Some Igbo socio-cultural organisations, including town unions, have expressed their displeasure over the killing of members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra by security agencies.
The Department of State Security, Nigeria police force and the Indigenous People of Biafra had a clash on Sunday, which led to the death of some IPOB members. The incident was said to have happened while the IPOB members were in a prayer meeting in Emene area of Enugu State.
Ten persons were reportedly killed, however, the casualty figures have been controversial as the police said only four persons were killed but the IPOB group insisted that 21 of their members were killed during the incident while 47 were arrested. The DSS also claimed that two of its operatives were killed.
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Condemning the killings on Monday, the Association of South-East Town Unions (ASETU) said it was wrong for the security operatives to have opened fire on unarmed civilians.
ASETU, in statement on Monday by its National President and Secretary, Chief Emeka Diwe and Chief Gideon Adikwuru respectively, called on the Federal Government to set up a judicial panel to unearth the immediate and remote causes of the incident.
The statement was titled, ‘We condemn the killing of unarmed civilians on Sunday in Enugu; security forces must observe rules of engagement.’
It read in part, “We are deeply worried over the gory images and videos of the bodies of unarmed civilians alleged to be members of pro-Biafra groups, reportedly shot dead by security agencies and littering the streets of Emene in Enugu State.
“It is further perplexing that despite the deafening hues and cries from our people over the killings, rape, destruction and havoc against us by Fulani herdsmen, there has never been any clash between the herdsmen and security agencies, neither have the agencies demonstrated any seriousness in tackling the problem.
“No progressive nation thrives on double standards and injustice. We reject completely the killing of Igbo people, no matter the pretext or guise under which it occurs.
“We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to promptly set up a judicial panel of inquiry to ascertain the causes of the massacre in Enugu, and urge both the pro-Biafra agitators and security agencies to apply restraint, civility, professionalism and respect for human lives in all their activities.”
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Another group, the Nzuko Umunna, also called for a coroner inquest into the killings.
In a statement on Monday by its Coordinator, Ngozi Odumuko, Nzuko Umunna said it noted “with grave concern the constant killing of unarmed Igbo youths by security operatives. This is unacceptable and must stop.”
In the statement titled, ‘Press Statement by Nzuko Umunna on Extrajudicial Killings at Emene, Enugu State,’ the group called on Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to set up a judicial panel of inquiry “to unravel the immediate and remote causes of these wanton killings, including the exact number of victims, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.”
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Meanwhile, commercial bus drivers in Enugu State on Monday embarked on a strike action and withdrew their services to protest the killing of their members during the clash.
The situation interrupted commercial activities in the state as residents were seeing stranded at various locations in the state capital, while some other business premises were locked up.
Some of the routes affected include ESBS – New Layout road, Ogui -Obiagu road, Obiagu – New Haven road, Emene – Old Park road, among other routes.
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Reacting to the clash, IPOB released a statement on Monday that security agencies in Nigeria were worse than the dreaded Boko Haram and ISWAP.
The group, which was referring particularly to the army and the police, said the way the security outfits had been killing IPOB members without provocation shows that the army and police are terrorist organisations.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Emma Powerful on Monday, IPOB said, “When it comes to killing Biafrans, they are infinitely worse than Boko Haram and ISWAP put together.”
The statement reads in part: “Oduduwa’s Amotekun are armed, Fulani Miyetti Allah are armed, Fulani terror herdsmen are armed, Fulani funded bandits are armed, Fulani Ansaru Brigade are armed.
“They all gather in public without any military interference. But as soon as Biafran youths congregate in any location to pray, every Nigerian military formation, including police, DSS, Army, Air Force stationed in Biafraland, will descend on them, firing indiscriminately with the intention of killing as many innocent people as possible because IPOB is a peaceful movement.”
This comes as the Enugu State Police Command said members of the separatist group arrested during the bloody clash on Sunday would be charged to court after its investigation.
The state police spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe, who stated this on Monday, explained that investigation into the incident had begun, adding that five persons arrested on Sunday were in their custody.
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