Ọgọchukwu Anioke, Abakaliki
The highest decision making organ of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Imeobi, has faulted the declaration of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a terrorist group by the Army.
The Imeobi made its position known in a nine point communique it issued at the end of its emergency meeting at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel Enugu.
The communiqué was signed by Ohaneze President -General, John Nnia Nwodo and Secretary-General, Uche Okwukwu.
The Army had two days ago declared IPOB a terrorist organisation after clashes with its men in Aba and Umuahia in which some persons reportedly lost their lives.
The clashes followed the launch of operation python dance II by the Army in the South East region.
The clashes also forced the South East Governors to proscribe the Nnamdi Kanu led secessionist group on Friday after it’s meeting in Enugu attended by Ohaneze and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
But the Imeobi in faulting the declaration argued that the Army did not follow due process.
“That Imeobi resolved that IPOB is not a terrorist organization. There are processes under extant national and international laws, especially the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011, as Amended in 2015 to determine whether a group is or not a terrorist organization”, the group said.
The group also described as regrettable, the decision of the Nigerian Army to commence Operation Python Dance II in the South East and called for immediate termination of the exercise
It further argued that military option is never a solution to problem of nation-building.
“We refer for instance to the goings on in Spain, Scotland and other parts of the world to reaffirm that only through dialogue can the national question be resolved. Consequently, we condemn all acts of violence in pursuance of freedom of expression”, the group said.
The Imeobi noted with great concern the continued policy of marginalization of South East Nigeria arguing that it is “the basic cause of the renewed agitation by the separatist groups”.
The group further described as unfortunate and deplorable the loss of lives during the Armed Forces intervention and conveyed it’s sympathies to the bereaved families.
The Imeobi maintained “that it is the sole responsibility of the Police in every democracy to maintain law and order and protection of lives and property of its citizens”.
It commended the efforts of the Governors of the South East, South East National Assembly Caucus and Ohanaeze leadership to douse the tension in the South East zone and urged them to continue in their efforts until normalcy is restored.
Ohaneze further reiterated that “a united Nigeria under a restructured federal system of government that guarantees justice, equity and fairness is the best system for this country”.
The Imeobi also approved the dissolution of the National Executives of Youth and Women Wings of Ohanaeze.