The clash between IPOB members and security operatives resulting in the death of many people calls for serious concern.
The IPOB members were killed in broad daylight by a combined team of DSS, Police and Nigerian army in Enugu
Before now, it was the unprovoked ethnic cleansing and the rampant murder of Igbos in the north that ignited the Biafran war. These days, the government is now using security agents to wipe out unarmed Igbo youths in broad daylight, forgetting that these people have families and loved ones. While these Igbo youths do no carry guns, the government makes excuses for itself to justify the unconscionable executions.
The government sends its security agents to raid meetings held by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members. This the government does to fulfill the objective for which it declared them a terrorist group - to slaughter and gun them down in cold blood, after all, they are 'terrorists'. While the government's plan may be working perfectly well, the Igbos are the ones losing able-bodied men, youths in their numbers who make up a large chunk of IPOB's support base.
The recent massacre of IPOB members in Enugu by a combined team of police, DSS, and the military on the 23rd of August, 2020 could be a catalyst capable of turning Nigeria into another war zone, remember it happened before.
Eyewitness account according to Punch said that the IPOB members were holding a peaceful meeting at St. Patrick’s Secondary School Emene community in Enugu State when the team of security agents stormed, blocked the entrance with two hilux vans. Before you could say jack, blood of IPOB members flowed in the school compound as many of them were shot dead. To worsen things, the security agents after killing them, carried their bodies to an unknown place. This story is not new to people who live in the south-east because this is how security operatives in Nigeria operate. They place no value on human life especially when they are in the south-east.
While cowardly Igbo elite class turn the other way for the opportunity to grab power in 2023, another war is being staged by the government with its thirst for the blood of Igbo youths whose only crime is to come together for a meeting to advance the cause of the ethnic group. While the government failed to act where needed by declaring killer Fulani herdsmen and bandits who have raped, maimed, killed, and wiped out villages in Southern Kaduna as terrorists, it has carried on with its agenda to reduce the number of youths in Igboland. The government using its security agents have continued to carry out multiple raids at IPOB meeting places, killing and executing members of the group who are unarmed and peaceful. From Aba to Port Harcourt, Owerri, Onitsha and Enugu, the story is the same. The government believes IPOB members pose a threat to the unity of the country even though the group has remained unarmed over the years.
It is sad many Nigerians have decided to remain silent while the government goes about killing unarmed youths of Igbo extraction with the excuse that they are members of the Indigenous People of Biafra. More disappointing is the decision of the so-called Igbo leaders, groups, and politicians to remain silent and watch the government takedown unarmed youths in cold blood. Governors, senators, house of representative members, and traditional rulers from the south-east should be ashamed of themselves. They have failed in their duties to call the federal government to order for the unjustified execution of these unarmed youths. Failure on their part to liaise with the federal government and discuss lingering issues causing these agitations is a recurring decimal that has continued to jeopardize the country's existence. They make it seem like IPOB is a prodigal group, senseless at best fighting for a forgotten and lost cause - all on their own. They are comfortable to pen bogus words on social media and speak eloquently at conferences condemning the killing of black people in America, Uk etc; same folks keep silent while security agents in Nigeria execute unarmed IPOB youths in broad daylight. Indeed, while they are comfortable with the Nigeria of today as beneficiaries, the spilling of innocent blood of unarmed Igbo youths by the FG is not their concern.
Of course, this also shows that there is no real leadership or political force coming from the south-east as it is obvious these so-called elite are yes-boys of the government.
This untoward trend by the government to kill IPOB members at will has continued for too long. Some years back, some videos went viral on social media showing men of the Nigerian army forcing IPOB members to drink and swim inside dirty water. It sparked outrage and widespread condemnation from people. These unprovoked attacks against a peaceful group whose only form of rebellion is to organize protests in some of the states will be more catastrophic if they are forced to carry arms against the state. We will have another Somalia on our hands.
Today, the soldiers who forced those IPOB members to drink and swim in dirty water, strip them of their clothes and assaulted them in full view of the public walk about free men. The army swept the matter under the carpet as usual. They are IPOB members, after all, you can execute, assault, murder them, no one cares.
Whatever comes out of it, I hope those who remained silent while this unjust act goes on unabated will not die of guilt. I am not an IPOB member, but I am a Nigerian with eyes, ears, and a sound mind. The truth is: everyone knows that what the government is doing to IPOB members is unjust, inhumane, and unwarranted. But, because of some people's selfish political and financial interest, they have chosen to remain silent. That silence may just be another war!
Alexander Thandi Ubani writes from Lagos.