By Vincent Ujumadu – Awka
Anambra State President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene has called on the Federal Government to remove the terrorist label on the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB because, he argued, the organization does not threaten lives and property.
Addressing reporters in Awka, Okeke-Ogene urged security operatives to concentrate more in the Northeast to end the unwanted killings by those who, he said, hate the unity of Nigeria.
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He described as unfortunate and unacceptable the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organization, while other agitating groups, especially in the northern part of Nigeria that specialize in kidnapping and killing of innocent Nigerians on daily basis were moving freely without trial and prosecution.
Okeke-Ogene, who is aspiring for the position of national vice president of Ohanneze in the election slated for January, 2021, said it was unfortunate that a group that does not carry arms could be labeled terrorist.
He wondered why the federal government has refused to prosecute the Fulani herdsmen, bandits and other dangerous groups responsible for the kidnapping and killings going on in the northern part of Nigeria.
He said: “Have you ever heard that IPOB kidnapped or killed anybody unjustly? Why should the government go to court within 24hrs after a misunderstanding between Operation Python Dance II of the Nigerian Army and IPOB without a proper investigation and declared the group a terrorist organization, while those with intention of tarnishing the image of the country before the international community are operating freely in the society without any government action?
“The Federal Government was totally wrong in declaring IPOB a terrorist organisation.”
According to him, IPOB is a group of young men of Igbo extraction that do assemble when the need arises to deliberate on issues affecting their welfare and the region as enshrined in Nigeria Constitution.
“I think that what we should do as one people is for us to continue to pray and work together to ensure that the current security challenges tormenting the country come to an end and not to tag a particular group in a region that happens to be the safest region in Nigeria, as terrorist organization,” Okeke-Ogene said.
He, however, commended the effort of the Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari and the security agencies on the safe rescue of theabducted school children of Government Science School, Kankara and urged the security agencies and other authorities to also checkmate the activities of Niger Republic and Lake Chad immigrants.