The Nigeria Army has debunked allegations of killings and abduction of members of the Indigenous People of Biafran, IPOB in the Southeast.
The spokesperson of the 83 Division of the Army in Enugu, Sagir Musa, stated this in a statement on Tuesday.
He was reacting to an earlier statement by the pro-Biafra group’s spokesperson, Emma Powerful, who claimed the Army killed two persons in Owerri and abducted many others including a couple whose whereabouts remain unknown.
“The Nigerian Army is at it again. Yesterday (Monday), they shot dead two young men in Owerri. Last night and this morning they have commenced their abduction of Biafrans in Aba,” began Mr Powerful’s statement.
“Biafrans are now the longest suffering race in human history. One day the anger will no longer be controllable and the world will wake up then to start pontificating,” he warned.
He alleged that the ‘Nigerian Army is conducting a stealth genocidal war against Biafrans and it is the responsibility of the world to take note.
“We have been made to feel that a Biafran life is worthless. Let these facts be chronicled for posterity because we shall reference them at the appropriate time. Any day we start, let the world not blame us. Those that gave the Nigerian army license to kill our people will regret it, them and their families.
“Nigerian Army must release those they abducted including a husband and wife they kidnapped this morning”.
The IPOB spokesperson said the group’s decision to boycott elections is an act of civil disobedience which any reasonable person ought to understand.
“That Nigeria is an uncivilised backward society is not the fault of IPOB. We have chosen a civilised, nonviolent approach but it appears that (the) Nigerian Army is hell-bent on provoking us to pick up arms. When that eventually happens, the world should know those to hold responsible,” he added.
But in a swift reaction, Mr Musa who was recently elevated to the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army described the claims by IPOB as dubious.
“Contrary to the dubious and bunkum claims made by the proscribed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), I wish to state that there was nobody that was manhandled, shot, wounded, abducted or killed by a soldier or soldiers of the Nigerian Army (NA) in Abia and Imo States or in any other State of the South East geopolitical zone”.
“As a professional and responsible organisation, the NA, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has variously and sufficiently – (both in deeds and actions) made it clear that it will not encourage or condone any form of professional misconduct, especially human rights abuses,” he said.
He accused IPOB of deliberately making such selfish and wicked propaganda and misinformation for mischievous reasons.
“The NA ably represented by the 82 Division in the South East, will continue to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians in the zone and is determined to ensure peaceful and secured conduct of free, fair and credible 2019 general elections”
“For awareness and further clarification, – civilians are not detained in conventional army detention centres except under exceptional situations such as on charges of terrorism, insurgency or any form of armed insurrection, among others”.
He said anyone arrested by the army during the ongoing Exercise EGWU EKE 111 has been handed over to the police for further action.
Mr Musa also enjoined members of the public to “disregard any form of divisive and inciting propaganda, particularly the ones coming from the likes of miscreants and outlawed organizations like IPOB.”