Abia govt, Igbo women condemn incitement by security agency
Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB on Sunday hit back at the Department of State Services (DSS) for linking the separatist group with an alleged killing of five herdsmen, saying it was a cheap propaganda concocted to smear its image.
DSS had at the weekend reportedly announced that it had discovered a shallow grave at a forest in Aba where IPOB buried five herdsmen it killed and vowed to track down the alleged culprits.
But IPOB in a statement yesterday vehemently denied involvement in any shedding of innocent blood as its activities have been non-violent all along.
In the statement signed by its spokespersons, Emma Nmezu, and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, the pro-Biafra organisation accused the DSS of fabricating lies against IPOB in order to incite hatred and reprisal against Ndigbo.
“Yesterday (Saturday), the DSS announced that IPOB killed five northerners and buried them in a forest near Aba. Again, it is clear for even toddlers to see the game plan here. A government with a predetermined agenda to cloak IPOB in the garment of violent organisation deliberately designed such a cheap propaganda in order to ignite ethnic cleansing. This very cheap blackmail by the DSS is idiotic and unintelligent,” the IPOB said.
The organisation noted that the DSS was already being confronted with the weakness of its charges against IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and has now “resorted to concocting stories of abduction and killing as well as has subtly introduced the word ‘terrorism’ so that they will hopefully make it stick on IPOB and then get President Muhammadu Buhari to proclaim IPOB a violent and terrorist organisation.”
The group insisted that “it is not in our character to kill innocent lives in cold blood” adding that “the day we will decide to go violent, the world will know, like we did in 1967.”
In dismissing the allegation by the DSS, IPOB wondered why it would go after five innocent northerners when that number of people “do not make up for 218 IPOB men and women murdered in cold blood between November 2015 and February 2016.”
It warned that “if we were to declare war, we will begin by killing at least 5,000 people, not just five.”
Going down history lane, IPOB pointed out that the DSS propaganda was already following the same path that led to incitement, hatred and killing of easterners in the North, which eventually plunged Nigeria into a civil war that lasted three years.
However the pro-Biafra organisation noted that the DSS could resort to riding on the intelligence of Nigerians and feed them with lies because of their belief that Nigerians are gullible and can believe anything.
“Nobody in their right senses will take the DSS serious, until they are able to prove how, where, when and why IPOB killed a mere five people and the DSS (that) couldn’t locate the corpses of over 500 Agatu civilians suddenly located the five people IPOB killed.
“We assure the DSS that their plot to incite blood shed may well come to pass, but when it happens, we will be the first to announce to the world why we finally took up arms. This false accusation by the DSS is a very cheap blackmail, nobody would believe,” IPOB stated.
Meanwhile, the Abia State Government has expressed dismay over the DSS allegation that five northerners were killed in the state, describing such ‘unfounded’ statements as not only embarrassing but a recipe for violent reprisal.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Godwin Adindu, who conveyed the state government’s feeling over the ‘fabricated’ lies, said there was no where five men would be abducted, killed and buried without any report from all security agencies in the state, including the DSS.
“I just spoke to the state Director of DSS and he denied knowledge of any such development,” he said.
According to him, a crime of such magnitude as painted by the DSS could not have taken place in the state without any security report from the State Security Council, adding, “The state government is embarrassed by the (DSS) report.”
The Abia governor’s spokesman expressed deep worry that the report emanating from the DSS in Abuja was capable of preparing the ground for violent reprisal in some parts of the country, warning that issues as grave as what the DSS has alleged should be backed with facts before going public.
On its part, the Igbo Women Assembly (IWA) joined in condemning in strong terms “the clearly false allegation by the DSS that IPOB killed five northerners and buried them in a forest in Aba”
“This calculated blackmail is probably plotted to give IPOB a bad name. IPOB has never been and cannot transform into a violent organisation,” the women group said in a statement signed by its leader, Mrs. Mariah Okwor.
While describing IPOB as a mass movement of millions of eastern youths, “who are frustrated and disenchanted with Nigeria as presently structured,” adding that those who came up with this spurious accusation, had better look for a better story to tell.”
“The Igbo Women Assembly, know that the extra judicial killing of these unarmed IPOB youths, which could have radicalised them in turning violent, did not achieve that. Therefore, we do not believe that the age old brigandage of Fulani herdsmen would now turn IPOB into murderers overnight,” the women group said.