The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, has said that his refusal to attend an Igbo event in Spain was not to avoid assault from members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, who may be residing in the country.
Kalu, a two-term governor of Abia State, gave the explanation in a statement issued on Monday by his media office.
He described reports in some social media platforms that he suspended a medical trip to Germany following attacks on Senator Ike Ekweremadu, as totally untrue.
He said the report was untrue.
Ekweremadu was physically assaulted in Germany, on Saturday, by members of the IPOB.
The former Deputy Senate President was invited as a guest speaker at the 2nd Annual Igbo Cultural Festival in Nuremberg, Germany, when the assault took place.
Kalu explained that he has been in his country home, Igbere, interacting with members of his constituency since the National Assembly went on recess.
The Senator said he had held several meetings with the people of Abia North at his Camp Neya residence in Igbere.
The statement read in part, “I have been in my country home interacting with people from my constituency and settling disputes.
“The news that I suspended by planned medical check-up in Germany was not true.
“I was invited by an Igbo group in Spain to attend their function, I could not go because of the interaction with my constituents.”
He described the action of the IPOB members against Ekweremadu as uncivilised, unacceptable and barbaric.
He said the assault on the Senator was a slap on Igbo leaders regardless of party affiliation, describing Ekweremadu as a prominent Nigerian who deserves to be respected.
Kalu, therefore, urged the Igbo to respect their leaders at all levels and embrace peace, saying only then will the South-East region be prosperous and peaceful. (Punch)
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The Indigenous People of Biafra has ordered its members in 100 countries across the world to attack the governors of Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia and Anambra states if they are seen in any of the countries.
The group also put on notice Ndigbo leaders such as the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who it accused of supporting the Operation Python Dance in the South-East.
Operation Python Dance was launched by the Nigerian Army in the South-East in 2016 in the wake of protests by IPOB members who were demanding secession from the country.
The group had cited historical events such as the victory of President Donald Trump in the 2016 United States elections and Brexit as proof of international support for self-determination.
During the Operation Python Dance, the army raided Umuahia, Abia State, the home town of the leader of the secessionist group, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts have been unknown since then.
Ultimately, the Federal Government designated IPOB as a terrorist organisation on September 18, 2017, under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013.
Speaking to one of our correspondents on Saturday, IPOB spokesperson, Mr Emma Powerful, noted that South-East governors and some Ndigbo leaders had been marked as enemies to be attacked if they were seen in any of the 100 countries their members were residing.
He said the directive was given by Kanu and that in obedience to the IPOB leader’s order, its members were the ones who attacked a former Deputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu, in Nuremberg, Germany on Saturday.
Powerful said the lawmaker was “disgraced by the IPOB Nuremberg Family as an Operation Python Dance instigator.”
The IPOB spokesman described Ekweremadu as a “traitor,” accusing him of being among those that got the pro-Biafra group proscribed, alongside the South-East governors.
Powerful vowed that IPOB would take similar action against the South-East governors and Ndigbo leaders, if they dared to attend any public event abroad.
He said, “Today (Saturday), the Nuremberg IPOB family in Germany, in keeping with the long-standing directive from our leader to hound all instigators of the Operation Python Dance, is glad to report that Ike Ekweremadu was confronted and duly hounded out of a so-called New Yam Festival event in Germany.
“Despite repeated warnings to the organisers of this jamboree that Enugu, Ebonyi and other parts of ‘Biafraland’ is under siege by the Fulani caliphate and their collaborators within, they went ahead to invite a known traitor, co-conspirator and one of those who worked with Igbo governors to proscribe and tag IPOB a terror organisation while they never raised any voice against the murderous Fulani herdsmen.
“This should serve as a warning to Nnia Nwodo, Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Willie Obiano and others that any day we find them in a public event abroad, they will be humiliated. IPOB is strategically located in over 100 countries around the world. Anywhere we find them, they will be dealt with.”
How Ekweremadu was attacked with stones, yam
In apparent obedience to the IPOB’s directive to its members, there was commotion on Saturday when Ekweremadu was attacked in Nuremberg, Germany.
The lawmaker, who has served in the Senate since 2003, was seen being pelted with stones, yam, sticks and water packs in short video clips which had gone viral on the social media.
Decked in isiagu, a pullover shirt worn by the Igbo people on special occasions, Ekweremadu was said to have been attacked at Löwensaal am Tier Garten, Nuremberg, venue for the annual New Yam Festival of the Igbo.
The New Yam Festival holds at the end of the rainy season in August and symbolises the conclusion of the harvest and the beginning of a new planting season.
