The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, has condemned the use of force, intimidation, and violence by the military in Orsu in the Orlu zone of Imo State.
According to Obiozor, the action can threaten the unity of Nigeria and cause a national crisis.
Soldiers in Orlu
Obiozor said this on Monday when he led a delegation to the palace of the traditional ruler of Amaifeke in the Orlu Local Government Area of the state.
He said, “The use of the violent method will lead to a synchronised national crisis and ultimate disintegration of Nigeria; this too must be avoided.
“Nigeria is in a precarious situation and a great caution must be taken by the leadership to avoid events that have the capacity of incrementally aggravating or opening more threats of national crisis.”
He described the problem of insecurity in the country as a national emergency.
Reacting, Eze Okeke, who is the Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers, said, “It is surprising to people that this crisis is happening in Orsu in Orlu zone. It should have taken place in the bush instead of the town. We don’t want war but peace.”
The Nigerian Army on Monday confirmed carrying out raids and airstrike in Orlu, saying 20 people members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra were arrested – 16 males and 4 females.
Deputy Director of the Army Public Relations, Col Aliyu Yusuf, said, “On Thursday, 7 January, 2021, following incessant robbery and killing of civilians and security operatives by suspected IPOB militia within Orlu Senatorial Zone, troops of 34 Brigade were deployed in Orlu and its environs to commence effective patrol and dominance of the general area to forestall the activities of IPOB.
“On Thursday, 7 January, 2021 our troops in conjunction with the Nigeria Police conducted a raid operation of a suspected hideout of the Armed Group in Umutanze Community in Orlu Local Government Area.
“An SUV Lexus 330 with Registration Number Lagos KRD 320 EY was intercepted with 5 occupants, suspected to be members of IPOB. On sighting our troops, 4 of the occupants absconded, however, One Mr. Freedom Udochukwu Nwachukwu was arrested and handed over to the police for further interrogation.
“On Friday, 22 January, 2021, troops of 34 Brigade in conjunction with the Imo State Police Command carried out raids in Okporo/Ezenta and Akata axis of Orlu Local Government Area to recover the corpse of a police officer killed by members of IPOB.
“During the operation, one IPOB member was killed and one Jeep vehicle (SUV) was recovered. Various IPOB training camps were discovered and destroyed.
“On Monday, 25 January, 2021, our troops were ambushed at Banana Junction, Orlu Local Government Area by members of IPOB while escorting Army Headquarters Team led by Director Civil Affairs, Brigadier General HE Nzan who came to inspect Nigerian Army Civil-Military Cooperation Project at Nkwerre.
“IPOB militia attacked our troops and during the encounter, four escort soldiers were killed and four AK47s got missing. One Hilux vehicle was recovered.
“In a similar development, on Wednesday, 17 February, 2021, based on accurate intelligence reports, raid operation was conducted in the forest close to Lilu village in Ihiala General Area of Anambra State by combined troops of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, and the Nigeria Police.
“The operation commenced with airstrike at about 171750A February 21 from Mi-35 combat helicopter on confirmation of the IPOB camp/hideout, while ground troops engaged the escaping IPOB criminals.
“Thereafter troops exploited further into the IPOB Camp. The militia (men) were suspected to have escaped with their dead and shot members with varying degrees of injury, taking advantage of the poor visibility during the preceding operation.”