From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Pan-Arewa socio-political group, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has condemned the Killings in the South East region of the country.
NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders in the South East to address the problem, adding that “dark forces at play to destroy the country under their watch.”
Baba-Ahmed 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 clearly intended to inflame passions and trigger national or inter-communal crises.
“Shocking images of murder of Northerners, including children, are being deliberately circulated by the very people who murder them, to provoke widespread anger.
“This Forum condemns this barbarism in the strongest terms available, and demands that those who have responsibility to bring these outrageous provocations to an end, must do so.
“There has never been a better time than now for 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 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 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.”