Pro-Biafra group, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has strongly condemned the Nigerian Army over its denial of its culpability in the deaths of many people in Onitsha, Anambra State, during the 2016 Biafra Day celebration.
Taking a swipe at the army for the response it gave on the report of the Amnesty International that blamed the army for the shooting of unarmed civilians, IPOB said the excuses given by the army were lame and untrue.
A statement from the organisation signed by its spokesmen, Barr. Emma Mmezu and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, indicated that the army told the truth by half by stating that Amnesty International did not carry out an unbiased investigationover the unfortunate incident.
“The blatantly illiterate and incompetent Nigerian Army responded to an indicting report by Amnesty International concerning the killing of unarmed and peaceful Biafrans which occurred on the 29th and 30th of May 2016 in their usual manner of name-calling and peddling of lies,” IPOB said
In response to the report, a statement by Col. H. A. Gambo of the Nigerian Army stated: “The attention of 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to insinuations of misdeed being levelled by Amnesty International against security forces during the MASSOB/IPOB violent protests in Onitsha and environs on 31 May 2016.’
“Accordingly, it is deemed imperative for the wrong and misleading impressions with which the public is being fed to be corrected once and for all.”
Col. Gambo also noted that“pro-Biafra protesters who had chosen the day to mark the 50th Anniversary of Biafra perpetrated a number of unimaginable atrocities to unhinge the reign of peace, security and stability in several parts of Anambra State.”
But IPOB countered the army statement, saying
“ the Biafran Heroes Remembrance Day has been and will continue to be on May 30th of every year. Irrespective of the day of the week that is 30th of May, the remembrance day will always be celebrated on that date. Therefore, it is the height of deception for the Nigerian Army to claim that IPOB celebrated the Remembrance Day on May 31, 2016. And lastly, we would like to remind humanity that the sovereign nation of Biafra was declared on May 30th 1967 and by May 30th 2016 we celebrated the 49th Anniversary of the heroism of the fearless Biafra Army that, against all odds, held out for 3 years against the combined onslaught of the British led foreign military coalition against Biafra,” the statement explains.
“For record purposes, we IPOB make it clear that Nigeria never defeated Biafra but instead, it was foreign governments, especially that of Harold Wilson, Labour Party Prime Minister of Britain, that convinced Russia and the United States to provide arms to Nigeria, deny Biafra legitimate access to weapons, and ensured international diplomatic shut-out of Biafra. On the 30th of May of each year, we remember these gallant men and women that gave their lives that this generation of Biafrans might live.
“Delving into the substance of the army’s response, how can the decrepit Nigerian Army explain how people who were murdered in their sleep on the night of May 29th suddenly become violent? How can someone be sleeping and be protesting at the same time? What are the ‘unimaginable atrocities’ that the army cannot find a description for?
“To justify the use of live ammunitions on Biafrans, Col. Gambo claimed that Biafrans ‘employed firearms, crude weapons as well as other volatile cocktails such as acid and dynamites.’ Where are the arms and ammunitions that the army recovered from the ‘violent Biafrans?’ Is the army actually referring to the acid which they, the Nigerian Army, poured on the bodies of dead Biafrans as they lay in mass graves which was dug at the cemetery inside Onitsha Army Barracks Is the army aware that information leaked through Tony Nnaecheta who personally supervised the burying of over 100 dead bodies of Biafrans in mass graves inside the Onitsha Army Barracks?
“Col. Gambo in reference to the damning report, averred that Amnesty‘have decided to inundate the general public with an anecdote of unverified narratives in order to discredit the Nigerian Army in the course of carrying out its constitutional duties despite the inexplicable premeditated and unprovoked attacks in the hands of the violent pro-Biafran mob.’ Also, in citing legal support for their heinous crime, Col. Gambo stated that ‘the Nigerian Army in synergy with other security agencies under its constitutional mandates for Military Aid to Civil Authority, MACA,and Military Aid to Civil Power, MACP, acted responsively in order to de-escalate the deteriorating security scenario in-situ.’