Group salutes South-west elders for condemning military operation in South-east
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, on Monday remanded 60 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) at the Afara Federal Prisons in Aba.
The magistrate ordered that the IPOB members be remanded in prison after their counsel challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.
The magistrate, who had directed that the case file be transferred to the Department for Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice, later adjourned the case till October 25.
The IPOB members were among those arrested by security agents in Umuahia, Isiala Ngwa and other parts of the state capital during the clash between army and members of the separatist group.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Geoffrey Ogbonna, said IPOB were arraigned on eight-count charge of conspiracy, terrorism, attempted murder, membership of unlawful society and rioting, among others.
Meanwhile, (IPOB) has commended the apex Yoruba socio-cultural groups, Afenifere and Yoruba Elders Council, for speaking out against the recent launch of a military operation in the South-eastern zone of the country tagged; operation Python Dance II.
IPOB said it noted their firm and decisive stance against the operation, saying that it was a clear testimony that there still abound good men in the zone.
A statement signed by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, and made available to THISDAY in Awka yesterday, thanked groups and individuals from the zone for condemning the invasion of the zone by military men in a manner he described as â€œoverwhelming tide of tyrannical oppression and genocide against the people of Biafra. â€˜
Part of the statement reads: â€œYou rose up to condemn evil and their well oiled propaganda machinery that sought to turn truth upside down and make us believe that light is now darkness and darkness light.
â€œYour collective and individual condemnation of the evil Python Dance II, staged by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime to suppress legitimate agitation for freedom through intimidation, slaughter of the innocent and military occupation has earned you an enduring legacy which history will never forget.â€
The group described as rare courage and forthrightness by the south western groups in coming forth to speak up in defence of freedom of speech, expression and association, while commending them for rejecting the tag of terrorist organisation on it.
The group stated further that, â€œWe also commend those men and women of good conscience from across all ethnic divides in Nigeria and across the globe that condemned the genocidal campaign of this Buhari regime against innocent civilian populations across Biafraland.
â€œWith this public display of courage, we are hopeful that many more courageous men and women across West Africa and Africa in general will rise up against this APC tyranny and oppression in black Africa as other races have managed to do.â€
The group said it would remain steadfast and committed to the pursuit of the finest ideals of liberation to set free all oppressed and marginalised people in Nigeria and beyond.
Meanwhile, the Igbos for Nigeria Movement (INM) has demanded an apology from Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Igbo leaders for their earlier acts of silence and passive support that allowed IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu to hijack the Igbo agitation for fairness to incite hatred across the land.
The group also called on Ohanaeze to retract it past statements on the Operation Python Dance II and apologise to the military.
It explained that some top members of Ohanaeze and Igbo political leaders that had banked on using IPOB and Kanu to score political points soon discovered that they were as much the victims of a terror infrastructure; but had become too ashamed to accept their sins and dilemma until the launch of Operation Python Dance II, which some of them still kicked against out of habit.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its National Leader, Mazi Igwe Ifeanyi, commended the Nigerian Army for having the will to tackle IPOB as a festering sore that was on the verge of compromising the health of the country.
According to him, â€œthere is nowhere in the world where terrorists are allowed to flourish unchallenged as earlier canvassed by certain many Igbo and Ohanaeze leaders with vested interests.â€
The group added that, â€œit was reassuring that the same people that were supporting IPOB, even when they were hostages, are today relishing the freedom procured for them through the success recorded by Operation Python Dance II, which has empowered them to again grow the courage to visit the same people that Kanu had vilified without them censuring him.â€
Reacting to a visit to Gombe State on a peace mission by Ohanaezeâ€™s President General, Chief John Nwodo and other Igbo leaders, Ifeanyi expressed relief that the period when the organisation and Igbo leaders played politics with what is ordinarily a nationwide quest for a better deal is over.
He stated: â€œThe least Ohanaeze, Chief Nwodo and other Igbo leaders can do is to retract their past statements on the Operation Python Dance II and to encourage troops to root out other evils that have made Igboland into a place that other Nigerians avoid as a place to settle down.
â€œThe ill-conceived quit notice to Igbos by some northern youths had exposed how groups like IPOB placed Igbos at a disadvantage because Igbos settle in other parts of the country in large numbers while only few persons of other ethnic groups make Igboland their homes because of attitudes like the one exhibited by Kanu.
â€œGoing forward, the expectation is that Ohaneze and any one that genuinely calls himself a leader in Igboland must now put the interest of Igbo people above their personal interest and this includes accepting that IPOB was a monster that was set to consume the genuine cause which every Igbo man had vigorously pursued in the past.
â€œHad the military not stopped IPOB and Kanu, the path they were threading was on the verge of making Igbos lose what they had toiled to build in other parts of Nigeria in the past five decades given the way they needlessly antagonized other ethnic groups, including calling for their death,â€ the group said.