PAN-cultural Igbo umbrella body Ohaneze Ndigbo has condemned the recent shoot-at-sight order the Nigerian government has given to soldiers operating in the southeast geo-political zone saying it could start an unwinnable war.
Over recent weeks, the violence and breakdown of order that has engulfed Nigeria has spread to the southeast, with Imo State in particular becoming a war zone. With police stations being burnt down and correctional facilities attacked and their inmates freed, the federal government has flooded with area with security forces, given them instructions to shoot any armed person at sight.
However, this has not gone down well with Ohaneze Ndigbo, who see it as a lopsided approach to combating insecurity. For starters, Ohaneze is concerned about the fact that the bulk of the troops sent to the southeast are from northern Nigeria and it is also concerned that the same seriously is not being given to the insecurity ravaging the north of the country, which is a lot more severe.
Professor George Obiozo, the president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, warned that the Nigerian government should learn a lesson from history by not fighting an unwinnable war against nationalism. He advised the Buhari administration to seek possible peaceful options that are the only solution that guarantees national unity and peaceful coexistence.
Ohanaeze lamented the fact that sub-national consciousness or ethnocentric nationalism which is a dangerous form of nationalism to national unity has taken over Nigeria. It noted that the dream of Nigerian unity is receding and fading fast with violence, crises and conflicts.
Professor Obiozor said: “It is unequivocal that the current problems confronting Nigerian, like ethnic militia, agitation for secession, insurgency, etc are a product of sustained orchestrated injustice in governance. The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, however, has been drawn to the shoot at sight order given to the Nigerian soldiers on how to engage the Igbo youths in the oncoming week.
“The report further revealed that the exercise will commence from Orlu in Imo State, which is very disturbing. The pattern of deployment of northern military officers to the southeast lends credence to the above report.
“It was revealed that in preparation for the above, the Nigerian Army has posted northern Muslims as commanders over its operations and brigades in Anambra, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Benue, Edo, Delta and Rivers states. In Anambra State, the cantonment commandant of the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, is Col Abdulsalam Abubakar Sambo, a Hausa-Fulani Muslim, while in Imo State, the brigade commander of 34 Brigade, Obinze, is Brigadier Ibrahim Tukura, another northerner.
“In Abia State, the brigade commander of 14 Brigade, Ohafia, is Brigadier M. Ibrahim, a northerner, while in Akwa Ibom State, the brigade commander of 2 Brigade, Uyo, is Brigadier Faruk Mijinyawa, another northerner. This is truly worrisome.”
According to Professor Obiozor, Ohanaeze Ndigbo warns that the shoot-at-sight order to soldiers on Igboland is a call for another pogrom and genocide. He asked the federal government to refrain from the use of force in resolving the present national crises, pointing out that history has shown that using military and violent means to solve the national question is bound to fail as it leads to further national fractionalisation, anarchy and eventual or inevitable disintegration.