From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Southeast elders under the aegis of Conference of Concerned Igbo Elders for Peace and National Unity (COEPENA), have accused the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) of constituting nuisance, following its alleged recent attacks on security operatives in Orlu, Imo State and the burning of Abayi Police Station in Aba, Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area of Abia State.
The group’s National President, Professor William Okocha, and National Secretary, Irene Chizoba, in a statement, yesterday, called on relevant authorities to deal decisively with IPOB members, adding that the current level of force being deployed was not enough to curb its alleged violent excesses. They argued that if President Muhammadu Buhari had appointed someone from the region as one of the service chiefs, the spate of violent activities rocking the zone now would not have emanated.
The statement reads: “We use this opportunity to call on the military and other concerned authorities to bring the full weight of the law to bear on the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, in a manner that will ensure the restoration of permanent peace and order to the South East region.
“As respected elders committed to national unity, peace and cohesion, we rise in condemnation of the violent activities of IPOB, which we hasten to note, is not a representation of the Igbo.
“Ndigbo are peace-loving and peace-building people, whose commitment to the national cause is irrevocable, regardless of the negative tendencies of a few deviants, who have constituted themselves into cogs in the wheel of progress.
“Now is, therefore, the time for all well-meaning Igbo sons and daughters to condemn the wicked activities of IPOB to drive home the point that they do not have our endorsement – tacit or open.
“How long shall we allow IPOB to lead this campaign of destruction against our collective will, before we rise against them with all our might and strength?
“While the dust raised by their attack on security operatives within Orlu and its environs was yet to settle, we woke up on Tuesday to witness the mindless attack on Abayi police station in Aba, Osisioma Ngwa Local Council of Abia State, which claimed the lives of two officers.
“Apart from IPOB, we also want to raise serious concerns over the continued exclusion of our zone from national issues, the latest being the non-consideration of any military officer of Igbo extraction for appointment as service chief.”
“The Conference of Concerned Igbo Elders for Peace and National Unity observes that this trend has been amplified under the current administration in the country.
“It is on this basis, that we throw our support to Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the review of appointments of service chiefs, to accommodate an Igbo son, thereby reflecting the federal character principle.”
“Nonetheless, we suspect that the discordant tunes among Ndigbo, especially politicians, have continued to rob us of our entitlements in national equation.
“To address this anomaly, therefore, we urge all Igbo sons and daughters, who are 18 years and above, to register and obtain membership cards of the ruling All Progressives Congress, which is currently undertaking fresh registration and revalidating exercise.”