The Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, on Tuesday, condemned the alleged killings of Igbo youths in Emene, Enugu State, last Sunday, by some security operatives.
He said the killings of the Igbo have given room to wide suspicion of a sinister motive.
He also warned that the labelling of every Igbo group as terrorists and the incessant killings of their youths by the security operatives has become one too many and is no longer acceptable to his people.
Abaribe stated this in a statement issued in Abuja by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom, titled ‘Abaribe condemns Igbo youths’ killings in Enugu’.
He demanded the setting up of a judicial panel of Inquiry by the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
The judicial panel, according to Abaribe, would help to unravel the truth in the assertions of both the security and other groups on what really happened.
The senator noted that it was “disheartening that security operatives seem to derive pleasure at any slight whim to unleash mayhem, using the most lethal weapons against unarmed Igbo youths at every turn.”
“Such unsavoury, brutal and hateful resort to extreme repression, demean Nigeria’s democratic ethos and even question her unity,” he said.
Part of the statement read, “We are in a democracy where every agency of government, particularly the security apparatchik must adhere strictly to rules of engagement with regards to dealings with the civil populace in such a manner that will be in conformity with international best practices.
“The last time I checked, Nigerians still enjoy the freedom to associate freely. Nobody has told us that the Igbo youths meeting last Sunday was a gathering meant to launch an attack on anybody.
“Who will they attack and for what? What informed the police and DSS deployment to the venue of the meeting?
“Incontrovertible reports suggest very strongly that the killings were ignited when the security operatives stormed the venue of that peaceful meeting, not that the youths marched to anywhere to attack anybody.
“These are the issues that should be addressed at the panel,” Abaribe said.
The Minority Leader further said it was most worrisome that the people would no longer gather peacefully in their own country without being dispersed forcefully or be branded terrorists for no just cause.
The lawmaker said he would not want to believe that the wide card labeling of every Igbo youth group as terrorists is a cover to achieve a predetermined plot.
He said, “Let it not be that we now have an army of occupation in South East, working clandestinely to create fears and state of anomie in a region that has remained perhaps the most peaceful in the country.”
He, however, advised the youths to remain calm and not to resort to any form of reprisals, or succumb to provocations that could tempt them to take laws into their own hands.
“We await the official reaction of the Enugu State governor on the matter,” he concluded.