GULAK: Security forces killing our people, Imo Rep raises alarm
…Says constituents sleeping in bush
…Gives Army 14-day ultimatum to respond to Noel Ezeribe’s murder
…Says President Buhari cannot tag all Igbo criminals to give them 1967 Civil War treatment
…550 allegedly arrested in Igboland, NFF calls for respect for Human Rights
…Convene multi stakeholders meeting, INC tells Umahi, Uzodinma
By Levinus Nwabughiogu & Chinonso Alozie
Member representing Abor Mbaise and Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency of Imo State, Hon. Bede Eke has raised the alarm to the authorities that the security agencies are killing his constituents.
This came as the Nigeria Feminists Forum, NFF, yesterday, called for respect for human rights, following the five hundred and fifty persons that were alleged to have been arrested in the Southeast zone since the security challenges started in Igboland.
This is even as a former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife said the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Eastern Security Network, ESN, were not behind the violent attacks in the south-east.
According to the federal lawmaker, Bede Eke, the alarm came on the heels of the recent killing of the former presidential adviser and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Ahmed Gulak in Owerri, Imo State.
The lawmaker who addressed a press conference yesterday in Abuja, gave the names of some victims as Noel Chigbu Nzeribe, Tochi Ekwe and many other missing kinsmen.
He said that many have been driven to the bushes while others fled to where they have spent days without their families.
While totally condemning Gulak’s brutal murder, Eke appealed to the security agencies to exercise restraints and stop killing innocent people.
According to him, calls from his constituents have reached a crescendo to intervene in their current ordeal in the hands of the security operatives.
Eke asked the police and the army to conduct discreet investigation, identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice rather than mass intimidation and killing of his constituents.
“We lost a young man. Until his death, he owned and operated a Shawarma shop just to make ends meet.
He was shot by the army because he did not obey the rules at the checkpoint.”The family has written a petition to the army.
We as the people of Ngor Okpala/Mbaise are not happy about it and as the representative of the people, I want to make it known to the world that we are waiting for the outcome of the petition.
“As the representative of the people, I am giving the army 14 days to respond to the killing of that young man who left a pregnant wife and his two children.
One is three and the other is two years old.”Are we the killers of Ahmed Gulak? The answer is no. We are not the killers.
But if anything happens on our land, the police should take their time to investigate and unravel the perpetrators of these crimes. I have pictures, videos of people killed. Our people cannot sleep in their houses. My constituents call me from the bush to say Hon, speak for us.
The world should hold the security agents responsible if my people are killed. There is nothing wrong in arresting people, wrong in investigation, in unraveling the killers or sponsors of this henious crime.
But the issue is, let the innocent people be free. Freedom of movement is enshrined in the constitution.
“I have pictures where the military went to my constituency, Enyiogugu to be precise, destroyed shops owned by my constituents, Nigerians, carted away their goods. What have we done? What crime did we commit?”Gulak left Owerri.
The meaning is that you have to start that arrest from the hotel in Owerri where he left. I can no longer keep quiet. These people elected me to speak for them.
Please, I beg the security agents and the authorities to allow my people in peace. If you have made some arrests, killed some people as a result of this crime, why are you still hunting my constituents? Why is it that the people are not allowed to sleep in their houses?”I came out and condemned the killers of Gulak.
He was a true Nigerian for him to have left his comfort zone for our place. That’s exhibiting one nation, one country. Everybody is free to move.
But if the police is still investigating and the government has said they have made some arrests, please, let them leave my people alone.”I talked about Mr. Chigbu whom the army killed, I have pictures, videos, even that of an okada operator that was shot. What did we do wrong? That we host the airport? does that make us criminals?”
Reacting to the comment credited to President Muhammadu Buhari on sending shockwaves to the zone soonest, the lawmaker expressed worry, saying everyone in the southeast cannot be tagged a criminal.”
I would tell you that I am worried.
My worry is that if they should descend on these so called liberators or the ESN, these people alleged to be destroying government facilities, innocent people will be killed.What we cannot take is to term all of us from that region as criminals.
