May 26, 2022

Expect tough response — Buhari warns perpetrators of ‘wild’ killings in South-East

Benue killings

President Muhammadu Buhari

•Soludo vows to fish out the killers of Fatima, her 4 kids

•Community leaders can’t hide killers, Ohanaeze tells Anambra CP

•Condemns killing of northerners, others

•End orgy of killings, bloodshed in S’East, Northern Elders tell FG

By Chioma Gabriel, Anayo Okoli, Clifford Ndujihe, Chimaobi Nwaiwu &  Luminous Jannamike

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those killing innocent people in the southeast to expect a tough response from security forces.

He condemned the viral videos circulating of innocent people being killed, describing it as wild and barbarous.

Buhari spoke as an enraged Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, has pledged justice for the slain pregnant Fatima and her four children, vowing that no stone would be left unturned in fishing out and dealing with their assailants.

This is even as the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has decried the turning of the South-East zone into a killing field, lamenting that the killings were antithetical to Igbo culture.

Expect tough response —Buhari

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu quoted his principal as saying in a statement issued on Wednesday that “In the issuance of his very strong condemnation of these “wild, barbarous and wanton killings of innocent people” in the South-East as well as the other parts of the country, which he described as “deeply distressing; the Presidency wishes to caution against any knee-jerk reactions, the creation of panic, disruption of lives and livelihoods, or even retaliatory violence following the viral videos of the alleged killings of non-indigenes by the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and its mother terrorist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB.

“While expert agencies are now verifying the factuality and veracity of the claims that accompany the horrid pictures being circulated, we call on all citizens to avoid hasty steps or conclusions that could exacerbate the situation, and on the contrary, keep to a line of conduct that will help the law to take its proper course”, the statement added in parts.

The Presidency also cautioned the public against the indiscriminate sharing of posts on social media to deny vested interests who seek to divide us and create disturbance as a chance to do so.

President Buhari’s response comes a few days after gunmen killed at least 12 people, including a pregnant woman and her four children in Anambra State.

A community leader told the BBC that the pregnant woman and her children were returning home on a motorcycle when gunmen ambushed them in the Orumba area of the state.

The same situation occurred after gunmen beheaded a lawmaker in the state, Okechukwu Okoye.

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Soludo vows to fish out the killers of Fatima, her 4 kids

Soludo has, without mincing words, described the May 20 killing of pregnant Fatima and her four children by unidentified assailants as “barbaric and unacceptable”.

In a statement signed by Christian Aburime, his Chief Press Secretary, the governor vowed to fish out the perpetrators and ensure they were dealt with according to law.

Soludo’s pledge resonated in the observation by Lagos lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa who described the killing as an insensate act of terrorism.

Adegboruwa noted that the concept of national unity will be a mirage if citizens cannot be safe in any location they find themselves.

Noting that the killing is unacceptable, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said, “Lady Fatima, an indigene of Adamawa State by birth, was gunned down by “unknown gunmen”, recently. Her four innocent children were also mowed down in this insensate act of terrorism, recklessly perpetrated without any justification whatsoever.

“No reason has been given and none could have been proffered for this criminal act of brutality, extended even to toddlers. There should be no hiding place for the barbarians; so Governor Charles Soludo owes the nation the sacred duty to do all in his powers to fish out those who killed Lady Fatima and her children, in their prime”.

Soludo said that all law-abiding Nigerians, irrespective of tribe or religion, we’re entitled to reside and or do business in any part of the country, including the southeast and in Anambra without fear of unlawful harassment, molestation or attack of any kind, under any guise by anyone or group.

He said “no group or Nigerian is justified to harass, attack or kill any citizen of Nigeria or anyone resident in Nigeria under any guise whatsoever unless in the lawful execution of a court sentence.

“Perpetrators of these heinous atrocities and their sponsors are testing the resolve of the government and people of Anambra State, but I assure you that efforts are underway to fish out and bring to justice whoever is behind the criminal activities.,” he stated.

Community leaders can’t hide killers, Ohanaeze tells Anambra CP

The Igbo group, condemned the reported killings of some northerners in Anambra State and commiserated with the northern community, however, faulted claims by the Police that the killers were being hidden by community leaders.

Noting that the South-East was the most peaceful part of the country until the breaking of the Owerri prisons in April last year, Ohanaeze said he is at a loss why security agencies have not been able to bring the situation under control.

While commending the Police for their efforts so far, Ohanaeze urged all stakeholders to join forces with Governor Chukwuma Soludo and the security agencies to end the raging carnage in Anambra.

 A statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, titled: “Satan On the Prowl In Igboland,” read in part:  “The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide condemns the incessant killings in Igbo land. The ongoing gruesome killings in the South-East are a very strange phenomenon in the Igbo cosmology and culture. The Igbo culture strongly abhors killing of mankind, no matter the circumstance. 

Among the Igbo, the killing of a human being is an abomination which attracts heavy sanctions including ostracism for a stipulated number of years. If the ostracized dies before the expiration of the sanction period, the corpse is condemned to an evil forest or will not be accorded a befitting burial. The sad end of Okonkwo in the Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe reveals the Igbo reflexes on murder cases.

“On all the accusations or allegations against the Igbo culture, killing of fellow human beings could not be contemplated. It is not in the Igbo character. We are at loss over the ugly development in Igbo land.

“The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador Professor Obiozor is in grief over the rate at which the South-East has degenerated to a killing field. Obiozor recalls with nostalgia that the South-East was adjudged the most peaceful before the attack on the Correctional Centre, Owerri, Imo State and the release of 1844 prison inmates by unknown gunmen on April 5, 2021.

