Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has alleged that the Nigerian Army has been arresting innocent youths in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
According to the group, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, the troops are from the 34 Artillery Brigade.
The statement said the youths are being arrested and taken to unknown destinations over alleged links with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its security arm, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
The group, therefore, called on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru to intervene and call the troops to order as there is no proof that those being arrested are guilty.
The statement reads in part: “The military personnel, suspected to be led by the 34 Artillery Brigade, Owerri since Sunday have been arresting male residents and youths, particularly in Oguta and Ohaji communities and packing them into vans and taken to unknown destinations.”
“We had admonished that the exclusive indulgence of AK 47 to the Fulani herdsmen as canvassed by Governor Bala Mohammed is antithetical to the ethos of a decent society,” the group added.
“For the armed forces to arrest the Igbo youths without evidence of arms, means of violence or crime is cowardly, uncivilized and mostly unacceptable to Ohanaeze Ndigbo,” it said.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo does not just wax lyrical about Igbo youths of all categories or dispositions. We condemn crime irrespective of the source.
“On the other hand, we stand on a firm wicket that it is ruthless to arrest any Igbo in the guise of membership of a terrorist organization unless there is sufficient evidence of a crime or unlawful possession of firearms.
“We call on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.Gen Ibrahim Attahiru to urgently stop the wave of arrests before it gives impetus to the proposal by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to offer asylum to a person who actively and openly supports IPOB and likely to be at risk of arrest or detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution.”
Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru has identified what the Nigerian Army needs to fully overcome and defeat all forms of insurgency and terrorist activities in the country.
Attahiru on Wednesday told the Senate Committee on Army, led by its Chairman, Sen. Ali Ndume that to defeat the insurgency, the Army apart from adequate funding, “requires equipment, weapons, armour fighting vehicles, platforms and various combat enablers.”
The COAS said this when he hosted the Senators who were on an oversight visit to the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
He appreciated the opportunity to rub minds with the lawmakers on ways to tackle insecurity in Nigeria and told the Senators he would be looking out for their support.
Attahiru also promised the continued commitment of the troops to their constitutional role of protecting the territorial integrity of the country and eliminate all threats.
Source: Naija News