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The national leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, denounced the killing of defenceless members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as well as the charging of survivors to court for treason by security agents in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

A statement signed by its President General, Chief John Nwodo, yesterday, asked:“Does anyone truly expect Ndigbo to fold our hands and watch our children being massacred and incarcerated with such impunity?”

It also stated that the Federal Government had adopted discriminatory methods in treating issues affecting Boko Haram members, Niger Delta Avengers, Fulani herdsmen and OPC, describing the action as unfair.

The statement entitled, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo calls for judicial inquiry into Port Harcourt IPOB killings,” read: “Last Friday, members of IPOB staged a demonstration in Port Harcourt in solidarity with President Donald Trump on his swearing in as president of the United States of America.

“That demonstration resulted in a clash between IPOB members on one hand and a combined security team of Nigerian Army and Police (on the other).

“IPOB alleges that the security agents killed 11 of its members, injured 27 and arrested 57 others. IPOB has threatened to take up arms if what it described as the continued killing of its unarmed and defenceless members continues.

“Police have since arrested and charged 54 members of IPOB and MASSOB to two magistrate’s courts for conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and conducting themselves in a manner likely to force or compel the President to change his measures by displaying flags and other items of the Biafra Republic.

“The Army Public Relations Department has similarly issued statements indicating that they were prepared to go to any length to ensure that the IPOB was contained. 




Four issues arising

“Was the IPOB demonstration an unlawful assembly? Did IPOB require a police permit to demonstrate?

“Was IPOB violent in any manner that threatened public peace and order? And does possession of Biafran flags and coat of arms per se constitute conspiracy to commit treasonable felony?

“Whereas some of these issues are subjudice, it is important in the public interest to note as follows:

“The correct position of the law in Nigeria is that any curtailment of the right of the citizens to freely associate and assemble for lawful purpose is unconstitutional

“It is unnecessary for police permit to be first obtained, prior to any assembly, subject, of course, to section 70 of the Criminal Code (See IGP Versus ANPP (2008) WRN 65; Anambra V AG Federation (2005) NWLR (PT 572) 616 per UWAIS JSC.)

“Any attempt to deal with demonstrations of IPOB in a manner different from treatment of Boko Haram members, Niger Delta Avengers, Fulani herdsmen and OPC will be discriminatory and unfair.

“Given the serious national security implications of this development, Ohanaeze would like the Federal Government to appoint an independent judicial inquiry into the killing of IPOB and MASSOB members in Port Harcourt.

“We have just witnessed wanton massacres of Nigerians in Benue and Southern Kaduna without a single arrest or prosecution.

“Last year, several farmers were killed in Nimbo by herdsmen without any of those arrested prosecuted.

“After a judicial inquiry and findings on massacre of followers of Zakzaky in Kaduna State, no arrest or prosecution has been made. Where is consistency in the enforcement of the law?

“A dangerous trend is emerging in our country. There are gathering storms of conflict. A stitch in time saves nine. Government must do the needful and set up an inquiry before overzealous law enforcement agents plunge the country into chaos.”

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