The age-long festival is celebrated across Nigeria and the world wherever the Igbo people live.
While attending the event at Nuremberg, Ekweremadu was seen being attacked by a mob who tore his cloth and dragged him out of the event.
In the video clips, the angry mob was seen preventing the lawmaker from escaping, but he was later whisked away in a Mercedes-Benz car, even as the mob continued to beat him.
As the scene played out, some onlookers, dressed in traditional Igbo attire, were heard condemning the assault meted to the former deputy senate president.
One of the onlookers was heard saying, “This is wicked; why now? It’s not good.”
Despite the commotion, the event went on as planned, according to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar.
In a tweet via his handle @YusufTuggar on Saturday, the diplomat who was at the event wrote, “The Nuremberg yam festival organised by the Ndigbo Germany still took place and I was in attendance. There is no stopping Nigeria. It opened with the Nigerian and German anthems and I addressed the crowd.”
My ordeal in the hands of Biafra activists –Ex-DSP
Confirming the incident on Saturday, Ekweremadu, in a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, described it as unfortunate. He, however, said he was safe.
He said he was invited to the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organised by the Ndigbo Germany in Nuremberg and billed to give a keynote address alongside the President-General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it.
The lawmaker said he was welcomed by the Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members, stormed the venue.
He said, “They began to complain about the killings in the South-East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.
“I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue.
“The organisers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.
“I am disappointed with their (IPOB members’) conduct, especially as I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for the Ndigbo and against the judicial killings in Igboland and elsewhere.”
Ekweremadu said he had defended IPOB on the floor of the Senate, with the Presidency and the media.
He said, “I had as well rallied the South-East Senate Caucus to secure Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, taking him on bail to douse tension in the South-East.
“I nevertheless do not hold this to the heart against them, for they know not what they did.
“I have received thousands of solidarity calls and messages from well-meaning Ndigbo. I want to assure them that I am hale and hearty.”
In the meantime, investigations by one of our correspondents showed that Kanu visited Nuremberg recently to protest against holding the New Yam Festival because of the killings in Igboland.
It was also gathered that the IPOB members who attacked Ekweremadu on Saturday actually targeted Nwodo.
They reportedly descended on Ekweremadu when it was obvious that their main ‘target’ was conspicuously absent.
Following the attack on Ekweremadu, the Federal Government has condemned the IPOB members’ action.
The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement on Saturday described the incident as an embarrassment to the country.
She stated that some of the culprits who perpetrated the act had been apprehended and called on the German government and law enforcement agencies to ensure they faced the consequences of their actions.
She said, “It is also shamefully pathetic that an event which was nobly put together by the Ndigbo community in Germany, whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, to amongst other things, provide a forum for the Diaspora and various stakeholders to network and facilitate a better cooperation between German and Nigerian businesses, ended up in such a disgraceful manner.”
Dabiri-Erewa appealed to Nigerians to be of good behaviour wherever they found themselves “because such incidents tarnish the image of the country.”
Also condemning the attack, the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, condemned IPOB’s action, saying it was an act of brigandage.
He said, “These people ought not to have gone to such place to display brigandage because IPOB has been banned in Nigeria.
“However, our leaders should take heed because that is an example of what will happen, granted that it was a different ball game. They might have reacted that way because they possibly perceived that Ekweremadu had not been with them in terms of support.
“Be that as it may, the action of the IPOB members was highly condemnable in faraway Germany where the image of the country should have been jealously guided.”
Also describing the attack as barbaric, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo accused Kanu of sponsoring “miscreants” to trample on Ekweremadu’s fundamental human rights.
Nwodo told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that Kanu’s action reflected his disregard for the former deputy senate president, who was instrumental in securing the release of the IPOB leader.
Nwodo said, “In every 12, there is a Judas. Senator Ekweremadu and I were supposed to be in Germany but because my visa was not out, Senator Ekweremadu went on our behalf.
“The attack on him was unruly, uncivilised, a vitiation of his fundamental human rights and a sad story of where we are. I’m shocked that any true Igbo man could do this to Senator Ekweremadu.
“Without Senator Ekweremadu, Nnamdi Kanu would not have got bail. He (Ekweremadu) was the one who networked with senators who went ahead to sign on his (Kanu) behalf.”
Nwodo called on the German government to take appropriate actions against the perpetrators.
“I condemn it in its entirety. I think it is disrespectful, discourteous; I think it is a fundamental dent on our solidarity. I think that those who did it are not worthy to be called Igbo,” he said.
A former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, also condemned the attack on Ekweremadu.
Speaking to one of our correspondents on Saturday, he said the IPOB members attacked one of the “greatest heroes” in Nigeria.
