…As South-east politicians meet Buhari
The Nigerian Army has admitted killing members of the Indigenous People of
Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign
State of Biafra (MASSOB), who were celebrating the 49th Anniversary of the
declaration of Biafra by late Col Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in 1967, in
Onitsha, Anambra State and other parts of the South-east region.
The army said it killed 5 MASSOB/IPOB members but eyewitness accounts said
over 40 protesters were killed.
Nigerian Army has a reputation for killing innocent civilians, an issue
raised by Amnesty International in the case of the massacre of Shiite
Muslims in Kaduna and the confrontation with Boko Haram north-east region
of the country.
The Pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Deputy President
of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, condemned in strong terms the mass murders of
innocent young men on a peaceful protest even as some Igbo politicians led
by Senator Ike Ekweremadu held a closed door meeting with President
Mohammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The army statement signed the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of
the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Col. H.A. Gambo, said pro-Biafran
agitators became violent and attacked security agents at a school on Atta
Road near Saint Edmund’s Catholic Parish, Maryland, Nkpor-Agu in Anambra
State during the protest.
“The nature of this attack involved brazen employment of various types of
firearms and all sorts of crude weapons, volatile cocktail such as acid
and dynamites. Instructively troops of 82 Division Nigerian Army, as the
lead agency of the security agencies, had to invoke the extant Rules of
Engagement (ROE) to resort to self-defence, protection of the strategic
Niger Bridge, prevents reinforcement of the pro-Biafran members
apparently surging ahead from the far side of the strategic Niger Bridge
“All these efforts were in order to de-escalate the palpable tension, as
well as ward off the apparent threats to lives and property in the general
area. In the aftermath of the firefight that ensued, many of our troops
sustained varying degrees of injury. These injured troops are currently
receiving treatment at our medical centre. Similarly, five members of
MASSOB/IPOB were killed, eight wounded while nine were arrested for due
legal actions,” he said.
Ohaneze while condemning the killings said it was convening an emergency
“Ïmeobi” meeting to consider the next step to take.
“We think it is inappropriate to use excessive force that will result in
the death of so many people. We are going to convene an emergency meeting
of the Imeobi to know the next step to take,” said the President-General
of the association, Chief Enwo Igariwey.
Speaking on the development, Ekweremadu drew the attention of the Senate
to the bloodbath in the South-east noting that in view of the bloodshed
witnessed in the country, security agencies must apply caution in
containing peaceful rallies other than decimating young men and women.
“Yesterday, I had a number of calls about the disturbing clashes between
youths in different parts of the South-East, South-South and security
agencies, leading to the death of many people, both of the young men and
“It is important that we rise to condemn any act of killing in any part of
this country, especially the ones that concern the major part of our
future, which remains the young men and women of this country.
“We are now in a democracy and people should be entitled to speak their
minds; to assemble under responsible and lawful circumstances; and the
security agencies must also be responsible in dealing with those
circumstances to ensure that lives are not lost unnecessarily”, he