By Dennis Agbo
The World Igbo Congress, WIC, has opposed the deployment of the military in the southeast under the guise of the ‘Golden Dawn’ operation.
WIC said that what is in the offering is another form of operation Phyton Dance, where Igbo youths would be massacred once more, at the joy of trigger-happy soldiers.
The group wondered what happened to the Nigeria police which has the constitutional mandate of combating civil unrest if any exists in the southeast.
WIC said it cannot overlook the possibility that the troop and armament deployment is part of a grand plan to incite disturbances in Igboland, cause the loss of lives and destruction of properties (public and private) and with the ready presence of heavily armed troops, declare the region ungovernable.
In a statement authored by WIC Chairman, Prof. Anthony Ejiofor and Public Relations Officer, Mazi Basil Onwukwe, the group said the Igbo nation and lovers of truth and justice see the operation, Golden Dawn, as a prelude to bloody-red dawn.
The group said: “WIC notes that all arms of the military, plus the police and other paramilitary formations are involved in this exercise. It is telling that maintenance of law and order amongst civilian populations has now become the purview of the military as opposed to the police whose statutory responsibility includes the maintenance of law and order in society.
“WIC further notes the irony and significance of launching the exercise in Enugu while similar exercises are supposedly going on simultaneously in some other localities. Discerning minds can see through this subterfuge as the regions and states that are truly in need of peacekeeping (Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, etc.), are not covered by this exercise.
“WIC is concerned that the stage is being set for a repeat of the atrocities of the ugly and murderous python dance that consumed the lives of hundreds of Igbo youth. The COAS has already ordered the so-called “unknown gunmen” to “surrender their arms or face the brutal force of the exercise”.
“Pray, if these phantom characters are unknown, how and why do we expect them to comply with this order?
“WIC suspects that this order is designed to empower the gun-toting troops to subject our people to an orgy of abuse, intimidation, unlawful searches and detentions, and even extra-judicial murders, all under the guise of searching for and eliminating the “unknown gunmen”.
“WIC also notes the recent spike in violence in Anambra State which has claimed the lives of many innocent citizens. Most of these heinous crimes have been brazenly committed in broad daylight yet we are not aware of any arrest of suspects.
“Could it be that there is a deliberate withholding of official police protection for the citizens or that the perpetrators of these acts are, somehow, untouchable? Enquiring minds need to know.
“People are wondering if a state of emergency (as canvassed by the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice), is the real reason all these things are taking place in Igboland.
“WIC regrets the inability or unwillingness of our Southeast governments to protect the lives, properties and livelihoods of our people. The just-concluded summit of the governors of the SE came up with another announcement of the formation of the Ebubeagu Security Outfit! Unless we dreamt it, we believe that this same outfit was launched with fanfare back in 2020.
“In fact, General Umahi (rtd), the brother of Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, the head of the group resigned in protest against the lack of attention and/or support by the governors, to whom his committee submitted a security report in 2019 which was ignored until 2020.
“WIC feels the pain of our people as they live through this self-inflicted wound of leadership failure. We call on the state governors and the political class to do what they are paid to do – lead and govern! It is unconscionable to allow the current situation to further deteriorate.
“WIC urges our suffering masses to remain calm and avoid giving any excuses to the invading troops to unleash mayhem on them. Another death is one too many! We have suffered enough.”