“Ekweremadu is not the person they ought to attack and indeed they have to stop such attack on anybody for that matter,” Ndume said.
Assaulting us abroad not solution to agitation – S’East govs
Meanwhile, the South-East Governors Forum on Saturday said the IPOB order directing its members to attack them anywhere abroad would not solve the problem of their agitation for Biafra.
The chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emma Uzo, said that the governors had no problem with the members of the outlawed group to warrant such an order, adding that the insecurity in the South-East was a nationwide challenge which was squarely under the Federal Government’s command and control.
Condemning the attack on Ekweremadu, Umahi said, “If there is any issue IPOB holds against the governors, they should come home to settle it in Igboland instead of a foreign land.
“What happened was a security issue which was within the purview of the Federal Government. Attacking governors in a foreign land is a wild goose chase. We love them because they are our children.
“IPOB cannot achieve Biafra alone, except with the collaboration of all stakeholders including the governors. They don’t need to attack the governors to achieve Biafra.”
The governors’ forum warned the members of the proscribed body not to allow political opportunists to use them to destroy the South-East.
“They should come together and work with the governors and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo to achieve the Igbo Presidency come 2023 instead of fighting the governors. We want them to be close to us instead of taking the struggle to the international arena,” it said.
Furthermore, Umahi’s aide described the IPOB’s threats as empty, saying the group lacked the powers to track down any South-East governor anywhere in the world.
“They have no such spread and powers to track down South-East governors for attack anywhere in the world. They are too small. I don’t want to say they sound so cowardly, but they can’t see the governors to attack,” he added.
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An International Media personality and presenter, George Chukwu, has revealed some details surrounding an alleged deal that led to the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, by the Nigeria Government.
In a Statement to DAILY POST from Toronto, Canada, the renowned presenter with Canada’s Afroglobal Television and Vice-President of the Nigeria Canadian Association (NCA) said he got reliable information from sources in the deep background from Aso Rock how the IPOB leader was arrested during the military exercise in his hometown along with his parents in 2017 and held in Bonny, Rivers State under solitary confinement and released after the former Director-General, DG, of the Department of State Services, DSS, Moman Daura, working together with the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, convinced President Muhammadu Buhari and Abba Kyari to recruit him to work for the state.
Chukwu said, “I gathered from a very senior security official in Abuja that Nnamdi Kanu, his parents and driver were apprehended by the Army DMI operatives and initially taken to Ohafia on September16th of 2017. He was later removed from the military facility and taken to a Naval yard in Rivers State. His parents were held at Ohafia before they were transferred to Abuja and kept in a DSS safe house on Kwameh Nkrumah Street, Asokoro in Abuja.
“According to my source, Nnamdi Kanu was wounded when he was arrested; he had a broken rib and was limping. The DMI kept the information about his arrest secret to manage the outcome of the infamous Operation Python Dance the army initiated which culminated to his being arrested.
The FG was worried that information leaking about his arrest would trigger off protests and possible riots throughout the South East and South-South. Their fear stems from the fact that Asari Dokubo had aligned with Nnamdi Kanu and the FG did not want the Niger Delta militants to start blowing pipelines again. They already had the Avengers that were causing enough trouble for them.
“When the case Nnamdi Kanu was answering was called and the court was told he was nowhere to be found and following the Army HQ saying they did not know where Nnamdi Kanu was, it was decided that the information became top secret. It was at this time that the British Government made enquiry about Nnamdi Kanu who holds a British citizenship and the Attorney General and the Foreign Affairs Minister assured them that he was safe. Nnamdi Kanu sneaked into the country in 2015 with both his British passport and his Nigeria passport which enabled the Nigeria government to arrest him as he is also her citizen. Had Nnamdi Kanu had only his British passport he would have been safe. This was the argument the FG through the Attorney General offered to the UK diplomats and they kept cool.
“Towards June 2018, Nnamdi Kanu became very ill and at a point took to hunger strike but was well taken care of. The doctor that was seeing him is called Dr. Obegi from Kogi. Nnamdi Kanu was said to have refused being given any injection which worsened his condition. He told his handlers he was afraid he would be killed the way Musa Yar Adua was allegedly killed. In all the months he was incarcerated he did not break. On the day that the World Cup final was played, his parents were brought to visit him.
“The DSS had been working his parents and they asked Nnamdi to reveal the funding of IPOB and how the money transfers were done. You remember, there was a time the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave a press conference saying that IPOB had foreign sponsors from Spain; that information many others were given to the DSS by Nnamdi Kanu. His parents meeting him was a struck of luck as he became weakened and agreed to reveal all that the authorities wanted from him. But he demanded that his parents be released.