We cannot take that because we are not.”If you go to the northeast, they are killing our military officers and police, do you tag all of them criminals? I have not and cannot also remember of any complaint coming from there to say the military is killing innocent citizens.
We know they faced these boko haram people squarely. Why then is it a different case in my place? It calls for worry and I am concerned”, he said.
550 allegedly arrested in Igboland, NFF calls for respect of Human Rights
The NFF, through its Communications Officer, Angela Nkwo, made this statement to newsmen in Owerri.
She said that should this trend continue, it would lead to a rise in the number of out of school children and child trafficking.
According to the forum, “Following the outcry over the alleged indiscriminate killings and arrests in the south east states, the Nigerian Feminists Forum (NFF) has condemned the act and called for an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings and other forms of genocide operations”.The group, a biennial public policy forum that brings together self-identifying feminists, expressed worries over the implication of the activities which they described as criminal saying it portends untold hardships on women as it is increasing the number of widows and mothers mourning the demise of their children.
“We call on all security operatives to discharge their duties with a human face and respect for other people’s rights. Nigeria is a signatory to international conventions where suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
IPOB not behind attacks in S-East, Igbo don’t shed blood —Ezeife
Dr Ezeife condemned the fact that there have been several attacks on police stations, prisons and the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the South-East.
“Security operatives and residents have been killed and in a recent development, Ahmed Gulak, former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was murdered in Imo on May 30.
“Speaking when he featured on Arise TV and published by TheCable, Ezeife said investigation carried out by elders in the south-east revealed that such attacks are designed to provoke Igbo people.
While noting that killing and destruction do not conform to the Igbo character, he said some of the attacks may have been carried out by people outside the region.
“Anybody who hears the story will be mad at the story. But who are the people who are burning INEC offices? Who are killing the police? There is the impression that some people who are not even Igbo are guilty of organising such things and blaming it on IPOB and ESN.
Efforts have been made by elders of our people to find out the truth and the hands of IPOB and ESN are not there,” he said.“I am sure you know that at Owerri prison, there was a lot of devastation and the IG of Police blamed it immediately on IPOB and ESN.
Even the governor of that state at the beginning thought it was the IPOB and ESN, but now we know that more than 80 percent of people caught by the CCTV footage are not from the south-east or even the east.“Now, Gulak is dead. Was it a design again to blame it on IPOB and the ESN?
We are learning more now that there is a design to provoke the east. Igbo do not have the tradition of shedding blood or burning down things.”
Convene multi stakeholders meeting
Meantime, the Igbo National Council, INC, yesterday, called on the governors of Ebonyi and Imo States, Dave Umahi and Hope Uzodimma, to convene a multi stakeholders peace meeting to end the insecurity in Igboland.INC President, Chilos Godsent, made this call in Owerri while suggesting a way out of the insecurity in the southeast zone.
INC said that the need for a peace meeting has come because the presence of military personnel in Igboland was causing the killing of unarmed civilians in the land.According to INC, “The Igbo National Council (INC) worldwide is deeply worried over the increasing violent attacks and militarization of the Igbo Nation territory by dreaded armed Fulani mercenaries and military gang who were deployed to Igbo Nation to kill our people and decimate our population.
We have observed the desperate reckless engagement of the murderous armed military gang against the armless Igbo population in our own territory.
“The ongoing Operation Show of Force in Igbo Nation States by the purported Nigeria joint military gang is part of the project of the ruling cabal to ruthlessly attack and invade the Igbo Nation before 2023, which they had failed to achieve through the RUGA programme and the merciless attacks by the Miyetti Allah sponsored herdsmen killings inter-alia.
“Within the last four weeks, residents of Imo, Benue, Rivers, Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Akwa Ibom States respectively have been subjected into heavy attacks by the so called Unknown Gun Men (UGM) and the Nigeria counter joint military squad.
These attacks have resulted to the arbitrary arrest, torture and killings of civilians in the name of hunting for unknown gunmen (UGM).
“It was their view that, “We therefore urge the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma and his Ebonyi State counterpart,Engr David Umahi to quickly convoke a multi-stakeholders peace summit to address the numerous challenges that have given rise to increasing violent conflicts and militarization of the region and also to sign a security protocol for the Igbo Nation.”