Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Coup d’etat is in the offing in Nigeria. Soldiers are on the loose. And unless somebody makes a sacrifice to be the peacemaker, Nigeria is in for the worst. My fears though. I may be right. I may be wrong. But, their acts in Abia state of recent have exposed that the Army officers and men are tired of the barracks and wish to take over governance? Civilians appear to them as fowls and non-consequential especially in Igboland.
Hypocritically, IPOB has turned to a dog given a bad name in order to hang it. And all the killings, burning of Churches and other atrocities against Christians and Ndigbo in the North coupled by hate speeches by Arewa youths as well as the numerous killings by Herdsmen across Nigeria, the Army has never deemed them terrorist sect but for throwing stones and the likes, IPOB was branded a terrorist group even when the group could be seen as indigenous people not an organization.
Though Nnamdi Kanu stretched his luck. He insults everybody and misses opportunities of being a better hero if not overstretching his limit with no election in Anambra rather than mobilize to unseat a governor in Anambra and South-East before unseating the President. And with that the narrative changes but I was insulted for suggesting that. Are there strategists around him or he knows it all? His numerical strength in followership in unequalled but he spilt all those respects.
South-East Governors led by Engr David Nweze Umahi of Ebonyi state disappointed me with the blanket proscription of the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), particularly on timing. Even though this singular act would save Igbo youths both within and outside from further annihilation. There was no diplomacy and they have lost Nnamdi Kanu and his boys. The intimidation and confrontation stance was not right. They would have done it since, but without the word proscribe.
Their activities would have been suspended with the request that they channel their grievances through them or Ohanaeze Ndigbo with efforts for all to see they are indeed serious. Their silence on the killings in South East which they summarized as ‘’investigation is ongoing on all allegations of killings , maiming and other unlawful conduct in South-East’’, was alarming. People died and the Governors would have condemned the killings first before any other word but those who died have paid the supreme prize.
But proscribing a group when soldiers invaded them and their leaders’ home , slaughtered some and worse, those on transit with their Biafra insignia, were assaulted, humiliated , shot at and killed at will. The resistance by the IPOB members and the affront when soldiers invaded Nnamdi Kanu’s residence shows that should the group carry arms, the soldiers would have been swallowed effortlessly by people considered rag-tag.
The Babaric attack on journalists in Umuahia is enough to confirm the unprovoked attacks, maiming and killing of IPOB members who took delight in wearing the Biafran insignia and shouting no election in Anambra without even a den gun. The actions of the Nigerian Army against Journalists and IPOB members were not only barbaric, shameful and throwback of dark days of military era that thrives in dictatorship. President Muhammed Buhari may have been provoked by the utterances of Nnamdi Kanu and his request for guns to attack Nigeria allegedly but he should have shown maturity as a civilian President especially when he did worst things to former President Goodluck Jonathan overtly or covertly.
The worst has happened, that IPOB is not a creation of law is enough tragedy and that the IPOB would put resistance is not in doubt. IPOB never sees itself as a terrorist group and never done anything funny unless when provoked by some ‘rats and worms’ in uniform as security agents but without tact and candour as officers paid with tax payers money. Not that I am interested in Kanu’s ego to be massaged because, so many things were wrong in his approach which I did a piece on and got barrage of threats and insults. But the actions of the Nigerian Army disciplined for better civil relations was not only condemnable but totally unacceptable. These are aggrieved Nigerians and not warriors at battle field. What is throwing of stones and cudgels or whatever they call it for the army to use life ammunitions against fellow Nigerians? Mob could do worst things? Why targeting Ndigbo? We have external aggressors at Bakkasi Peninsular and even within at , Plateau state, Taraba state, Borno state among others, yet no life ammunition have been wielded on them aside confirmed Boko Haram killers. The videos and photos of Igbo boys and girls murdered in cold blood filled me with pains that I can’t believe Nigerian Army could be so callous. Why is 1967 repeating itself in 2017?
Yes! Igbo land is in pains. Her youths are being massacred in cold blood by a set of senseless, brainless, uneducated and uncivilized beings who found themselves in a reputed military, our pride.
These ‘rats and maggots in the army’ derive joy in shooting at sight innocent, impressionable, and exuberant insignia carrying young men who believed they were marginalized and abandoned by a government that ordinarily should cater for them.
Their only crime was their resolve to resonate as much as possible the Biafran spirit lost since 1967 and whether on the right course or wrong course is a topic of another day.
