Igbo mothers in Nigeria have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop forthwith the ongoing bloodletting, killings, brutality, harassment and intimidation by the Nigerian military in the South East zone of the country.
The mothers, who addressed a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, on the platform of Credible Igbo Women Initiative (CIWI), also demanded the immediate convocation of a security conclave to resolve the crisis in the area.
Speaking against the backdrop of widely reported cases of rampant arrests and killings of often unarmed and innocent youths as well as their harassment, intimidation and brutalisation by the military, as a result of the activities of “unknown gunmen,” the women said that the Federal Government must take urgent steps to restore confidence in the nation’s security forces.
The communiqué of the conference, which was addressed by leading Igbo women and, which was copied to President Buhari, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF), the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the South East Governors Forum, among many others, demanded that government should immediately “remove the killer squads from Igboland” and “console and compensate the men and women whose children met their untimely death in the hands of the gunmen, both known, and unknown.”
Full text of the statement reads:
COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED ON THE OCCASSION OF THE NATIONAL PRESS CONFERENCE ON PEACE IN IGBOLAND, HELD IN LAGOS, NIGERIA, ON THURSDAY, 10TH JUNE 2021, UNDER THE AUSPICES OF CREDIBLE IGBO WOMEN INITIATIVE (AN ARM OF THE CREDIBILITY GROUP)
This communiqué is written and assented to by Igbo mothers in Nigeria against this backdrop:
• The alarming level of insecurity in Igboland and in Nigeria, generally, resulting in lives being wasted, daily.
• Reckless spilling of the blood of our children by security operatives with impunity, everyday.
• The militarisation of Igboland and apparent threat by the Federal Government of Nigeria to apply maximum force in dealing with the problem of insecurity in Igboland.
• The fact that The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 14(2) states unequivocally that the security and welfare of the citizens shall be the primary function of the government.
B – OUR OBSERVATIONS
WE THE WOMEN OF IGBOLAND (ALAIGBO) DO HEREBY OBSERVE AND STATE AS FOLLOWS:
- The Federal government is obliged to protect all the peoples of Nigeria, including Igboland which is currently under heavy armed attack by air and land, daily.
- We are deeply saddened by the wanton destruction of public facilities and the 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 pedestrian walks, captured, arbitrarily branded IPOB members by security forces and with impunity, often summarily executed without trial. Those captives that survive the ordeal are subsequently displayed to the press as proof of the security forces’ success.
- Our children are thus 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 Nigeria 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 skills acquisition support, have resulted in mass unemployment and distortion of the social fabric.
- We observe with deep concern that the market men and women continue to suffer greatly in the hands of security forces in Igboland with the result that markets and shops are often under lock and key and are constantly looted with impunity.
C -OUR DEMANDS
WE CALL ON THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO TAKE URGENT ACTION TOWARDS RESTORING OUR CONFIDENCE IN THE SECURITY FORCES. HENCE, WE RESPECTFULLY DEMAND THE FOLLOWING OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:
- Convoke a security conclave forthwith.
- Stop the bloodletting! No more killings, no more brutality, no more harassment and intimidation of our children! Enough!
- Remove the killer squads from Igboland.
- Console and compensate the men and women whose children met their untimely death in the hands of the gunmen, both known, and unknown.
- 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 a level playing field. No more discrimination! No more favouritism!!!
- 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.
AS MOTHERS, WE BEAR THE BRUNT OF AVOIDABLE LOSS OF LIVES AND PROPERTY. WE ARE BROKEN AND TIRED OF BURYING OUR CHILDREN. THEREFORE, WE CRY TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:
“SAVE OUR SOULS AND LET PEACE REIGN IN OUR LAND AGAIN”.
1-The Convener-Obiageli Okeke.
2-The Convener-Nkiru Ezeonyeka.
3-The Chief Spokesperson-Onyeka Onwenu.
4-The representative, Abia state Women.
5-The representative, Anambra state Women.
6-The representative, Ebonyi state Women.
7-The representative, Enugu state Women.
8-The representative, Imo state Women.
9-The representative, Anioma Women, Delta state.
10-The representative, Rivers state Women.
11-Women leader Ohaneze Ndigbo Lagos Chapter
12-Women leader, Ohaneze Ndigbo Southwest Chapter
13- The representative, Market Men and Women Association, South-East and South-South
For and on behalf of: CREDIBLE IGBO WOMEN INITIATIVE.
Dated this Thursday, 10th of June, 2021
Cc. 1-President, Ide Goddy Uwazurike. Cultural Credibility Development Initiative.
2-South East Governors Forum.
3-Ohaneze Ndigbo PG.
4-All South East states Union.
5-All South East states Trade Unions.
6-All South East states market unions.
7-All South East states Civil Society Organizations.
8-All South East states University Vice Chancellors.
9-Al South East states Chairmen of Traditional Institutions.
10-Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Wing.
11- Market men and women Association, South East and South-South
12- All South East states Head of Clergy.
13-All Press and Television Houses.
14-Nigerian Union of Journalists.
15-Nigerian Bar Association.
16-Ndigbo in Diaspora.
17-Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
18-President and Commander-in-Chief, of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria