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Group warns ethnic militias to ceasefire or be crushed

A group operating under the aegis of the Conference of Minority Tribes (CMT) has call on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Niger Delta Avengers to discontinue their senseless struggle in the interest of the country or risk being crushed by the Nigerian military.

The group also alleged that the Niger Delta Avengers had killed over 50 security operatives, since they began attacks on oil and gas facilities in the region.

It also lamented the destruction by IPOB and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), saying that, only last week, the two groups took on security operatives in several south-eastern cities leading to the killing of several security personnel who were on duty.

According to them “IPOB members are threatening to kill Nigerian soldiers if they dare to protect the national infrastructure, as well as economic asset in the Niger Delta region”.

Addressing news men in Jos, on Wednesday, the Plateau State capital, the co-ordinator of the group, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi, said that from the reports they had received so far, the ethnic agitators were bearing arms against the country and these were the weapons they were using to kill security operatives.

He pointed out that Nigerians must note that the weapons in question were neither the type for hunting nor were they licensed. So, the possession of these arms and explosives alone constituted crimes even when they were not used for killing anyone.

In his words: “Sadly, we further observe that leaders from the South-South and South-East zones, where these groups operate, rather than play the roles expected of them and condemn these heinous crimes, are obliquely endorsing the criminality by hyping dialogue without calling the killer squads to order.”

The group further stressed that “As a responsible body, the Conference of Minority Tribes condemns these attacks and killing of security operatives in the strongest terms possible as it is barbaric, evil, out of tune with contemporary approaches to agitation and definitely contrived to make minority ethnic groups suffer.”

It said that “all security officers in Nigeria have rights to life and any group of persons under any guise who use arms against them declares war on the Nigerian state and should not expect to be treated less than insurrectionist in any way.

“Amnesty International and all human rights organisations are by this briefing called to defend the families of security agents in Nigeria, who are targets of ethnic militias, to condemn and this injustice against persons who risk their lives that others may live”.

The group, while calling for peace, stressed that the crisis entrepreneurs should have a rethink, adding that no individual, group or people had the monopoly of violence, “which makes us worried that it is a matter of time before other ethnic nationals, whose sons are being killed in service to Nigeria would vent their grievances on Niger Delta Avengers, IPOB and MASSOB.

“We see the current situation as an attempt to destabilise President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration by those who had threatened to do just what is happening now and by those who want to use the cover of the crises to evade prosecution for corruption charges against them.”

Ogenyi also appealed to Buhari to thoroughly weigh the situation before succumbing to those parroting “carrot and stick” approach because “we must end the culture of tolerating criminality with monetised amnesty.

They noted that youths of all ethnic groups must learn to work for money as opposed to being paid to stay off crime, while appealing to security operatives to update their strategies for dealing with these criminal elements to minimise casualty and prioritise arrests and intelligence gathering that would expose the sponsors of these crises.”

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