About Five persons said to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who staged a peaceful protest in Aba, Abia State, against the non-release of their detained Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, were reportedly shot dead yesterday allegedly by members of a joint team of the Nigerian Army and the Police.
Sources said the protesters, who were dressed in white attires to show that their protest was peaceful, had marched from Asa road through Azikiwe to Osusu road then to Ama Ogbonna square, where the security team fired at them killing five persons.
The protesters were said to have chanted songs as they marched, urging the Federal Government to comply and respect the court orders directing it to release Kanu unconditionally. A resident, who said he watched as the group marched, added that he first saw them at Faulks Road.
“But when I got to Osusu road, I saw people running and gunshots were being fired from a distance by security men who were after the IPOB boys demonstrating. My brother and I ran towards St. Eugene Road from where we continued to watch their demonstration until the security men came and started shooting at them.
“When I came out, I saw about three persons lying down motionless with blood all over although I later heard that two other persons were also killed at Osusu by Cemetery Road. I didn’t see the two but I learnt they carried some other protesters that were injured,” he said.
When contacted the spokesperson of Abia State Police Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, demanded to be called back and could not immediately speak on the matter. Meanwhile, Igbo youths under the aegis of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) have expressed rude shock over the alleged killing.
President General of COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem, in a statement he made available to newsmen, described the act as wicked, barbaric and lawlessness of the highest order.
“This unlawful killing of five innocent Igbos who were wearing white and white as a sign of peace while protesting peacefully without any threat to lives and property shows that the Army and security agencies deployed to the South East are not on a mission to maintain peace but to kill innocent law abiding citizens of South East.
“There is no where in the world where armless protesters wearing white and white are killed for being peaceful in their conduct. The evil and wicked killing of five innocent Igbos is more than meet the eye. This means that there is a serious plan to exterminate the Igbo race who have done nothing wrong.
“It is only the court of law that has the constitutional powers to give order for the execution of any offender. So from where did the army derive their powers to execute those peaceful protesters?” he said.
Ibem called on the international community, the United Nations and all lovers of democracy to beam their searchlight on Nigeria, saying it was almost an offence “to be an Igbo by origin which is punishable by death.”
“What happened today (yesterday) where innocent persons were butchered in broad daylight is a genocide of the highest order.
“We demand for the immediate arrest, sack and prosecution of those security agents who assassinated those innocent Igbos today. The law must take its full course.
“The same military officers have never for once arrested or gunned down any Fulani terrorist and jihadist killing innocent Nigerians on a daily basis. Their guns and bullets are only active when they see innocent Igbos,” he alleged.