Arewa youths demand justice for victims
Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia, Akinwale Akintunde in Lagos and Adebiyi Adedapo in Abuja
With no concrete evidence made available to the public yet on the alleged killing of five Fulani herdsmen, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Tuesday demanded for a DNA proof that the corpses the Department of State Services (DSS) said it discovered were actually herdsmen.
The Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, had on Monday visited his Abia host, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and after a joint security meeting, announced that the herdsmen were killed by kidnappers operating on the border of the two states.
But in a statement issued by the head of media and publicity, IPOB faulted the stance of the two governors when no evidence has been provided, saying that they were in a hurry “to sustain the lies cooked up by the DSS,” which has already been exposed.
The pro-Biafra group called on the international community to wade into the saga and conduct a thorough investigation and establish through DNA testing if the DSS actually found corpses and whether they were Fulani herdsmen as alleged.
IPOB said: “As the world reflects on the implications of this epic movie on our consciousness, the 22 million IPOB faithful from Benue to Delta, from Kogi to Bayelsa and beyond, plead with the international community to kindly and quickly investigate the corpses (if any) found by the DSS and conduct a thorough DNA coroner inquest, just to confirm to the world, what we have always known, which is: that God the creator of heaven and earth, will certainly expose the remaining corpses of the over 200 IPOB members killed between Nov. 2015 and Feb. 10, 2016.”
Describing the story of the alleged herdsmen killing and the unfolding events as “Unpalatable Movie, Season One” the separatist organisation pointed out that the “script writers of the tragic-comedy have changed gear.”
IPOB also faulted the statement credited to the Conference of Minority Tribes of Nigeria (CMTN), which jumped into the fray on the side of DSS, blaming IPOB for the killings without any evidence.
According to IPOB, “an unknown quantity, Samson Babalola was hired” to parrot DSS storyline while Okorocha was instructed by his masters to hurry down to Abia to “intimidate” Abia governor all in a bid to sustain the lies told by the DSS.
Similarly, an Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, has faulted a statement credited to the DSS, claiming that five corpses recently discovered and buried somewhere in Abia State were Fulani people.
The group, in a statement signed by its President-General, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, also expressed disappointment that the DSS in its statement concluded that the IPOB was responsible for the death of these men, adding that the DSS story lacks authenticity and dept.
Uwazurike questioned how the security agency came about its claim since no autopsy has been conducted on the decomposed bodies.
According to him, without an autopsy, there is no way DSS can identify the victims.
“Aka Ikenga is puzzled at how the DSS came about some conclusions, the chief of which that there were Fulani people. If the bodies are decomposing and no autopsy has been done, how can anybody describe the deceased as Fulani? Is it by their wears? Many Igbo people wear Hausa Fulani clothes.
“Secondly, how did the DSS come to the conclusion that the Indigenous People of Biafra group was responsible for the death of those men? Or is it a speculation?
“Aka Ikenga questions the whole story as lacking in authenticity and dept”, Uwazurike stated.
The group therefore demanded that a public autopsy be carried out by specialists from the Nigerian Medical Association, Abia State Branch, the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, the Abia State Government, the civil society groups and the DSS, adding that this was the procedure adopted on M.K.O Abiola’s case.
However, the Arewa Youths Integrity Forum (AYIF) has condemned what it described as the desperate attempt to exonerate the alleged culprits behind the killing of Hausa-Fulani residents in Abia State.
The group in a statement signed by its president, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar, said the criminal intention to shield IPOB leaders who committed the atrocities from justice, was unfortunate.
According to the statement, the DSS had indicted IPOB in the death of the five men following the discovery of mass graves with scores of yet to be identified bodies in a forest in the state.
The group said it was lending its voice to the demand for the prosecution of all those involved in the heinous act by the appropriate security agencies that must also confront IPOB’s collaborators who seek to use such provocation to trigger widespread unrests in Nigeria.
Abubakar in the statement, warned that shielding the perpetrators from justice would encourage more killings as they would be encouraged to consider their murderous acts as normal.
The statement explained that making the killers face the law is important to reassure other ethnic nationalities and discourage them from embarking on reprisals.