A lawyer to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has written to the United Nations regarding the ongoing tension in Nigeria’s South-east.
In a letter dated September 14 and signed by Mr. Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the IPOB leader is asking the UN to intervene to ensure the removal of soldiers in the South-east region, saying the security operatives are only there to ”intimidate, torture innocent civilians.”
According to the letter addressed to the office of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and copied to the office of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ejiofor is asking the international community to intervene to prevent the continued stay of soldiers on the streets of the region.
“We have no doubt that the undisclosed reason for the deployment of troops to South-eastern states by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is to attack unarmed and defenceless members of indigenous people of Biafra who are merely exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to self-determination.
“It is our belief that this unprovoked assault and mindless killing of unarmed members of our client’s group is to provoke them into resorting to armed struggle. It is pertinent to bring to the attention of your office sir, that situations stated under section 217 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended 2011, that will warrant the deployment of soldiers to any region of the country, in the manner presently done by the president Buhari led government is not obtainable in the south eastern states,” the letter said.
Mr. Ejiofor is also alleging that “without the intervention of the international community to possibly stop the ongoing carnage, bloodletting and gross abuse of humans, rights the problem in the area would not stop.”
The Nigerian Army has said it would not withdraw its forces currently undertaking an operation in the region.
The army in a statement by its spokesperson, Sani Usman, said contrary to earlier claims by the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, that the army would gradually withdraw its troops, the military would do no such a thing.
“It’s not true that we are withdrawing the troops,” Mr. Usman, a brigadier general said.
Meanwhile, another group, South Eastern Regional Group, SERG has demanded the continued presence of military operatives in the area, describing the IPOB members as ”criminal, and senseless.”
“We are perturbed and indeed overwhelmed by the persistent violent aggressions and cohesive exploits of IPOB through its arms and militant wing, the BSS. We suspect strongly that since the BSS is peopled (by) outlaws, they are responsible for the spate of assassinations of kinsmen opposed to their fluid and a dubious quest for a Biafran state,” SERG said in a statement signed by its national president, Charles Mbani.
The Nigerian Army on Friday declared IPOB a terrorist group, listing five reasons for its decision.