Some respected Igbo elders who operate under the aegis of Conference of Concerned Igbo Elders for Peace and National Unity have criticized the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for recent attacks on a police station in Abia State, which resulted in the death of two officers and burning of the station.
According to the Igbo Group, IPOB is gradually over-stretching its luck by taking its struggle too far, engaging in indiscriminate destruction of lives and property.
They called on relevant authorities to deal decisively with the separatist group, insisting that the current level of force being deployed may not be enough to curb their violent excesses.
According to the elders, the decisive force was required at this time, considering recent events, which suggest that IPOB was determined to undermine security and peace in the South East, which is an integral part of the country.
To buttress their point, the Igbo elders drew attention to the attack on security operatives within the Orlu council of Imo State, warning that the proscribed group may likely carry out more daring attacks unless urgent action was taken to deter them.
Recall that accusing fingers have pointed to IPOB as being behind Tuesday’s attack on Abayi police station in Aba, Osisioma Ngwa local council of Abia State, which resulted in the death of two police officers and burning of the station.
While condemning the violent campaigns of members of the separatist group, the elders called on Igbo sons and daughters at home and in the diaspora, to dissociate themselves from the group, with a view to sending a strong message across, that IPOB does not represent the views of Ndigbo.
They reminded the public that the IPOB remained a “terrorist organization”, having regard to an order of a federal high court in Abuja, which proscribed its activities, at the instance of a request by the federal government.
In a statement on Friday, which was jointly signed by its National President, Mazi Prof William Okocha,and National Secretary, Barr Miss Irene Chizoba, the group threw its weight behind the call by Ohanaeze Ndigbo for a review of the recent appointment of Service Chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari.
While harping on the application of the federal character principle in making sensitive appointments, the concerned Igbo elders decried what they considered was growing exclusion of the South East in national affairs.
The statement reads in part: “We use this opportunity to call on the military and other concerned authorities to bring the full weight of the law to bear on the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, in a manner that will ensure the restoration of permanent peace and order to the South East region.
“As respected elders committed to national unity, peace and cohesion, we rise in condemnation of the violent activities of IPOB, which we hasten to note, are not a representation of the Igbo.
“Ndigbo are peace-loving and peace-building people, whose commitment to the national cause is irrevocable, regardless of the negative tendencies of a few deviants, who have constituted themselves into cogs in the wheel of progress.
“Now is, therefore, the time for all well-meaning Igbo sons and daughters, to condemn the wicked activities of IPOB, to drive home the point that they do not have our endorsement – tacit or open.
“How long shall we allow IPOB to lead this campaign of destruction against our collective will before we rise against them with all our might and strength?
“While the dust raised by their attack on security operatives within Orlu and its environs was yet to settle, we woke up on Tuesday to witness the mindless attack on Abayi police station in Aba, Osisioma Ngwa local council of Abia State, which claimed the lives of two officers.
“Apart from IPOB, we also want to raise serious concerns over the continued exclusion of our zone from national issues, the latest being the non-consideration of any military officer of Igbo extraction for appointment as Service Chief.
“The Conference of Concerned Igbo Elders for Peace and National Unity observes that this trend has been amplified under the current administration in the country”.