From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri, Godwin Tsa and Okwe Obi, Abuja
Elderstatesman, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has warned perpetrators of the recent killings in Ebonyi State, saying Igbo would no longer tolerate such again.
Iwuanyanwu, who spoke during an award bestowed on him by the Nigeria Patriotic Youths Against Corruption and Transparency Initiative in Owerri, Imo, yesterday, said Igbo have always chosen the part of peace but warned that any further attack will leave them no choice than to resort to self defence.
The elderstatesman also told those behind the attack not to take the quietness of Igbo for cowardice just as he maintained the part of peace chosen by the zone was to avoid the sad experience of the civil war.
To avert recurrence, Iwuanyanwu said the elders council of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has mandated the President General, George Obiozor, and the Chairman of governors’ forum, Dave Umahi, to call an emergency meeting of stakeholders, including the National Assembly.
The meeting, he said, would deliberate on ways and means to protect Igbo people wherever they live. Also, he added that the meeting will establish an emergency relief fund from where help can be given to victims of terrorism anywhere in Igbo land.
“I am angry about the Ebonyi incident, we have gone through this process before, I am still alive today and strong, I might be old but I can stay in my office and give advice, ISWAP, Boko Haram and killer herdsmen are collaborators.
“In Igbo culture of ‘Onye-aghala-nwanne-ya’, I want to make it clear to all and sundry that any attack on any Igbo soil is an attack on the entire Igbo land. The Igbo will never fold their hands and watch people invade them in their homes, destroy their property, rape their wives and kill them.
“I am constrained to sound this warning as the chairman of Ohanaeze Council of Elders that we we will no longer accept a situation where our people are invaded by terrorists.
“We will take every step to defend the lives and property of our people, we have passed through this journey and violence of war and we know it is very painful and lonely journey. That is the reason all elders of Igbo land are passionate about peace and unity in one Nigeria restructured under a new constitution that can protect every part of the country and create incentive to the benefit of the people and Nigeria,” Iwuanyanwu said.
•IPOB vows to avenge deaths with ESN
Regardless of the impending meeting, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has vowed to avenge the deaths, insisting that its vigilante outfit, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) was ready for the mission.
Spokesperson for the group, Emma Powerful, in a statement, pointed out that leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, has always envisaged a day like this will come, which informed why he established the security outfit.
“We assure them that these genocides will not go unpunished. Our gallant ESN personnel will respond proportionately. We are prepared for them, we knew a time like this will come, and that was why Kanu floated ESN ahead of time to defend Biafrans against these blood suckers.
“Again, we vow that ESN will avenge the blood of the innocent Biafrans spilled by these demons from Sahel. But woe betide any hypocrite in DSS, police or military uniform that will rise to their defence when ESN pays them back in their own coin.
“Where are the South East and South South governors and their 2023 madness now that their citizens are slaughtered like fowls? Where is the weeping Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State as rice farmers in Adani have become games for Fulani herdsmen.
“Where is Ohanaeze Ndigbo and their leadership, George Obiozor and co? Where is Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma? Where is Joe Igbokwe. The die is cast. That dark moment that our Leader saw many years ago has finally dawned. Those who want ESN outlawed should provide alternative now that the killers are on the prowl,” he said in the statement.
•Group condemns killings
Victims of Persecution (VoP) have condemned the killings of defenceless women, children and other persons in four communities of Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State by herdsmen.
In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, the group called on security agencies to do the needful.
The Rapporteur, Victims of Persecution and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chukwuma-Machukwu Umeh, in a statement, said: “It is shocking that Nigerian citizens, including the rural dwellers in their villages would always be subjected to these murderous escapades on daily basis and nothing happens to the murderers.
“The constitutional duty of the military is to ward off armed invasion in any part and territory of Nigeria while the police and the para-militaries are to ensure public law and order are ensured in the country. How come these foreign mercenaries are having unfettered field days in our country?
“We are asking, in the face of these armed invasions and insurrections by these foreign killers/herdsmen and occupiers, why is the government appearing helpless, inactive or unperturbed?”