents.
Nwaorgu said: “The Igbo nation is outraged and condemns these killings in the strongest terms. Such should never happen whether under the military dictatorship or democracy.
“Ndigbo are known democrats from time immemorial; we believe in competition and we are not a violent people.”
The group implored “all Nigerians, and indeed all people who like humanity all over the world to rise up in total condemnation” of what Ohanaeze described as a “heinous display of brutality.”
The pan-Igbo group, therefore, charged the Federal and Anambra State governments to set up separate commissions of inquiry into the circumstances that led to such a mass murder of unarmed citizens.
Ohaneze commiserated with the families and communities whose members were either killed or wounded in the massacre and declared that Ndigbo are very unhappy and outraged over what it described as the continued blood-letting visited on their people.
Members of MASSOB and IPOB were reported to have assembled at a primary school in Nkpor Agu, near Onitsha for prayers and procession when they were confronted by men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) comprising the Army, Navy, Police and secret police.
Unofficial report said that over 50 of them were killed while the security agencies had three among them killed.
Hundreds of others sustained varying degrees of wounds and were rushed to the hospitals.
Meanwhile, eight persons who were arrested on Monday during the demonstration by pro-Biafra groups in Asaba, Delta State will soon be charged to court for murder and other offences, Acting Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Charles Muka has said.
Muka said that investigation was still on and that the suspects would be made to face the full weight of the law if found guilty of the charges against them, including the murder of “two patriotic police officers in the line of duty.”
In the meantime, the state government has declared that no part of Delta is under the proposed Biafra Republic and condemned the actions of the secessionist groups.
In a statement entitled: “Biafra Agitation-Our Stand”, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Festus Ovie Agas, said it was an error for anybody or group to claim that Delta State or more specifically, Anioma people are part of the South East zone that is supposed to make up the proposed Biafran Republic.
He said while some communities in the state may have cultural affinity with the people of the South East, the people of the present Delta State have always occupied a unique position in the Nigerian
Federation and were never part of the South East as is being suggested in some quarters.
A boost however came for the Biafra agitators as Niger Delta militants on Wednesday gave the Federal Government tomorrow deadline to release the corpses of 10 pro-Biafra agitators.
The militants threatened to avenge the “unprovoked” killing of Biafra supporters by security operatives on Monday.
In a statement issued online, the Niger Delta militants explained that their decision to avenge the attack on the pro-Biafra protesters was reached after a meeting called by the leaders of various militant groups in the region.
“If the Federal Government fails to release them (the corpses) by Friday, June 3, 2016, they will hear from us from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states,” the statement read in part.
The statement was signed by the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front, Precious Iyoyo, aka General Playboy and his counterpart in the Concerned Militant Leaders, General Ben.