Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo Worldwide has viewed with serious concern and consternation the reported plans of the Nigerian Army to commence engagement of youths in the South East zone under the auspices of the Shoot-At-Sight order recently given to the Nigerian soldiers. The apex Igbo body had in a recent statement issued and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia expressed worry of the development.
The statement read in part “The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to the “Shoot at Sight Order” given to the Nigerian soldiers on how to engage the Igbo youths in the oncoming week. The Sahara Reporters, May 8, elaborated on the new secret plan which by the grace of God has come to the public domain. The report further revealed that the exercise will commence from Orlu in Imo State, South East Nigeria. This is very disturbing.”
It stated further that “The pattern of deployment of northern military officers to the South-East lends credence to the above report. Sahara Reporters revealed that in preparation for the above, the Nigerian army has posted Northern Muslims as commanders over its operations and brigades in Anambra, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Benue, Edo, Delta and Rivers. In Anambra State, the Cantonment Commandant of the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, is Col Abdulsalam Abubakar Sambo, a Hausa-Fulani Muslim; while in Imo State, the Brigade Commander of 34 Brigade, Obinze, is Brig Gen Ibrahim Tukura, another northerner; in Abia State, the Brigade Commander of 14 Brigade, Ohafia, is Brig Gen M. Ibrahim, still, a northerner; while in Akwa Ibom State, the Brigade Commander of 2 Brigade, Uyo, is Brig Gen Faruk Mijinyawa, another northerner. This is truly worrisome! “.
Chief Ogbonnia recalled that “The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Prof. George Obiozor, an erudite scholar, seasoned diplomat with diverse experience in governments has admonished the Nigerian government to “learn a lesson from history by not fighting an unwinnable war against nationalism but seek possible peaceful options that are the only solution that guarantees national unity and peaceful coexistence”” even as he,
Obiozor, lamented that “subnational consciousness or ethnocentric nationalism which is a dangerous form of nationalism to national unity has taken over Nigeria”.
According to the statement,the Ohanaeze President General had insisted that “the dream of Nigeria unity is receding and fading fast with violence, crises and conflicts” ,while pointing out the recent position on governance by Senator Shehu Sani, the former senator for Kaduna central, who vehemently decried that the Igbo have been systematically marginalised since the civil war.
Speaking in Kaduna at a meeting organised by the Association of Eze-Ndigbo in the Diaspora on Saturday, May 8, 2021, Sani had reportedly described the marginalisation as a “collective punishment”, adding that“There has been a systemic exclusion and marginalisation of your people, stemming from the historical Biafra war. This is a collective punishment”, he had declared.
Chief Ogbonnia opined “Every right thinking Nigerian, who loves the corporate existence of Nigeria, should align with the Shehu Sani position. The problem with Nigeria in general and the Igbo in particular is located in injustice and the simple solution lays in manifest dialogue, equity and justice.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo therefore warned that Shoot at Sight Order to soldiers on Igbo youth is a call for another pogrom and genocide.”Ohanaeze also asked the federal government to refrain from the use of force in resolving the present national crises which in the words of Prof Obiozor are bound to fail “History shows that military and violent means to solve the national question is bound to fail as it leads to further national fractionalization, anarchy and eventual or inevitable disintegration, as in all Empires or multi-national states or countries”, he submitted.