Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), the apex Igbo youth socio-cultural organisation, has lamented the gruesome murder of an army couple by bandits allegedly sympathetic to the agitations of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
This was even as the pro-Biafra group had said it was not involved in the beheading of the couple and also said that whoever carried out the act would be punished.
Journalist recalls that the Nigerian Army had alleged that its officers were beheaded by IPOB after their wedding in Imo State.
A statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, called on Igbo ancestors to avenge such wickedness of killing an Igbo daughter and her husband.
However, the Ohanaeze Youth Council in a statement by the acting national youth leader, Mazi Jones Onwusoanya, issued to Journalist on Friday against the ugly scenario, assured the Nigerian Army and all law enforcement agencies in the country that neither the Igbo nor people of the southeast are in support of any act of terrorism or criminally as clearly exhibited by the hoodlums who perpetrated the abominable act.
The Igbo youths maintained that the people of the Igbo nation do not support the extrajudicial killings of anyone, be such a victim Igbo or non-Igbo, as the act of murder and terrorism is condemnable, insisting that those behind such acts deserve the heaviest and speediest wrath of the law to descend upon them.
According to the OYC, “these recent victims of terrorism perpetrated by these hooligans pretending to be fighting the Igbo cause do not, like every single victim before now, deserve their fate. Igbo culture and tradition forbid that any harm may come the way of an in-law or prospective in-law in our land. Just like it is heartbreaking to hear of the death of Mr Linus, our prospective in-law, it is as well saddening to imagine the unjustified fatal pains that our sister, Private Mathew went through on her way to consummate her marriage. Those who are behind this atrocity do not deserve to see the sunlight even for a minute more.”
It called on the Nigerian Army to deploy its intelligence to fish out anyone involved in criminal acts which have ravaged the southeast in the last year.
“We shall be grateful to see these criminals either in body bags or in chains to face a speedy judgement for their atrocities against our people. We want peace restored in Igbo land, we want orderliness restored in Igbo land and we want our communities rid of criminals”, the Igbo group stated.
OYC also appealed to the Nigerian Army and to other law enforcement agencies to take care during these operations, to ensure that no innocent person is caught in the crossfire.
“No innocent person deserves to be harassed for a crime he or she knows nothing about. Those who are merely suspected of shielding these criminals should be given the opportunity to defend themselves. Please, summary execution of suspects would rather than quell these acts of terrorism, escalate it,” it said.
The OYC further encouraged the Nigerian Army to constructively engage the communities where the criminal elements are known to encamp in and deploy tactical units to clear them off their encampments without bringing any harm to innocent people.
“Extensive intelligence should also be deployed by the authorities to ensure that its ranks and file are adequately reviewed to fish out fifth columnists and saboteurs who might be aiding these criminals in carrying out their atrocities acts against our people,” it added.
The OYC however advised communities and individuals to report criminals or individuals of suspicious movements and actions to the appropriate authorities.
“Opinion leaders and all classes of igbo citizens and southeast residents should also avoid actions or utterances that might be construed as giving tacit or direct support to criminals and their activities”, the highest Igbo youth body further advised.