“At this point of negotiation, the Federal Government brought in the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu and he was contacted by Abba Kyari to get into the negotiation since he knew most of the sponsors of IPOB. Kalu went to see Kanu on in early August but the meeting did not yield any dividend as Kanu maintained his demand that his parents be released.
“The former Governor was said to have asked the government to use Nnamdi Kanu’s parents as leverage or collateral knowing that his negotiations with Kanu never ever gets through.
“It was during this time that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague delivered its verdict on their investigation into the activities of the Nigeria Army and concluded that they committed grave human rights abuses including killing innocent people. That development cut short the plan to release Nnamdi Kanu’s parents.
”It was at this time that it was said the former DSS boss, Daura, came into the picture and told Nnamdi Kanu that he would have a new brief. He made it clear that his parents would be held while he would continue with a message of election boycott as the IPOB were canvassing. Nnamdi Kanu was told in specific words that he was being recruited to propagate the election boycott in the South East and South South knowing that these regions will not vote for President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It was Daura that decided to have Nnamdi Kanu released to be flown to Israel after a deal was reached. Nnamdi Kanu was removed from Bonny and taken to Enugu airport from where he was transported to Abuja and connected to Israel.
“This is why Nnamdi Kanu has been pushing for election boycott because he knows that this will affect Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi so that Buhari will win. He has kept quiet about how he left the country, only saying that Biafra Intelligence took him away. He has not mentioned where his parents are and has been doing everything to make sure he keeps his own part of the deal which was to be on till after the elections. My source said that Nnamdi Kanu was told to act like he used to but when he did the Jibril taunt and it went viral he was reminded of the pact he had with the government that is why he lately took to Atiku.
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Southern Christians task INEC, security agents on credible elections
President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Nnia J. Nwodo
Raphael Ede, Enugu
Ohanaeze Ndigbo has warned the Federal government and Nigerian Army in particular against a repeat of September 2017, Operation Python Dance experience which saw Igbo sons and daughters being killed in a gruesome manner without consequences.
In a statement, the Ohanaeze President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said that the marching orders given by the Chief of Army Staff to Division and Garrison commanders in the South East of Nigeria to go after IPOB members in the region in order to forestall their threat to boycott the forthcoming general elections might be a well-planned agenda to execute carnage. IPOB had threatened to hold a referendum on the said date.
Chief Nwodo said “Ohaneze is disturbed that this kind of order might be misconstrued to execute carnage, drowning in shallow water and inhuman and degrading treatment on our youths as happened in the last Operation Python Dance in Abia State.
“IPOB remains a peaceful organisation championing self-determination. Their last threat for a boycott of Anambra State elections witnessed no violence but instead, we saw a higher turnout of voters than in the previous elections. The army did not order any such operation then as they are ordering now.
“We hope this operation is not aimed at scaring the people of the South East from coming out to cast their votes. We should be allowed to use our traditional rulers, community leaders, and religious leaders to restrain our children,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Southern Christian Forum on Tuesday warned the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the security agencies against compromising the forthcoming general elections.
It said that anything short of the credible election would not be accepted by Nigerians and would be resisted.
This was contained in a communiqué the forum issued after an emergency meeting of the youth wing of the forum.
The communiqué signed by Priscilla Adetoye, Vice Chairman, South-West; Iniabasi Asuquo, Secretary, South-South, and Deacon Vincent Ogbonna, Chairman, South-East, said the INEC must allow the will of the people to prevail in the elections.
It read: “Christians should come out en-mass and support a man who can restructure and revive the country’s economy.
“The Christian youths should shun violence before, during and after elections,” they said, adding “the security agencies must, however, be non-partisan in the discharge of their duties during the elections.
“That the Independent National Electoral Commission should ensure that there is free, fair and credible election across the country.
“That Nigerians should stand against vote-buying during the election.” (The Sun)
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Monday attributed the escape of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu as one of the major successes of Exercise Egwu Eke II.
The Army Chief who spoke at the flag off of the third edition of the military maneuver Exerciser Egwu Eke III in Lagos said: “One of the important achievement of the Exercise held in 2016 was the escape of Nnamdi Kanu; let him come and face the battle if he wishes.”
General Buratai said if Nnamdi Kanu dared, the python would have swallowed him, warning other criminal elements and those planning to cause trouble in Lagos and Ogun states to stay clear or “the python will swallow them.”
He explained that the objective of the military maneuver was to reinvigorate all existing operations in the country with additional manpower, equipment and resources to address the lingering security problems in the country.
