From Magnus Eze, Enugu and Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has described the ongoing gruesome killings in the South East as a very strange phenomenon in the Igbo cosmology and culture, noting that the Igbo culture strongly abhors killing of mankind, no matter the circumstance.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation stated that the killing of a human being is an abomination which attracts heavy sanctions, including ostracism, for a stipulated number of years.
It categorically condemned the recent killings, including the beheading a member of Anambra State House of Assembly, Okechukwu Okoye, and his aide as well as the gruesome murder of some northerners in Anambra State.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Professor Obiozor, recalled with nostalgia that the South East was adjudged the most peaceful before the attack on the Correctional Centre, Owerri, Imo State, and the release of 1,844 inmates by ‘unknown’ gunmen on April 5, 2021.
A statement by National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia, stated that since then, the South East had been in a macabre romance with siege, atrocities, abominations, arson, all forms of violence and to the worst of the extremes-killing of human beings.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo faulted the remark by the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Echeng Echeng, to the effect that community leaders were shielding the criminals, thereby, rendering investigations and arrests very difficult.
The group said it was inconceivable for anyone to expect the Oludan of Ibadan; the Oba of Benin and the Emir of Kano to monitor the crime rate in their highly populated domains.
Ohanaeze, however, commended the Anambra State Police Command for its gallantry, commitment and sacrifice, while urging the community vigilantes, youths, community leaders, traditional rulers and all well-meaning Igbo to rise to the occasion, in collaboration with the police, to wipe out the ugly trend.
Also, the 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 are 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.
“This Forum condemns the barbarism in the strongest terms available, and demands that those who have responsibility to bring these outrageous provocations to an end, must do so.
The forum advises against any temptation to resort to violence under the impression that revenge is a solution to the targeting of particular groups.
“The forum invites the 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.”