The Igbo women in Nigeria have lamented the near pogrom in the South-East part of the country and called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to stop the wanton killings of youth in the region by the government security forces and unknown gunmen.
The women who spoke in Lagos on Thursday at a press conference lamented the manner in which Igbo youths were decimated, saying that the reason for the killings were unfounded as not every Igbo youth is a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). They added that the Igbo nation is about being deprived future generation.
“As mothers, we bear the brunt of avoidable loss of lives and property. We are broken and tired of burying our children. Therefore cry to the Federal Government: Save our souls and let peace reign in our land,” said the women who convened under the auspices of Credible Igbo Women Initiative, an arm of Credibility Group.
They said the Twitter threat issued by President Muhammadu Buhari was not the best way to address the crisis in the South-East, suggesting that the Federal Government dialogue with the people in order to know their grievances. The use of brut force is not the best approach as it will not bring any solution.
In a four-page communiqué issued by the conveners: Obiageli Okeke, Nkiru Ezeonyeka, nollywood thespians Onyeka Onwenu who is the Chief Spokesperson of the group, Clerion Chukwura, representatives of Igbo women groups from Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers states as well as Women Leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos chapter, the group states as follows:
“We the women of Igboland (alaigbo) do hereby observe and state as follows: the Federal Government is obliged to protect all the people of Nigeria, including Igboland which is currently under heavy armed attack by air and land daily; we are deeply saddened by the wanton distruction of public facilities and targeted killings of security operatives and public servants by unknown gunmen and extend our condolences to their families and loved ones.
“We vehemently condemn the activities in Igboland by both known and unknown gunmen, arsonists, and brigands whose actions are clearly calculated to create an atmosphere of civil unrest. For the avoidance of doubt, these are not our children, and they are not acting under the authority of Ndigbo.
“The sustained political instability in Igboland has resulted in the breakdown of law and order with the aberration of our innocent children being dragged out of their houses, cars, and even pedestrain walks, captured, arbitrarily branded IPOB members by security forces and with impunity, often summarily executed without trail. Those captives that survive the ordeals are subsequently displayed to the press as proof of the security forces’ success.
“Our children are daily dehumanised to the extent that concerned citizens such as Archbishop Obinna of Owerri Archdiocese have raised the alarm on unidentified corpses in the morgues. Such concerns have been reiterated by corporate bodies including the Nigerian Bar Association which has decried the grossly overcrowded detention centres in Alaigbo.
“Our farmers have lost their means of livelihood and at times even their lives because of the invasion and destruction of their farms by herdsmen and their cattle due to the Federal Government’s stance on open grazing. This situation can no longer be tolerated.
“We note that the systematic neglect of our youths over the years through lack of social and financial incentives, scholarships, and skill acquisition, support, have resulted in mass unemployment and distortion of social fabric.
“We observe with deep concern that market men and women continue to suffer greatly in the hands of security forces in Igboland with result that markets and shops are often under lock and key and are constantly looted with impunity.
“We call on the Federal Government to take urgent action towards restoring our confidence in the security forces. Hence we respectfully demand the following from the Federal Government:
“To convoke a security conclave forthwith, and to stop bloodletting. No more killings, no more brutality, no more harassment and intimidation of our children. Enough!
Remove killer squads from Igboland and to console and compensate the men and women whose children met their untimely death in the hands of gunmen, both known and unknown.
“Federal Government must console and compensate widows and widowers whose spouses met their untimely end in like manner, provide financial and social incentives to enable our children start afresh, provide our children with level playing field. No more discrimination! No more favouritism.
“Federal Government should embrace diversity and inclusion sincerely, and thereby empower everyone with the possibility of achieving their fullest potential whether in the public or private sector, irrespective of tribe, creed or association.