His words: Nigerians should be assured that at the end of the exercise which is also conducted simultaneously by other divisions in the army; the python must have swallowed all the bandits, rustlers, terrorists, kidnappers, robbers and militants in the country. The python will also swallow thugs and other miscreants that may raise their heads to disturb the peace in the country.”
General Buratai warned criminals within Lagos and Ogun states to flee or would be crushed by troops of the Exercise Egwu Eke 111.
He said: “The exercise is a realistic training package in internal security operations, clearance operations, emergency management, rescue operations, roadblocks, cordon-and-search as well as anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism.
“It is necessary to draw the attention of well-meaning Nigerians that while reporting issues of defense and security, they must have at the back of their minds, the importance of national security. Just as mentioned earlier, defense and national security are not all comer’s affairs. No one is permitted to divulge any information that is injurious to national security.
“This is contained in the Official Secret Act 1962. “Section 1(3) of this Act states that a person who transmits any classified matter to a person to whom is not authorised on behalf of the government to transmit it; or obtains, reproduces or retains any classified matter which he is not authorised on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain, as the case may be, is guilty of an offence.”
“l enjoined Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that this is the only country that we have and all efforts should be focused to save it from the claws of unpatriotic elements fighting to pull the country down. Giving out official information or spreading fake news is inimical to national security.”
General Buratai said that prior to EX EGWU EKE III, the Operation AWATSE had intensified operations to crack down the activities of illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery and cultism among others, adding that the operations conducted against economic sabotage by pipeline vandals and cultists as well as other criminals had achieved commendable successes. He said several vandals had been apprehended while other criminal elements especially cultists were on the run.
General Buratai said the momentum of the Operation Awatse must be sustained, pointing out that the military must continue to display professionalism in the discharge of its constitutional roles while acting in aid to civil authority.
“Do not provide any opportunity for criminal elements to infiltrate your ranks. You must also embark on civil-military relations activities like medical outreach and others.
“Let me use this opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the Nigerian Army and our mandate in aid to civil authority. Accordingly, EX EGWU EKE III has the mandate to provide adequate protection and security for the good people of Nigeria.
“I am also calling on all law-abiding citizens to provide troops adequate support and cooperation, especially timely information to enable them to accomplish their task. I assure you of adequate logistic and operational support throughout the conduct of this exercise.
“You must deal decisively with the criminals and ensure that the right of law-abiding citizens is protected. I wish you good luck as we commence EX EGWU EKE III in 81 Div AOR and Nigeria.” (The Sun)
“The Operation Python Dance III should be sent to the areas where there are massive killings like in the northern part of the country…”
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Anger and condemnation have greeted the proposed relaunch of the third round of Operation Python Dance also known as Operation Python Dance III by the Nigeria Army in the South East region.
The first and second rounds of the military exercise, according to a report by the Amnesty International (AI) led to the killing of 250 and 150 Igbo youths respectively.
A human rights group, Campaign for Democracy (CD) has condemned the planned operation, alleging that it is another ploy to unjustifiably kill defenceless Igbo youths.
National Publicity Secretary of CD, Dede Uzor A. Uzor said in a statement that another Operation Python Dance in Igboland where there is no crisis amounted to a deliberate plot to provoke Igbo and slaughter their youths.
Also reacting, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Idemili branch, Ben Okoko, said the operations were a huge and monumental waste of public funds.
According to him, the exercises also showed the incompetence of the Nigerian military in handling the internal affairs of the country, adding that the military in Nigeria has come of age and should have a paradigm shift from “physicalism” to intelligence gathering and undercover operations.
“To announce to the whole world that you will be having Operation Python Dance or Snake Dance is
to say the least, letting the cat out of the bag as such activities would definitely bring the military in direct confrontation with the civilian populace who they are supposed to protect.
“Previous outings of this operation have resulted in huge casualties of civilians. There have been instances where military might may have been required but where they failed woefully. The resources they are trying to put on the ground for this Operation Python Dance III, if channelled to the flashpoints of the country, where the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram sects are wreaking havoc, would send a Nunc Dimittis to the sects and get them eradicated.
“It will amount to adding salt to injury for the military to come to the South East under the guise of Operation Python Dance III where the population is already saturated with heavy police presence at peacetime. So, it will be superfluous for the military to add their presence to the South East and also very provocative.
“Since people are still recovering from the effects of the military/IPOB skirmishes in the recent past, my candid advice is for the military to allow the sleeping dog lie and to take their might to where it is needed in the North East and Middle Belt sections of Nigeria,” Okoko submitted.
