OWERRI – Uncertainty appears to have enveloped the South East zone following the prolonged silence by the South East governors and the Pan Igbo Socio-Cultural organisation Ohaneze Ndigbo over the killing of IPOB members in August 23, 2020.
The Pro-Biafra groups and other Igbo personalities have accused the duo of conspiracy of silence in the wake of serial killings and provocations against the people of the South East.
Retaliation threat against security operatives by IPOB has also heightened tension in the zone, just as Alaigbo Development Foundation led by Professor Uzodimma Nwala has called on Igbo to arm themselves with a view to protect themselves, their wives and children.
Saturday INDEPENDENT gathered that retaliation against security operatives by any group in Igbo land would amount to an open invitation to the declaration of war between Pro-Biafra groups and Nigerian security operatives in the zone and by extension, an invitation to terrorists groups which obviously will not favour residents in the area including security operatives.
Another fear in the area tilts towards the possibilities of many casualties on the side of innocent Nigerian citizens as nobody gets spared or taken for granted during war situations.
Speaking with the National President of Alaigbo Development Foundation Professor Uzodimma Nwala he said that Ohaneze and South East governors have lost grip of the people they are leading within the zone including the youths.
“This was the main reason why you see regular verbal fight between Ohaneze and Pro-Biafra groups or between the South East governors and the people they are leading. The people have lost confidence in the activities of the business class, Ohaneze and South East governors.
“The reason why they keep silent is very simple. They are afraid of their past and they want to remain relevant in the present day Nigeria despite the odds against them. Every good leader must look at the heart beat of the people he is leading. Because they have lost grip of the people they are leading including the youths, anything can happen.”
He disclosed that the governors are not proactive which was the major reason why he resigned as a member of South East security outfit. He objected to the Community Police initiative of the Federal Government, saying, ADF had compared the policy of Community Policing as equivalent to handing over the Security of Chickens to the Hawks.
In a letter he addressed recently to retired Gen. Obi Abel Umahi, being the chairman, South-East Security Committee, he wondered why the governors are not speaking out in the face of insecurity against their people.
Nwala declared that in the absence of the Federal Government legalising the use of AK47, Igbos should arm themselves with any available weapon to protect themselves, their wives and their children. He described this posture as a fundamental natural right that supersedes any state law.
“I write to resign formally as a member of the South-East Security Committee which was set up at a Joint Meeting of the Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) since February 2020. I do this because the purpose for which this Security Committee was set up has been made null and void with the pronouncements of the Chairman of the South- East Governors Forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi Sate, abolishing the idea of a Regional Security Architecture for the South-East.
“In place of a Regional Security Scheme for Alaigbo, the Governors of the South-East have accepted the Community Policing program of the Federal Government. As you may recall, the Community Policing program has been rejected by the South East after the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) exposed its inherent character as a policy to encourage the continued serial killing, kidnapping and rape of our women as well as to ensure theoccupationof Alaigbobythe Fulani Jihadists.
“In opting out of the now moribund South East Security Committeem, we, in ADF shall continue to work with the various pan-Igbo organizations to advance all possible and legitimate means of ensuring the Security of Alaigbo and her neighbors.
“It is to be recalled that in a Press Statement issued by the ADF on February 2020, we had stated unequivocally that the POLICING PLAN of the Nigerian Police has been IN OPERATION IN THE SOUTH EAST while the horrors in several parts of Alaigbo including Ebonyi State as depicted in the Report of Chief Igariwey at the last Ime-Obi meeting as well as that depicted in the Report by Mr. Aduba (CP Rtd.) at the Joint meeting of Ime-Obi and the Governors Forum. All those horrors rather than abating have been rising to crescendo with our helpless people wondering if they have any Government or leaders who care for their plight.
“It is to be observed, very unfortunately, that immediately following this declaration of the South-East Governors, the unarmed Igbo youths have been gruesomely mowed down in Enugu State by combined forces of the Army, Navy, DSS, SARS, Police and other security forces.
“Most of the personnel of the forces are no doubt non-Igbos. What is more, while this is happening, none of our Governors is saying anything.
“In addition, it is our view and stand that: The Security of Alaigbo is a joint responsibility between the Government and the People of Alaigbo. ADF is not opposed to any genuine and positive role of the Federal Government and her agencies in helping to tackle the prevailing state of grave insecurity in Alaigbo, provided that such role byFederalAgenciesmustbeunder the exercise and full control of personnel of our zone.
“The primary Security outfit for the protection of Alaigbo must be that created by the Government and people of Alaigbo. Our people should not abandon their own individual and community responsibility over their security. If the Governors decide to abandon their own responsibility over the Security of our people, we, as organised patriotic forces in our land must continue to courageously play our role to ensure that our people overcome the prevalent dangerous siege over our land.
