Raphael Ede, Enugu
Ohanaeze Ndigbo has warned the Federal government and Nigerian Army in particular against a repeat of September 2017, Operation Python Dance experience which saw Igbo sons and daughters being killed in a gruesome manner without consequences.
In a statement, the Ohanaeze President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said that the marching orders given by the Chief of Army Staff to Division and Garrison commanders in the South East of Nigeria to go after IPOB members in the region in order to forestall their threat to boycott the forthcoming general elections might be a well-planned agenda to execute carnage. IPOB had threatened to hold a referendum on the said date.
Chief Nwodo said “Ohaneze 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 a 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,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Southern Christian Forum on Tuesday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the security agencies against compromising the forthcoming general elections.
It said that anything short of the credible election would not be accepted by Nigerians and would be resisted.
This was contained in a communiqué the forum issued after an emergency meeting of the youth wing of the forum.
The communiqué signed by Priscilla Adetoye, Vice Chairman, South-West; Iniabasi Asuquo, Secretary, South-South, and Deacon Vincent Ogbonna, Chairman, South-East, said the INEC must allow the will of the people to prevail in the elections.
It read: “Christians should come out en-mass and support a man who can restructure and revive the country’s economy.
“The Christian youths should shun violence before, during and after elections,” they said, adding “the security agencies must, however, be non-partisan in the discharge of their duties during the elections.
“That the Independent National Electoral Commission should ensure that there is free, fair and credible election across the country.
“That Nigerians should stand against vote-buying during the election.”