In his own reaction, General Overseer of Mount Zion Faith Global Liberation Ministry Inc. (a.k.a. By Fire By Fire), Nnewi, Anambra state, Bishop Abraham Chris Udeh, declared that South East zone and its people did not need anything called Operation Python Dance for any reason whatsoever.
He warned that anyone fronting such a move is making a mockery of Igbo in totality and at the same time “reminding us of the civil war massacre against us.”
He added: “Enough of that remembrance and marginalization of Ndigbo. They must be put to a stop without further delay else, the wrath of God will visit them individually and collectively.
“The Operation Python Dance III should be sent to the areas where there are massive killings like in the northern part of the country where Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents are disturbing the peace of the country and not in the South East where there are peace and quietness.”
He said the intimidation must be stopped, adding that if they insisted on relaunching the Operation Python Dance for the third time, they would see the wrath of God in action.
“Do you know that it is Ndigbo in the military that is being sent to the North to be killed by the Boko Haram insurgents. They think we don’t know all these things and that is why they still want to remind us of the harmful effects of the civil war and last year’s killing of Ndigbo. The current disagreements between Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen are the effect of last year’s killing of innocent Igbo sons and daughters.”
Also reacting, Vincent Ezekwueme, Anambra State chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) declared: “I reject in its entirety, the proposed relaunch of the third Operation Python Dance in South East zone because the zone is yet to recover from the shock and damning effects of the first and second exercises carried out in the past which were very disastrous in nature.”
Ezekwueme noted that instead of Python Dance, the South East zone was in dire and desperate need of infrastructural developments, particularly the resuscitation of moribund Onitsha Sea Port, Onitsha/3-3/Otuocha road, Enugu/Awka/Onitsha road, Nnewi/Uga/Akokwa/Arondizuogu/Okigwe road, Akanu Ibiam Airport, appointment of easterners into sensitive and strategic positions.
Ezekwueme noted that with these developments in place, the people of South-East would rather stage a Dance of Smile and at the same time, have a sense of belonging, instead of the dreaded Dance of Python. (The Sun)
Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, at the weekend said that the declaration of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation was an attempt by the Federal Government to profile Igbo people at the international security arena.
Nwodo stated this while delivering a lecture at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Business School, Enugu, on Saturday.
He also re-affirmed Ohanaeze’s utmost belief in the call by the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum and a number of other well-meaning Nigerians for a new constitution for a politically restructured Nigeria similar to the 1963 arrangement.
Chief Nwodo said he viewed the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation as hurried, unfair, and not in conformity with the intendment of the law.
The two-time minister said whereas he was not completely in agreement with some of the methods of IPOB, like its inappropriate and divisive broadcasts, the uncontested evidence given by the Attorney General of the Federation in an interlocutory action claiming that IPOB attempted and/or actually snatched guns from law enforcement agents, if proven, were merely criminal offences.
He insisted that the said offences IPOB were accused of did not constitute enough evidence to meet international law definition of terrorism.
Nwodo noted that the United States embassy in Nigeria shared this conclusion and asserted that the United States government did not recognise IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
He said: “This same unarmed IPOB that is being stigmatised by the Nigerian government had its members murdered in Asaba, Nkpor, Aba and Port Harcourt simply for having public demonstrations without the Federal Government ordering a judicial inquiry.
“Instead, after I called for one and Amnesty International provided evidence that 150 of them were killed, the Chief of Army Staff set up an inquiry, composed of serving and retired members of the armed forces, thereby compromising the rules of natural justice which prescribes that you cannot be a judge in your own case.
“The Igbos in Nigeria feel the treatment of IPOB as unfair, discriminatory, and an overkill.
“They see the move as an attempt to encourage a profiling of Igbos in the international security arena.
“We know of other self-determination groups in Nigeria that are armed and have destroyed government and private sector installations and wells that government prefer to negotiate with rather than labelling them as terrorist organisations.
“Fulani herdsmen, otherwise called the Fulani militants, have ravaged farms in Middle Belt, South West, and South Eastern Nigeria, killing several farmers in the process. In January 2016, they killed 500 farmers and their families in Agatu in Benue State.
“This year alone, over 1000 people have been murdered by them in the Middle Belt and many more displaced from their homes.
“In Enugu State, they murdered more than 100 farmers in Ukpabi Nimbo in April 2016.
“Photographs depicting them with automatic rifles trend in the entire world media, yet not one of them is facing criminal charges, nor is ‘Operation Python Dance’ being conducted in the areas where they ravage and kill and the Federal Government describes them as criminals and not a terrorist organisation, notwithstanding their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world (see British Independent Newspaper of 12th July 2016 which indicated that Fulani herdsmen killed one thousand people in 2014).”
