By Christopher Isiguzo
The pan Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday asked the federal government to set up a high-powered judicial panel of inquiry to look into the frequent killing of young men and women by trigger-happy security operatives posted to the Southern part of Nigeria.
The organisation also demanded for an explanation as to the modalities used by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, to determine the distribution of the COVID-19 lockdown palliative.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo who conveyed the organisation’s position in a press statement made available to journalists in Enugu expresses dismay that in the past few days alone, four vibrant young men were killed in cold blood by security agents in Aba and Onitsha while another young man was brutally mowed down by a soldier in Warri which led to a reprisal killing of a soldier that culminated in the killing of more people by soldiers.
He expressed dismay at the frequency and dastardly manner these security personnel snuff out life in these otherwise promising young people in their prime.
According to him, it was only in the South that such mindless wastage of human capital takes place often and unabated without the heads of the army and police batting an eyelid, and challenged anybody to point out similar occurrences in any part of the North, especially during this period of COVID-19 lockdown.
He said the aggressive actions of security operatives were steadily pushing young men, especially in the South-east, to the wall and could elicit reprisal violence from them, adding that any group not wanted in a union had the right to opt out of it.
In another development, Nwodo faulted the manner the federal government had handled palliative distribution, insisting that the entire process was shrouded in mystery.
He said from available information, there was gross imbalance in the three geopolitical zones with the North getting N245.2 billion from the fund for palliative, while three zones in the South got a meagre N52.8 billion.
He said that in another clime, this manifest injustice was enough for her to be made to vacate her office.
The President General cited this as another glaring example of lack of equity in the President Buhari administration.
He averred that the distribution of the lockdown palliative was skewed in favour of the north by the declaration that those who have up to N5000 in their bank accounts would not benefit from it, arguing that ownership of that sum does not mitigate the pangs of the lockdown.
Chief Nwodo further observed that it took Covid-19 to accentuate the duplicity in governance in the present administration in the country where the people in the north have been paid N5000 monthly for the five years of the administration to the exclusion of the neglected and second class citizens of the South.
He urged the Federal Government to take steps to redress this obvious injustice to give other parts of the country a sense of belonging.