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ESN, ARMY CLASH IN ORLU: Mbazulike Amechi, MASSOB, others allege hidden agenda

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Nowhere secured in Nigeria — Mbazulike Amechi…Ask security operatives to stop clampdown on Orlu residents

…Civil Society coalition give herders Feb 28 ultimatum to quit forest in Igboland

…Imo House backs peace efforts

By Anayo Okoli, Dennis Agbo, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Chinonso Alozie & Ikechukwu Odu

ELDER Statesman and prominent Igbo leader, Chief Mbazulike Amechi has expressed surprise and shock over the clash between the Nigerian security agencies, namely the Police and Army with Igbo youths suspected to be members of the Eastern Security Network, floated by Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to guard forests and bushes in Igbo land.

Though Amechi has got full details of the crisis as he only knew about it Tuesday morning when his son showed him videos of destructions sent to him by somebody over Orlu crisis, he lamented the burning of houses and shops of people and residents of Orlu.

The Movement for Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, described the clash as part of the revolutionary struggle for Biafra, warning that caution be applied so that the crisis does not escalate.

Amechi, a first Republic Aviation Minister, wondered when Orlu became a flash point of trouble in the South-East region. He said Orlu being the senatorial zone of the incumbent governor of Imo State and the newly elected President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, he expects no trouble there unless somebody is up to something funny to score a cheap political point.

Amechi said he did not understand when a fight between security agents and ESN said to be operating in the bush would turn to crisis that would lead to burning of Igbo properties and called for caution in handling the situation.

He called on Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, both from Orlu Senatorial zone, to speak up and stop further killings and destruction of people’s property, saying that ESN cannot be the people burning houses and shops of Ndigbo in Orlu.

MASSOB Leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, said “the Orlu incident is not different from Okigwe massacre of 2003 or Onitsha crises of 2004, 2006 and Nkpor killings. Asaba, Obigbo, Aba, Umuahia, Okigwe, Owerri, Enugu, Abakiliki, Nsukka and Oji River have witnessed different dimensions of the revolutionary heat.

“The current warlike situation in Orlu province of Biafra between the forces of Biafra and Nigeria has once again exposed the bias and partiality of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria against the people of Biafra.

“The Nigeria army is always eager and ever ready to clampdown on pro-Biafra agitators but always keep mum and inactive on the criminal and terrorist activities of Fulani herdsmen in Western, Eastern and Middle Belt regions.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has exposed Nigerian army as the most incompetent and unreliable force that is terribly tribalistic and ethno-religious.

“MASSOB hereby advises South-East governors to quickly engage all the pressure and youth groups in Igbo land to build a common synergy between the leaders and the people. The security situation in Igbo land has already escalated. What is happening in Orlu can be described as a childs play because Aba, Onitsha, Nsukka and Okigwe may soon catch fire.”

Civil Society coalition give herders Feb 28 ultimatum to quit forest I Igboland

A coalition of Civil Society groups in South-East has condemned the military action against residents of Orlu senatorial zone, which the military claimed were done suspected members of Eastern Security Network.

The coalition includes: Voice from the East, V-EAST; the Nigerian Society for Anti Corruption; Rights of Man Keep, ROMKEEP, and Center for Youth Development  and Human Rights Upkeep.

Coordinator of the coalition and Converner of V-EAST, Comrade Kindness Jonah, said that the Nigerian Army were mindlessly killing  innocent Igbo at Orlu due to the army’s helplessness  in confronting the ESN in the Forest.

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The coalition has therefore given ultimatum to Fulani herdsmen to vacate forests in Igboland on or before Sunday, February 28, failure which the Igbo will forcefully enter their forests to chase out the herdsmen.

In a statement, Jonah noted that the quit notice was not for the Fulani in Igbo townships but Fulani in Igbo forests.

He also stated that there would be no election in Nigeria in 2023 unless the issue of Fulani herdsmen penetrating people’s forests, killing, kidnapping, raping and maiming them was squarely settled.

In its reaction, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Intersociety, said while they are still studying the situation in Orlu, “we are not ruling out the repeat of Obigbo”.

A statement by the Chairman of its Board, Emeka Umeagbalasi said: “The truth is that Nigerian Army is running an ethnic cleansing agenda. It has no other assignment than to track and massacre Igbo, claiming that their personnel were attacked and killed.

“But just last week as reported by a leading online media, seven soldiers, including the leader of the team, a captain were ambushed and killed by Fulani bandits in a forest located in Nasarawa State. They were killed while on a mission to rescue some kidnapped villagers. Yet heaven did not fall and the communities in that area are inhabited and going about their businesses.

“But here in Igbo land, it is genocidal and Jihadist on the part of the Nigerian Army. Just imagine how the entire church building belonging to a member of the African Instituted Churches was destroyed and scores of its officials and laypersons abducted by soldiers of the 34 Brigade, Owerri and later dumped at the State CID, Owerri. The 34 Brigade is commanded by a Hausa-Fulani, Brig Gen Ibrahim Tukura”.

Also speaking, former President General of Onitsha Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, OMATA, Chief Ozoh Anaekwe condemned the alleged clash, describing it as an attempt to silence any opposition to the destructive activities of the Fulani.

“If there is any group or people that will divide Nigeria, it is the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, and their herdsmen”, Anaekwe said, and called on President  Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria to stop shielding them and act like  President of a country and not that of an ethnic group.

On his part, a university don, Dr. Aaron Adibe, called on the governors of South-East states to call a meeting of the stakeholders of the zone in order to address the ongoing uprising between Nigerian Army and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB in Orlu, Imo State.

Dr. Adibe, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said the stakeholders should prevail on the Nnamdi Kanu’s group to stop the use of force in the actualization of their objectives, adding that Nigerians with dissenting voices on government policies are cashing in on the insecurity in the country to create their empires.

Imo Assembly ready to back efforts to sustain peace —Imo Speaker

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Paul Emeziem, yesterday, said that the Assembly would back the state government on  moves to restore peace in the troubled areas of Orlu Local Government Area of the state, as a result of the bloody clash between the Eastern Security Network, ESN, and security operatives.

The speaker spoke in Owerri, while reacting to the outcome of the incident that left many dead, houses and vehicles burnt.

”I also want to call on the security agencies in the state especially the Commissioner of Police to speedily rise up to this security challenge. While the security agencies are doing this, we equally urge Imolites especially those in the affected areas to remain calm, law-abiding and to corporate with the government on its efforts to restore normalcy and ensure justice to the victims,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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