He said the recent deployment of soldiers to South East in ‘Operation Python Dance’ was unfortunate.
According to the Ohanaeze leader, deployment of the army was only allowed in circumstances of insurrection, terrorism, and external aggression not in preventing the killing of priests or fighting kidnapping.
He explained that in those circumstances where they could be deployed, leave of the Senate must be sought, stressing that this brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concerned the South East was provocative.
On the issue of restructuring, Nwodo said: “Now, let us look at the statistical evidence that made the argument for restructuring compelling.
By Ike A. Offor The reportedly Pastor Adeboye Prayers’ social media account comment about heaven and punishment of sinners using the dehumanising picture of IPOB members being brutalised and dehumanised by soldiers during the onset of the controversial Operation Python Dance II in Abia state, has caused uproar.
In the comment sent out by the Prayers’ account of the General Overseer of RCCG, it said, using the IPOB picture that caused international uproar and condemnation, ‘this is how soldiers of heaven will arrest and punish all your enemies in Jesus Name’. It then requested social media users or commenters to type amen to the prayer.
This has created such condemnation and some has called it several terrible names and it is yet to be refuted by the general overseer of RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
Some commenters have disapproved this account as his own but some fake account created by mischievous element.
While this has not been officially refuted and condemned, many folks on social media have called such act very cold and nauseating.
Also, it could be recalled that during this controversial operation python dance II, the GO of RCCG as well as many other General Overseers except those from South East never condemned the actions or deaths caused by the activities of the Nigerian soldiers in Abia.
At the time of this report, no official statement has been put forward by RCCG to condemn or refute or accept the ownership of the social media account, which wrote this.
The Federal Government, through the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said there is no ongoing vaccination against monkeypox in the South East or any other part of the country.
Dr Ihekweazu said this in Abuja, yesterday, at a Senate committee hearing on alleged monkeypox outbreak in parts of the country.
The NCDC boss explained that there is no relationship between his organisation and what is going on in the South East.
He cautioned Nigerians against participating in any immunisation against the disease.
Earlier in the week, some parents in Delta, Abia, Imo and Anambra, Yobe states, in a panic move, withdrew their children from schools, following unconfirmed reports that the army was administering immunisation vaccines suspected to be harmful.
The army has since denied the claims, saying the medical outreach is a social responsibility programme fashioned into the Operation Python Dance II, in the South East.
A statement by the Deputy Director Public Relations 82 Division, Col. Sagir Musa, on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, that the free medical outreach was not a vaccine intended to “infect monkeypox or any major contemporary or emerging diseases in Nigeria to the people of South East or any part of the country,” failed to douse the panic.
According to the statement, the free medical services in the region started on September 18, 2017, in Nkwaagu community in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
That clarification, notwithstanding, parents and guardians still thronged schools to remove their wards and children.
Also, yesterday, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Turkur Buratai said the opening of medical facilities to the public is part of the army’s corporate social responsibility.
The army chief said this when he commissioned Phase One of the armed force’s Radio-Diagnosis Ward and School of Midwifery at the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
said the Nigerian Army believes in providing a befitting facility for the treatment and management of wounded personnel and their families.
General Buratai said that these facilities and the medical services to be provided by the medical unit will further boost the morale and fighting efficiency of troops.
Monkeypox: Suspected cases rise to 33
From Fred Itua, Abuja
National Coordinator, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has confirmed 33 reported cases of Monkey Pox infection in seven states of the Federation.
The NCDC boss, who disclosed this to senators yesterday said 17 out of the number manifested in Bayelsa State alone.
Others states where the disease has manifested, according to Ihekweazu, are Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos, Ogun. He, however, pointed out that it was not certain whether, or not, all the victims reported to have been afflicted by monkeypox were actually infected by the virus or other diseases with similar symptoms.
The senators described as a national embarrassment and shame, the lack of public diagnostic centre for detection of the current outbreak in some states of the federation.
Members of the Senate committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases stated this at an interactive session with officials of NCDC, who were invited by the committee to brief it on the current outbreak of monkeypox disease in some states of the federation and efforts by the government to contain it.
Members urged the NCDC to submit to the committee, in the 2018 budget proposal, the full cost for setting up diagnostic centres in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja. They assured that the committee would give NCDC maximum support to get the required funds to establish such highly needed diagnostic centres across the country, to avoid the current national disgrace of going to other countries for diagnosis.
A member of the committee, Sam Anyanwu, urged the Federal Government to use all the funds it claimed to have recovered from looters to establish the diagnostic centres and, also, develop the health sector generally.