“Since then, the South-East has been in a macabre dalliance with the siege, atrocities, abominations, arson, all forms of violence and to the worst of the extremes-killing of human beings. Sometimes, we begin to wonder whether the local non-state actors have the strategic capacity to overwhelm the well-fortified correctional centres, police stations, etc or the benefits one stands to derive from such savagery.

“While we are still mourning the gruesome murder and the cruel display of the head of a serving member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Okechukwu Okoye, a report was received that some Northerners were killed in some locations in the same Anambra State. As it stands, the burning of buildings, police stations, the killing of human beings, kidnappings, etc, have now become a daily occurrence in Igbo land. This is a very sad development.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo faults the remark by the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Mr Echeng Echeng, to the effect that community leaders are shielding the criminals thereby rendering investigations and arrests very difficult. It is important to inform that in Anambra State, for instance, almost all the communities are hosts to numerous strangers beyond the compass of the community leaders. A community such as Nnewi, a commercial nerve centre, is so sophisticated with strangers and economic activities beyond the aerial view of the community leaders.

It is as inconceivable to expect the Olu of Ibadan or the Oba of Benin or the Emir of Kano to monitor the crime rate in their highly populated domains. To shield a criminal is to hide a viper snake in the pocket. While commending the Anambra State Police Command for their gallantry, commitment and sacrifice, we urge all the community vigilantes, youths, community leaders, traditional rulers and all well-meaning Igbo to rise to the occasion in collaboration with the police to wipe out this ugly trend.

“Finally, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide extends our deep condolences to the Sarkin Hausawa, Orumba North LGA, Alhaji Said Muhammad and other affected Northern communities; and to His Excellency, Professor Chukwuma Soludo and the good people of Anambra State. We urge all and sundry to cooperate with the governor in his relentless effort to overcome the current security challenges in the state.

Evidently, with the menace of Boko Haram, banditry, unknown gunmen, kidnappings, Fulani herdsmen- farmers’ clashes, Monday Sit at Home, etc, there is no gainsaying that indeed, Satan is on the prowl to cause mayhem in Nigeria.  It, therefore, requires maturity and restraint among the leaders, knowing full well that we shall ultimately overcome.”

End orgy of killings, bloodshed in S’East, Northern Elders tell FG

Similarly, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to put an end to wanton killings in the South East region.

The Forum said the plea became necessary because of the reported attacks on Northerners in Anambra State which left a pregnant woman simply identified as Fatima and her four children murdered in cold blood.

NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement in Abuja, condemned the barbaric act in the strongest terms and demanded that those who have a responsibility to bring the orgy of killings and bloodshed to an end, must do so.

He said, “In the last few weeks, gruesome killings of people in states of the South East have escalated to a point which  suggests that some factions of IPOB/ESN are now operating with unfettered freedom to wrought mayhem.“

“In addition to killings of soldiers, policemen, public servants and other citizens, these killers are now embarking on targeted killings intended to inflame passions and trigger national or inter-communal crises.

“Shocking images of the murder of Northerners, including children, are being deliberately circulated by the very people who murdered them to provoke widespread anger.

“This Forum condemns this barbarism in the strongest terms available and demands that those who have a responsibility to bring these outrageous provocations to an end must do so. There has never been a better time than now for the leadership of Ndigbo in particular, and other leaders to unite in openly condemning these atrocities.

“There are no acceptable excuses, and those who have both responsibility and capacity must step up and protect the local citizenry, including Northerners.

“In particular, we ask other Northern leaders and elders to raise their voices against these targeted atrocities and take responsible steps to calm nerves.

“The Forum advises against any temptation to resort to violence under the impression that revenge is a solution to the targeting of particular groups. Northerners in the South-East should take all lawful steps to remain safe.

“The Forum invites the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders in the South-East to note that there are dark forces at play to destroy the country under their watch.

“History and circumstances have placed them in the position to exercise leadership to stop the current slide to irretrievable disaster. They do not have the luxury of indifference or inaction.”

IPOB cancels today’s sit-at-home as court shifts Kanu’s case

Meantime, following the Federal High Court Abuja shifting of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court case from Thursday, May 26, 2022, to Tuesday, June 28, 2022, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has postponed its planned sit-at-home in solidarity with its leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’ on the postponed court day.

The postponement according to the pro-Biafra group follows the shifting of the case to June 28, 2022, which the pro-Biafra group said has accepted the reasons for the shift.

A statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, entitled, “Thursday, May 26 scheduled Court case of our leader Mazi Nnamdi postponed” said they were informed by their lawyer Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor of the change of date.

IPOB statement read: “The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, under our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wishes to notify Biafrans both home and abroad that our leader’s  Court appearance in Abuja on 26th May 2022, has been postponed to 28th June 2022.

“IPOB has been informed on why and what caused the sudden change of date and we accepted it. We just received the communication from the Federal High Court’s Registrar, through our legal counsel Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor notifying us that the Court will no longer be sitting today, 26th May 2022, on our Leader’s case.

“For this reason, there will be no sit-at-home tomorrow Thursday 26th May 2022, Biafrans and mon Biafrans are free to peacefully go about their business, however, there will be sit-at-home on 28th June 2022, in solidarity with our leader.

“According to the Registrar, this is because Justice Binta Nyako is indisposed, and as such, the matter is now adjourned to the 28th day of June 2022 for Hearing /Ruling.

“We most respectfully, urge you all to maintain restraint, as you have always done. Keep your eyes on the ball, which is the freedom of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“Also, please note that Justice delayed is not justice denied. We are aggressively cruising to the victory of our leader, it is only a matter of time. For emphasis, there is no sit-at-home again tomorrow Thursday, May 26, 2022. Biafrans should bear with us.

“We profoundly appreciate your solidarity, unflinching support and prayers, which have been sustaining us thus far. Please do not relent in your prayers, we do not take them for granted. We shall continue to keep you all informed as events unfold.”

Vanguard News Nigeria