Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has warned the Federal Government and the Nigeria Army in particular against a repeat of September 2017 Operation Python Dance experience where Igbo sons and daughters were allegedly gruesomely killed without consequences.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant – General Tukur Buratai, had on Monday directed all military formations to deal ruthlessly with any local or foreign element planning to frustrate the peaceful conduct of next Saturday’s election.
But Ohanaeze, in a statement, signed by its President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, allayed fears that the order might be a plan to scare the people of the South East from coming out to cast their votes during the presidential election on February 16, 2019.
It noted that the marching orders given by the Chief of Army Staff to divisions and Garrison Commanders in the South-East of Nigeria to go after IPOB members to forestall their threat to boycott the forthcoming general elections, may be a well planned agenda to execute carnage.
Chief Nwodo said, “Ohanaeze 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 it happened in the last Operation Python Dance in Abia State.
“IPOB remains a peaceful organisation championing self-determination. Their last threat to boycott 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.