The national coordinator of NCDC shocked the lawmakers with the news that the country had no single government-owned diagnostic laboratory to test those suspected to be infected with the monkeypox virus.
He, however, told the lawmakers that it was only the Redeemer University in Nigeria that has the facilities to diagnose monkeypox, pointing out that the NCDC has sent the specimen to Dakar, Senegal, for diagnostic tests.
“There is no public laboratory centre in Nigeria at the moment that can carry out the diagnosis for monkeypox. We are walking very hard and have just opened the national reference laboratory in Gadua in Abuja. We don’t have the resources to develop laboratory services in the country.
“There is a critical challenge. All the work we do for surveillance can’t confirm diseases easily. So, that is one major strategic deficit we have. This is why we had to send samples to Dakar, where there is a World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory to confirm the monkeypox. We sent two samples, one to Redeemers University laboratory and one to Dakar,” he said.
Briefing the committee, Ihekweazu revealed there was no known vaccination for the monkeypox menace and said the patients could only be managed in hospitals until they recover from the accompanying rashes of the contagious ailment.
On the speculation that NCDC was administering vaccination in partnership with the military, the national coordinator, said it was a rumour that had no truth in it and urged the public to disregard it.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has confirmed seven suspected cases of monkeypox in four hospitals in Abuja, with samples of six victims taken and sent to Senegal for test and confirmation.
It, however, denied rumours of an outbreak of the dreaded disease in Abuja, the nation’s capital. This was disclosed by the Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) of FCTA, Amanda Pam, while briefing newsmen yesterday.
She said: “Three suspected cases were recorded in National Hospital, two in Gwarinpa Hospital, one each in the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada and Nyanya General Hospital.”
Pam said the recorded cases were that of chicken pox, which shares similar appearance with monkeypox. On Wednesday, there were rumours of two cases of monkeypox outbreak at Gwarinpa General Hospital, Abuja.
“We had some suspected cases, and samples were collected and sent to the lab; so, we are waiting for the results, but from all indications, it is not monkeypox.
“But, I like the suspicion, because it is better to suspect than ignore it, and it later turns out to be positive. The truth now is there is no confirmed case of monkeypox disease in FCT,” she said.
Explaining further, FCT’s Acting Director of Public Health, Humphrey Okoroukwu, disclosed that he had already visited the said hospitals on Wednesday and reaffirmed no case of the virus was found.
He said surveillance officers from the public health department of the FCTA were deployed to the 62 wards of the territory, as a precautionary measure against threatening health issues.
The Federal Government had, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control ((NCDC)), on Monday, confirmed suspected outbreak of monkeypox in seven states in the country, which included Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River states. (The Sun)
The Nigerian Army’s entrance to the region for Operation Python Dance was fervent, aggressive and their actions were very brutal and fear-invoking indeed.
Army officers flogged innocent citizens including very aged men and women to instil fear in them in order to subdue them and their thought of Biafra.
The Nigerian army rolled in with their armoured personnel carriers in such manner that depicted war, hate and disrespect for the South Easterners’ basic human rights.
The army left the operation or exercise but began to attack the members of the IPOB and other Biafrans. No one was spared even journalists were beaten, flogged and brutalized. Passerbys are not spared in their display of force and unprofessional misconduct. The office of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, was attacked simply because the journalists were filming the entrance of the armoured personnel carriers being driven onto the streets. The Nigerian Army later claimed that the overzealous army officers will be dealt with. Up until now, no one has been reprimanded.
Then, the mission to subdue the Biafrans culminated in the invasion of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s family home and more brutality was unleashed in his home in which even the family dog was not spared. His family was pursued with the full force of military brutality and disdain and disregard for the law even away from the true nature of the operation python dance.
South Easterners who wore Biafran T-shirts, necklaces, bracelets and other paraphernalia depicting Biafra were all brutalised in broad daylight. There were accounts of deaths, extra-judicial executions of these people. There were accounts of retrieving of corpses of those shot and put away in secret morgue.
All these unlawful and brutal behaviours decimated the trust that the people would have had for any goodwill from the army. The Nigerian Army killed their trust in them, army disrespected their humanity. They violated their basic human rights and put fear in them.
That fear the army sought to instil in them killed the trust for the army and whatever that could come from them. It doesn’t matter anymore if you come with free food or free medical treatment. So, do not complain that they now fear and distrust the army. Isn’t that what the Nigerian Army set out to achieve in their unprofessional military mannerism?
Army should blame it on themselves and not on those South Easterners, who reciprocated to glaring, odd and gross military mannerism. Now, you have got what you wanted.