Raphael Ede, Enugu
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army in particular against a repeat of the September 2017 Operation Python Dance in the South East, during which it said Igbo sons and daughters were killed without consequences.
The organisation allayed fears that the order might be a plan to scare the people of South East from coming out to cast their votes during the presidential election on February 16, 2019.
A statement by the Ohanaeze president-Ggeneral, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said that the marching orders given by the Chief of Army Staff to division and garrison commanders in the South East to go after IPOB members in the region in order to forestall their threat to boycott the forthcoming elections and instead hold their own referendum may be a well planned agenda to execute carnage.
Nwodo said: “Ohanaeze is disturbed that this kind of order might be misconstrued to execute carnage, drowning in shallow water and inhuman and degrading treatment on our youths as happened in the last Operation Python Dance in Abia State.
“IPOB remains a peaceful organisation championing self-determination. Their last threat for boycott of Anambra State elections witnessed no violence but instead we saw a higher turnout of voters than in the previous elections. The army did not order any such operation then as they are ordering now.
“We hope this operation is not aimed at scaring the people of the South East from coming out to cast their votes. We should be allowed to use our traditional rulers, community leaders and religious leaders to restrain our children.”
Meanwhile, the Southern Christian Forum, yesterday, warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies against compromising the general election. It said that anything short of credible elections would not be accepted by Nigerians and would be resisted.
This was contained in a communiqué that the forum issued after an emergency meeting of the youth wing.
The communiqué, signed by Priscilla Adetoye, South-West vice chairman, Iniabasi Asuquo, South-South secretary, and Deacon Vincent Ogbonna, South-East chairman, said INEC must allow the will of the people to prevail in the election.