By Yusuf Adua
A cross-section of elders from the South East has called on relevant authorities to deal decisively with members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The elders noted that the current level of force being deployed may not be enough to curb their violent excesses in the region.
These elders, under the umbrella of the Conference of Concerned Igbo Elders for Peace and National Unity in a statement on Friday, reacted to the attack on security operatives within the Orlu Council of Imo State allegedly by members of IPOB.
The concerned elders prognosticated that the proscribed group may likely carry out more damning attacks if urgent action is not taken to caution them.
According to a statement jointly signed by its National President, Mazi Prof William Okocha and National Secretary, Barr Miss Irene Chizoba, the elders accused IPOB of carrying out Tuesday’s attack on Abayi police station in Aba, Osisioma Ngwa local council of Abia State, which resulted in the death of two police officers and burning of the station.
The group called on Igbo sons and daughters at home and abroad to dissociate themselves from the group, intending to send a strong message across, that IPOB does not represent the views of Ndigbo.
They recounted that IPOB remained a “terrorist organisation”, having regard to an order of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which proscribed its activities, at the instance of a request by the Federal Government.
“We use this opportunity to call on the military and other concerned authorities to bring the full weight of the law to bear on the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, in a manner that will ensure the restoration of permanent peace and order to the South East region.
“As respected elders committed to national unity, peace, and cohesion, we rise in condemnation of the violent activities of IPOB, which we hasten to note, are not a representation of the Igbo.
“Ndigbo are peace-loving and peace-building people, whose commitment to the national cause is irrevocable, regardless of the negative tendencies of a few deviants, who have constituted themselves into cogs in the wheel of progress.
“Now is, therefore, the time for all well-meaning Igbo sons and daughters, to condemn the wicked activities of IPOB, to drive home the point that they do not have our endorsement – tacit or open.
“How long shall we allow IPOB to lead this campaign of destruction against our collective will before we rise against them with all our might and strength?
“While the dust raised by their attack on security operatives within Orlu and its environs was yet to settle, we woke up on Tuesday to witness the mindless attack on Abayi police station in Aba, Osisioma Ngwa local council of Abia State, which claimed the lives of two officers,” the statement reads.
The group however backed the call by Ohanaeze Ndigbo for a review of the recent appointment of Service Chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Judging by the application of federal character principle in making sensitive appointments, the concerned Igbo elders decried what they considered was growing exclusion of the South East in national affairs.
To correct this anomaly, the group called on Igbo sons and daughters of voting age, to take advantage of the ongoing registration exercise by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to register en-masse.
In their estimation, integration into mainstream politics, through the instrumentality of the APC, will end the politics of exclusion and marginalisation against the southeast geo-political zone.
To the group, the time has come for Igbo politicians to articulate a common front which, in the final analysis, will engender confidence and trust.