- Ohanaeze Ndigbo has accused the Nigerian Army of posting Northern Muslim commanders to the southeast in order to kill Igbo youths
- The Igbo group also claimed that President Buhari has given a secret ‘shoot-on-sight order’ to the soldiers in the southeast
- However, the Nigerian Army has strongly reacted to the allegations, saying its ethnicity is not a part of the parameters it uses in deploying officers
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, has accused the Nigerian Army of deploying only Fulani-Hausa military commanders to the southeast in a bid to "massacre Igbo youths", The Punch reported.
The group also claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari gave a secret ‘shoot-on-sight order’ to soldiers deployed to the southeast, adding that the alleged move was a call for another “pogrom and genocide.”
Ohanaeze, therefore, cautioned the federal government to refrain from the use of force in resolving the present national crises.
The group's president-general, Prof. George Obiozor, in a statement released on Monday, May 10, also accused the security agencies of carrying out extrajudicial killings on innocent Igbo youths, claiming it was what caused the current security situation in the southeast.
Obiozor went on to list the commanders of the military operations in the southeast and some south-south states, claiming they were all Northern Muslims.
Legit.ng notes that the bulk of the allegations made by the group was based on a report by an online news media.
Nigerian Army reacts
In a swift move, the Nigerian Army on Monday, May 10, reacted to the newspaper report, describing it as a piece targeted at steering discord and disunity among peace-loving Nigerians.
The Army's spokesman, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, said:
"The NA being a national body does not promote or post its personnel along ethnic or religious lines. Postings in the NA are routine exercises and are based on professional competencies not as portrayed by the baseless publication."
The Army also went on to state the ethnic origins of some of its commanders and their postings to prove non-ethnic considerations in its deployments.
1. General Officer Commanding 82 Division Enugu - Major General Taoreed Lagbaja (Southwest)
2. Commander 34 Brigade Owerri - Brigadier General Raymond Utsaha (North central)
3. General Officer Commanding 2 Division Ibadan - Major General Gold Chibuisi (Southeast).
The Nigerian Army debunked the newspaper's claim that Brigadier General Farouk Mijinyawa was the Commander of 16 Brigade.
The Army spokesman, therefore, urged members of the public to disregard the report.
Comrd Hussaini Abba Umar said:
"Those depicting such fictitious news should be brought to book to face full wrath of the law."
Osakpolor Odigie said:
"The Nigeria army hold no one any explanation, God bless the Nigeria army, God bless Nigeria"
Mark Patrick said:
"I saw a video recently on how soldiers were brutalising young men and their leader telling the guys "I will kill you and your so will not rest in peace". Every action should be geared towards the pursuit of peace and unity."
11 ESN members killed
Meanwhile, in a previous report, the Nigerian Army said 11 members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) linked to the proscribed group, Indigenous People of Biafra, had been killed by security forces.
The army said troops along with policemen killed the ESN fighters when they launched an attack on the police command in the Orlu local government area of Imo state on Thursday night May 6.
Yerima, a spokesperson for the army, stated that the IPOB/ESN terrorists were completely obliterated when a reinforcement team of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force came to support the police personnel.