From Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja and Peter Anosike
President General of the apex Igbo organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo has flayed the setting up of a panel by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General T.Y. Buratai to investigate the alleged killing of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) by troops of the Nigerian Army.
He said the army could not be a judge in its case.
Nwodo, in a two-page statement titled, “Buratai, With Respect, You Cannot Be a Judge In Your Own Court” and signed by him, stated that Buratai’s inquiry could not stand the test of objectivity and therefore, its outcome would not be acceptable to the umbrella body.
The Ohanaeze boss expressed regret that his ceaseless call for a judicial commission of inquiry on the army’s brutality fell on deaf ears until Amnesty International got involved.
“In Ezu River in Anambra State, 21 bodies floated for two months without anyone identifying them up till today. Claims that they were MASSOB members hacked down by combined Police and Army personnel remain uninvestigated.
“In Aba, IPOB members were gunned down by soldiers for just gathering to hold a meeting. No investigation was done.
“In Port Harcourt, IPOB claims 11 of their members were killed by soldiers. I called for an inquiry, nothing happened. Instead, further killings were done in Asaba.
Nwodo said Ohanaeze is not opposed to the Army chief carrying out an internal investigation, but noted that “the findings of such an investigation will neither be acceptable to Ohanaeze nor stand the test of objectivity until it is subjected to an impartial body. The basis of our rule of law is that you must not be a judge in your own court.”
Nwodo cautioned that the Army chief was exacerbating the mood of IPOB members by his threat that Nigeria cannot be divided in his lifetime, describing it as unnecessary.
In continuation of his tour, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief John Nwodo would on Sunday, meet with the chieftains of South West Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
According to Prince Nathaniel Uzomah, president, Ohanaeze Ndigbo South West zone, the deputy president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, Chief Hillary Opara and other national officers would be in the entourage of the president general.
Uzomah who is also the president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Ekiti State said Nwodo and his entourage would also use the opportunity of the tour to pay courtesy visit to the governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose and the Ewi of Ado Ekiti.
He said this is the first time that president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo was coming to meet Igbo living in any other state in the South West outside Lagos and commended the new president general for choosing to make the difference.
He called all Igbo in the South West geo-political zone to troop out to give the august visitors rousing a welcome. In his contribution, the secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo South West zone, Chief Iheonunekwu George described the election of John Nwodo and his executive as a new dawn in Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
George who is also the president of Ohanaeze in Osun State said within two months of his election,Nwodo has begin to restore the image of the apex Igbo social cultural organization.
According to him ,Nwodo`s visit to Ekiti is historic and a step in the right direction as it would give the Igbo living in the other states outside Lagos and Abuja sense of belonging.
Also contributing the publicity secretary of the organization ,Peter Anosike called on Ndigbo to give Nwodo and his executive total support .
According to him ,the Nwodo administration came on a board at a historic time and as such Igbo need to put their political and ideological differences aside to enable Ndigbo recover their lost identity.
He said since the new administration came on board ,it has shown in words and action that it is ready to take Ndigbo to the next level.