“This is why history beckons on the emergent Coalition of Religious and Civil Society groups in Alaigbo to remain focused and determined to help protect our people. Certainly part of their responsibility is to provide strategic guidance to our patriotic youths to enable them play their role constructively.
“We wish to call on the Federal Government to legalise the use of AK47 so that our people can arm themselves for their self-defense. In the absence of this, we call on our people to arm themselves with any available defensive weapons for the protection of themselves, our wives and our children. This is a fundamental natural right that supersedes any state law.”
Also speaking with the Enugu State Commissioner For Information Chidi Aroh, said that, “for the fact that we have not made public statement does not imply that the state is not working. We are making contacts, holding meetings with Ohaneze and other Igbo leaders.
“Governors of the South East have been meeting over the killing of IPOB members. There are more sides to the story than the people are seeing. Therefore, we want to ensure that as a government, we come out with facts and take concrete position in the interest of our people.
“It is the primary responsibility for the government to protect the people and we cannot be seen to be doing anything less than that. But the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is interested in getting the details of what happened. Leaders don’t do statements they are not sure of or make statements that can lead to crisis.”
Meanwhile, a group known as International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law petitioned to the chairman Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith, demanding the dismissal of the Enugu State Police Commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman.
“Our writing Your Commission is to formally bring the attention of same to Black Sunday Massacre of dozens of unarmed citizens at the Community High School Field and environs, located in Emene in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, Eastern Nigeria. The massacred and the injured included sports enthusiasts engaging in various sporting activities in the School’s Premises or Field. The sporting activities include football, gymnastics, martial arts, volley ball, physical fitness exercises, etc; as well as those in church services and leisure and mental rehearsal activists, etc. The war-like shootings and killings had violently disrupted various church services involving Catholic Church and Pentecostals; forcing the converged and the converging to run helter skelter in a bid to doge and escape from raining police and military live bullets.
“The shootings and killings were professionally and secularly avoidable but owing to crude, unprofessional, hate and racial policing applied in the instant case, the reverse was brutally the case. For instance, the SSS, instigator of the massacre, acted crudely unprofessional in its so called gathered intelligence” by playing the role of jack of all trades and master of none.
“The Enugu State Police Commissioner, CP Ahmad Abdurrahman, manifested the crudest form of butchery policing when he incompetently mismanaged the incident and turned same into a war theatre and killing field of the war-like armed versus the defenselessly unarmed. He not only ordered the massacre but also usurped the powers of the Executive Governor and Chief Security Officer of Enugu State. This the CP did by unlawfully and unconventionally deploying the State’s Security Joint Taskforce-JTF (comprising soldiers, air force, SSS and various police crack squads,etc). By law and convention, it is only the Governor of Enugu State that can deploy same under situations of extreme complex security threats (i.e. bloody inter communal conflict).
“Contrary to Police and SSS reports, independent eyewitnesses including residents of the area factually and believably disclosed that the Community High School Field had for years played host to various categories of sports enthusiasts and leisure and mental rehearsal activists including children who gathered every Sunday for the referenced purposes. Joining them are different Pentecostal Church congregants and those of the nearby St Joseph Catholic Church who conduct their Sunday church services.
“But last Sunday, 23rd August 2020, armed SSS personnel stormed the School Premises and violently disrupted clusters of persons assembling peacefully including some pro Biafra activists and religionists engaging in civil sporting activities such as martial arts and foot balling. The violence used had included violent arrest and firing of live bullets at close range with intent to massacre as administratively ordered or directed; leading to thosebearing antibulletcharms withstanding same and refusing to run. Live bullets fired at close range by SSS personnel eventually hit and felled some ordinary or non-anti bullets charm bearers, leading to angers and tempers rising to a boiling proportion, forcing the SSS personnel to retreat. The crude and butchery deployment of armed soldiers, air force, SSS and various police crack squads by CP Ahmad Abdulrrahman escalated the shootings and killings and turned same into a massacre.
“Attached for more details is our statement on the issue, dated 25thAugust 2020: Emene Massacre: HandiworkOf Racial Profiling, Criminal Labeling & Crude Policing (…this is 5th Anniversary and 15th massacre since August 2015 with over 500 deaths and 550 injured)
“Therefore, our writing Your Commission, Sir, is in line with powers and duties vested on same by Sections 6(1) of the Police Service Commission Act of 2004 and 153 (m) of the 1999 Constitution as amended and its Paragraph 30 of Pat 1 of the Third Schedule. By the provision of Paragraph 30 under Section 153 in the Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, the Police Service Commission under you, Sir, is constitutionally empowered to: (a) appoint persons to offices other than the office of the Inspector General of Police in the Nigeria Police Force; and (b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this Paragraph (other than the IGP). The persons holding such offices are all sworn or serving members of the Nigeria Police Force, from Constable to Deputy Inspector General of Police including CP Ahmad Abdurrahman, Commissioner of Police Enugu State Command.”