Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has condemned alleged killing of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Onitsha, Anambra State, by soldiers on Monday.
Reports indicated that military forces descended heavily on IPOB and MASSOB members who gathered in the state to mark Biafra Day anniversary.
Piqued by the ugly incident, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in a statement signed yesterday by its Secretary General, Dr Joe Nwaorgu and made available to Daily Sun in Enugu said: “We are traumatised by the outrageous killing of the members of IPOB and MASSOB in cold blood in the early hours of Monday, May 30 and then, in the afternoon of the same day.
‘‘We are unimpressed and unconvinced by the talk of provocation. What level of provocation will warrant the firing of teargas, without first calling on a crowd, legal or illegal, to disperse?
‘‘The teargas was followed by a salvo of gunfire with live-bullets, No! No! No No! Igbo nation is outraged and condemns these killings in the strongest terms.
‘‘Such should never happen, whether under military dictatorship or democracy. Ndigbo are known democrats from time immemorial.
‘‘We believe in competition. We are not a violent people. Consequently, Ohanaeze calls on Anambra State government to immediately set up an investigative panel to get full records of what occurred.
“The Federal Government also, should set up its own inquiry, to give the world the true picture. This is necessary so that justice is seen to be done.
In a related development, an Abakaliki Magistrate Court has granted bail to 88 members of MASSOB arrested by the Ebonyi State Police command in Abakaliki during the Biafra Day celebration.
Police had stormed Nkaliki Primary School, Abakaliki Local Government Area of the state, venue of an inter-denominational service by the group and arrested many members mid-way into a prayer session to commemorate the Biafra day.
Eighty-eight people were arraigned before the court on a four-count charge of conspiracy, belonging to an unlawful society, membership of unlawful group and possession of items calling for the declaration of Biafra. The accused persons pleaded not guilty after the charges were read to them.
In her ruling, trial Magistrate, Stella Ogoke, granted the accused persons bail with N500,000 and seven sureties who must be within the magisterial jurisdiction and adjourned the matter till July, 18, 2016 for definite hearing.
Meanwhile, Parish Priest of St. Edmumd’s Catholic Parish, Nkpor, Rev. Fr. David Ojukwu has distanced the church from activities of IPOB.
Reacting to reports that some IPOB members, who went to the church for vigil, to seek the face of God were shot by soldiers inside the church, said no such incident took place there.
Fr. Ojukwu told Daily Sun, yesterday, that no IPOB member came to the church for vigil while no soldier entered the church or shot at anybody within the church premises.
He also dismissed the rumour making the rounds that he was kidnapped by armed soldiers or Fulani herdsmen. (Daily Sun)