The apex Igbo sociocultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has said not less than 513 Igbo people, mostly youth, have been killed by Nigerian Army and other security agents in the past 160 days, even as residents say young men are routinely arrested and killed.
In a statement signed on Tuesday by its Secretary-General, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Ohanaeze condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s dot-in-a circle comment targeted at Igbo people.
Last Thursday, Buhari had threatened that his government would mobilise the military and the police to go after the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) accused of disturbing the peace in the South-East region, while suggesting that every Igbo person is IPOB.
He had said IPOB is “just like a dot in a circle and they have nowhere to turn to. They are spread everywhere and they have investments and properties everywhere and in other areas.
“They don’t know what they are doing. How we will handle them is to mobilise the police and the military to go after them.”
Ohanaeze described the President’s comment as disastrous, noting that ‘no damage control or image laundering will assuage this collective assault on Ndigbo’.
The group stated that the silence of Northern leaders is proof that they are happy over the position of President Buhari on Southeastern Nigeria.
Isiguzoro noted that Igbo people are emergency experts in all situations and will be a dot in the circle that will swallow nepotistic anarchists and anti-Igbo exponents.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide had charged the leadership of the North to speak out against discrimination against Igbos and divisiveness being created by disastrous declarations of President Muhammadu Buhari describing how the southeast is landlocked and no damage control or image laundering will assuage this collective assault on Ndigbo,” the statement said.
“It appears that there are chains of crafted skirmish programmed to either aggravate the traumas of Ndigbo or remind them of the sordid past a few years ago, and with ‘a dot in a circle’ slogan that was used to pulverize Igbos during the Biafra war that left 3 million people dead, especially women and children. Right now in 160 days, 513 Igbos had been killed, 2,436 arrested and 854 missing in the ongoing ‘imported’ insecurity challenges in the southeast.
“The ‘dot in the circle’ is a new signal to point out that Ndigbo are surrounded or should be taught in the language they should understand, but the fact remains that, the silence of Northern leaders shows that they are happy over the position of President Buhari on Southeastern Nigeria. We have seen the direction of events and Igbos are not noisy anymore, we are emergency experts in all situations, ‘a dot in a circle’ remains the Bermuda triangular point that will swallow nepotistic anarchists and anti-Igbo exponents.”
Meanwhile, some residents of Umuahia, Abia State and Owerri, Imo State, have told our correspondents that Nigerian soldiers now routinely arrest people, brand them members of IPOB, kill them and take their corpse away.
An Umuahia resident who did not want his name in print, narrated how soldiers intercepted a bus load of traders travelling from the Abia State capital last week, and killed all occupants of the vehicle.
“Last week, the Army stopped a bus carrying traders from Umuahia. They arrested all the occupants of the vehicle and wasted them,” he said.
“They arrest people, mostly young men everywhere and kill them. If they see a group of young men talking, they will arrest all of them.”
In Owerri, Imo State capital, the story in the same. Residents say people are still being arrested and taken away.
“They (security agents) are still arresting people here and there,” a resident told our correspondent on Monday. “People are afraid to go out. The whole place is scary.”