By Anayo Okoli & Henry Umoru
THE Senate Caucus of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Ohanaeze Youths and Association of South East Town Unions, ASETU, have called for the the immediate setting up of a judicial panel of inquiry into the killings last Sunday, of Igbo youths at Emene, Enugu State by security operatives.
According to the PDP Caucus, the judicial panel would help to unravel the truth in the assertions of the security agents and other groups on what really happened.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South, PDP Caucus also condemned the act in strong terms, saying the constancy of the killings has given room to wide suspicion of a sinister motive.
He has also warned that the labelling of every Igbo group as terrorists and the incessant killings of her youths by the security operatives have become one too many and is no longer acceptable to our people.
Abaribe in a statement by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom, joined other groups to demand for the setting up of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry by the Governor of Enugu State, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi urgently.
Senator Abaribe in condemning the killings, said that it is disheartening that security operatives seem to derive pleasure at any slight whim to unleash mayhem, using the most lethal weapons against unarmed Igbo youths at every turn.
Abaribe who noted that such unsavory, brutal and hateful resort to extreme repression demean Nigeria’s democratic ethos and even questions her unity, said: “We are in a democracy where every agency of government, particularly the security apparatchik must adhere strictly to rules of engagement with regards to dealings with the civil populace in such a manner that will be in conformity with international best practices.
“The last time I checked, Nigerians still enjoy freedom to associate freely. Nobody has told us that the Igbo youths meeting last Sunday was a gathering meant to launch attack on anybody. Who will they attack and for what? What informed the police and DSS deployment to the venue of the meeting?
“Incontrovertible reports suggest very strongly that the killings were ignited when the security operatives stormed the venue of that peaceful meeting, not that the youths marched to anywhere to attack anybody. These are the issues that should be addressed at the panel.”
The Minority Leader further said it is even most worrisome that the people will no longer gather peacefully in their own country without being dispersed forcefully or being branded terrorists for no just cause.
Abaribe said he would not want to believe that the labelling of every Igbo youth group as a terrorist organisation is a cover to achieve a predetermined plot.
He said: “Let it not be that we now have an army of occupation in the southeast, working clandestinely to create fears and state of anomie in a region that has remained perhaps the most peaceful in the country.”
The Minority Leader however advised the youths to remain calm and not to resort to any form of reprisals, or succumb to provocations that could tempt them to take laws into their own hands, while “we await the official reaction of the Enugu State governor on the matter.”
Ohanaeze youths call for panel inquiry into attack
Similarly, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth wing yesterday, frowned over what it described as unwarranted attack on the IPOB members and called on the South East governors and other notable Igbo leaders to intervene to avoid a repeat of such attack.
Ohanaeze youth wing however appealed to IPOB members not to plan any retaliatory action.
Ohanaeze youths in their statement signed by National Deputy President, Dr. Kingsley Dozie and the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Osmond Nkeoma, condemned the attack on IPOB members, saying that it was a provocative scenario and attempt to instigate civil unrest and disobedience in Igbo land.
“We condemn vehemently, the spillage of innocent Igbo blood in Igbo land under any guise and we definitely will not tolerate any form of intimidation from any quarters. We urge Igbo governors and every well meaning Igbo man to intervene immediately as there might be reprisal attacks from both sides if there’s no quick intervention.
“We equally appeal to our brothers to resist any temptation to fight back as there are a lot of traps from enemies of Ndigbo”.
We’re worried —ASETU
In its reaction, the Association of South East Town Unions, ASETU, condemned the attack, saying that the union was deeply worried over the gory images and videos of the bodies of unarmed civilians. ASETU also called on the federal government to quickly set up a judicial panel of enquiry to unearth the immediate and remote causes of the incident.
“We condemn the killing of unarmed civilians on Sunday in Enugu; security forces must observe rules of engagement”.
Signed by the National President, Chief Emeka Diwe and the National Secretary, Hon. Gideon Adikwuru, ASETU said: “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.
“Whatever their offences might have been, we insist that a republic, to which Nigeria lays claims, must be run on the basis of law and constitutionalism and the law enforcement agencies must at all times respect the rights of the citizens and observe rules of engagement.
“It is further perplexing that despite the deafening hues and cries from our people over the killings, rape, destruction and havoc levied on 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. Nigeria is currently engulfed in countless security challenges. These same security agencies, who have now found the temerity, strength and latitude to murder unarmed citizens in Enugu, have displayed helplessness in containing more vociferous security challenges like the banditry, kidnapping and insurgency in parts of the country.”