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Biafra: Initiate dialogue with IPOB now, Nwodo tells FG

 Biafra: Initiate dialogue with IPOB now, Nwodo tells FG The immediate-past President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, ...

 Biafra: Initiate dialogue with IPOB now, Nwodo tells FG

The immediate-past President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has urged the federal government to immediately initiate talks with the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB  “and find a peaceful resolution of their legitimate grudges”.

Nwodo who stated this while delivering a pre-convocation lecture of the 27th/ 28th convocation ceremony of the Abia State University Uturu on Thursday said that the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation was done in a hurry.

The former Ohanaeze helmsman also faulted the placement of IPOB and Boko Haram on the same pedestal as terror groups, arguing that such grading is unjust.

Nwodo further argued that the emergence of self-determination groups in Nigeria was a reflection of distrust and loss of confidence of Nigerians in the leadership.

” In the recent past, self-determination groups have sprung up in Nigeria. The rise of these groups reveal frustration and dissatisfaction of our youths on the economic and political state of our country

” Of all these groups, IPOB and Boko Haram have been designated as terrorist organisations by the federal government. This development in relation to IPOB is unfortunate.

” Boko Haram is an armed organisation which has attacked and occupied Nigerian territory hoisted its flag and appointed local Authority Governments.

” It has adopted and abused Nigerian women, kidnapped and imprisoned many school children and killed over 200, 000 people. It is still involved in guerrilla warfare against Nigeria yet the federal government is still negotiating with them.

” No member of Boko Haram captured by the military is under trial. Members of this federal government are on record for condemning the previous Government for the brutal murder of Boko Haram members and condemning a retired Chief of Army Staff for zealous persecution of the anti-terror campaign.

” Members of the sect who confess to a change of mind have been received along with their abducted female partners in the Presidency, rehabilitated and even absorbed in our armed forces

” Whereas I am not completely in agreement with some of the methods of IPOB like its inappropriate and divisive broadcasts, the uncontested evidence given by the Attorney General of the Federation in an interlocutory action claiming that IPOB attempted/or actually snatched guns from law enforcement agents are, if proven, mere criminal offences.

” Happily the United States Embassy in Nigeria in 2017 asserted that the United States Government does not recognize IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

” This same IPOB that is being stigmatized by the Nigerian Government had its members murdered in Asaba, Nkpor, Aba and Port Harcourt simply for having public demonstrations without the federal government ordering a judicial inquiry.

” Instead, after I called for one, while I was President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Amnesty International provided evidence that 150 of them were killed, the then Chief of Army Staff set up an inquiry on the incident composed of serving and retired army officers, thus abandoning the rules of natural justice which prescribes that you cannot be a judge in your own court!”

According to Nwodo, Ndigbo considers the treatment of IPOB by the federal government as “unfair, discriminatory and overhanded.”

” They see the moves as an attempt to encourage a profiling of Igbo in the international security arena.

” We know some other self-determination groups in Nigeria that are armed and have destroyed government and private sector installations that Government prefers to negotiate with rather than labelling them as terrorist organisations.

” Fulani herdsmen otherwise called Fulani militants have ravaged farms in Middle Belt, South West, and South-Eastern Nigeria killing several farmers in the process.

“In January 2016 they killed 500 farmers and their families in Agatu, Benue State. In Enugu State, they murdered more than 100 farmers in Ukpabi Nimbo in April 2016.

” In Benue, they invaded a Catholic Church, killed two priests and members of the choir. Pictures of them dancing in the uniform of the choir members dominated the social media at that time without anyone being arrested.

” Photographs depicting them with automatic rifles in our farms and village neighbourhoods trend in the social media, yet not one of them is facing criminal charges, nor is Operation Python Dance being conducted in the areas where they ravage and kill, and the federal government describes them as criminals and not a terrorist organisation.

” This is in spite of their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world.”

Nwodo asked the federal government to stop using sledgehammers on IPOB members while pampering real terrorists.

” Today Northern Muslim clerics are escorted by soldiers and policemen to negotiation trips with bandits but self-determination groups led by Sunday Igboho, and Nnamdi KANU are raided and mained by the same soldiers.”

The former Information and Aviation Minister insisted that dialogue and not military options remained the way to resolve the IPOB matter and the growing agitations for self-rule.

“This brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concern the South East is provocative. I recommend a more diplomatic and humane approach. This current approach makes it impossible for leaders in the South East to effectively contain the anger of their youths”.

Senator Nwaka had in his opening remarks urged the students to believe in themselves and draw inspiration from heroes and heroines of our time.

The VC, Professor Ogbolu, said his administration was poised to consolidate on the legendary foundations of his predecessors and take the university to a higher pedestal.

Vanguard News

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