Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, has alleged that the Nigeria Army is clamping down on Igbo youth, as well as secretly killing them.
The group in a statement by its spokesperson, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said the army is labelling random youth in the region members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) as an excuse to arrest and kill them without any evidence.
Ohanaeze wondered why the military could not go after gun wielding criminal herdsmen invading Igbo communities, kidnapping for ransom, killing, raping and destroying farmlands instead of abducting Igbo youths from their villages, profiling them as IPOB, ESN and taken to unknown destinations.
“The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has been drawn to ongoing massive arrests of Igbo youths by the Nigerian Army,” the statement said.
“The report indicates that the military personnel, suspected to be led by the 34 Artillery Brigade, Owerri, since Sunday have been arresting male residents and youths, particularly in Oguta and Ohaji communities and clamping them into vans and taking them to unknown destinations.
“Such action runs contrary to every sense of natural justice and rights of citizenship for the army to invade some Igbo communities in search of youths; most of whom are brilliant university graduates whose society has denied employment and sense of belonging.
“For the armed forces to arrest the Igbo youths without evidence of arms, means of violence or crime is cowardly, uncivilised and mostly unacceptable to Ohanaeze Ndigbo. We stand on a firm wicket that it is ruthless to arrest any Igbo in the guise of membership of a terrorist organization unless there is sufficient evidence of crime or unlawful possession of fire arms.
“We call on the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru to urgently stop the wave of arrests before it gives impetus to the proposal by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigrationton offer asylum to person who actively and openly supports IPOB and likely to be at risk of arrest or detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution.”