The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has condemned alleged threat by the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to impose a state of emergency in the South-East if security agents were attacked again.
The Army Chief was alleged to have threatened to impose a state of emergency if governors of the states allowed any further attack on security forces by suspected members of the separatist movement, IPOB.
Ohanaeze, in statement on Wednesday by its acting Secretary General and National Publicity Secretary, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, said although it abhorred violence, it took exception to such open threat to governors of the region by the CAS who has no constitutional right to do so.
The pan-Igbo organisation described the threat as provocative and a glaring example of the reckless impunity of public officers. It insisted that the threat by the COAS was provocative coming to a region that has relative peace when he had not done anything close to that to governors of the states in North-Central, North-West and North-East that have become theatres of war and armed banditry.
While querying the source of Buratai’s power to issue such an open threat to governors of South-East states, Ohanaeze said it was a manifestation of the vacuum in governance at the federal level.
The statement read, “While Ohanaeze Ndigbo decries violence in any form in the states, it takes particular exception to an open threat and warning to South-East governors who by the country’s constitution are chief security officers of their states but are lame ducks in practice as all security commands come from Abuja.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo finds it particularly provocative for General Buratai to issue such a warning to governors of the South-East where relative peace prevails while he has not done the same in the North-Central, North-West and North-East which have become theatres of war and where army posts and bases have been subjected to incessant attacks by the Boko Haram, ISWA/ISIS, bandits and Fulani herdsmen, killing and maiming Nigerian soldiers.”
“We also wonders where the army chief derives the power to issue such a threat which, under the country’s constitution, can only be carried out by the National Assembly on demand by the president.
“It is surprising that an army chief, who was watching as the governor of Katsina State was negotiating and taking pictures with armed bandits, would turn round to threaten to impose a state of emergency in states where unarmed citizens are agitating against the harsh and inhuman conditions they have been subjected to by their country.”
Describing the threat as a glaring example of a “reckless impunity of public officers and a tacit manifestation of the vacuum in governance at the federal level,” Ohanaeze believes it was a confirmation of the authorities regard of the zone as conquered territory.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes the threat by Buratai is a vindication of the belief that the South East is being regarded as a conquered territory, exemplified in the army of occupation stationed in the area,” the organisation said in the statement.