The shocking 2 minutes, 27 seconds video of soldiers brutalizing unarmed Igbo youths simply for adoring clothes associated with Biafra along Port Harcourt road Aba few days the Operation Python dance 11, Egwu Eke started was unbelievable. After thoroughly hitting scores of youths travelling peacefully to unstated destination with their wipes, rods, canes and rifles, they were pushed into stagnant flood water along the highway.
That was not enough, they were asked to soak their heads in inside it under heavy flogging. They turned and rolled over severally in pains to the delight of the soldiers. Some were even shot. When they could not bear the agonies anymore, they suffocated into coma and were brought out spread like fish just from the oven and they died like stock fishes to the relish of their tormentors.
The video is already viral and soon the Army Authorities would deny it as usual but their denials are already known to the international community following the attack on the media in Umuahia, Abia state and the invasion of the home of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Whatever they say is for the dogs! The deed is done.
As Abia boils, Operation Egwu Eke also has a location in Anambra state since 12th September, 2017, precisely at Oba Airport site as approved by Governor Willie Obiano for its military exercise which according to the SSG Prof Solo Osita Chukwulobelu who conveyed the message via a circular ref GH/SSG/SECO/017/2 is to encourage cordial relationship between civilians and the security operatives and deter criminals as well discourage criminality. Complete hogwash and insult on sensibilities of Ndigbo.
In less than a week, over 200 Igbo youths have died and others injured for not saying a word to anybody ascribed as a hate speech like what the Arewa youths did or carried arms into anybody’s abode like the Fulani Herdsmen and their ilk. The Igbo youths were humiliated, tortured and killed for believing in their tribe and carrying insignia of Biafra. They could be members of MASSOB, BIM, IPOB or any of such groups reminding President Buhari on the need to let Ndigbo go whether in euphoria of it or a reality yet to come.
Can I ask God why he created Muslims to torment Christians for nothing and why he allowed Northern Nigeria to be part of Nigeria when their religious belief is all about war, kill and maim without any form of tolerance for a contrary religious view? Why should FRSC, NSCDC, Nigerian police and Nigerian Army assault, maim and kill people from the East for nothing and look the other way when it concerns the North? A farmer coming home with his machete and hunter with den gun would be arrested, paraded and branded whereas a Fulani Herdsmen and other Northerners carry about Jack Knife and AK 47 among other weapons and nobody stops them? Injustice in all angles, yet nobody appears noticing it. What a beautiful country turning itself against itself.
No matter the provocation, the Army would have restrained itself from these bizarre signals it has sent to the world in so short a time. Operation Python dance has overstayed its welcome and should seize for the agitation for a sovereign state Biafra is beyond ruthless killing of agitators and sympathizers without any forms of weapon.
The Nigerian Army is gradually creating monsters with these forcefully approach to civilian issues. And the earlier the IPOB members and others like them agitating for a Biafran state are engaged in a peaceful dialogue rather than this arbitrary radicalization ongoing unknown to many sequel to military confrontation, the better for this country. Let the economy and the polity be conducive and agitations would go naturally.
Joining my stance in the condemnation, the president of the EU commission Mr Jean-Claude Junker insisted the Nigerian Military and other security agencies have acted ill hearted and unprofessional in a democratic nation and have abused rights of its people, insisting that Biafrans have right to self-determination.
Junker said: “It is the people’s right to agitate and make a request from their government, self-determination is a right enshrined in the United Nation Charta.
“The people of BIAFRA have every right to request for a referendum, they have been in this struggle for a while now they have never killed or shot a bullet instead they are the victims of attacks and murder.
“The entire EU hereby condemn the brutal attack on IPOB members and leadership under the pretentious disguise of a military exercise (Operation Python Dance) Nigerian military is warned to adopt democratic tenets in handling citizens.
“The EU will not sit and watch things go undemocratic in the largest economy of the West African region”.
To me, Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has failed woefully in his duties even if he was coerced into such act? Can the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar, take a bold step as he did in restoring peace between Azuofia Edda, Okpuitumo, Ofomana in Osopong of Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi state and Ogorude and Ofumuna communities in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River state warring communities on 8th September, 2017, since some leaders have refused to be just and fair in handling their subjects?
Though Abubakar claimed his efforts were in accordance with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant, General Buratai but I doubt that following the utterances of the Army Chief at the fallout of invasion of Abia state by his men who behaved in most unbecoming of trained soldiers. I can only say why President Buhari? Why Buratai?
Odogwu Emeka Odogwu is a Journalist and Editor based in South East Nigeria. He could be reached via 08060750240 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org