If the fillers Umuaka Times is getting from several Igbo Diasporan unions across the globe is anything to go by, uncountable number of Igbo big boys, womenand their children who live overseas may shelve visiting Igboland during the 2021 Christmas celebrations as a result of insecurity. Several people who spoke with Umuaka Times at different fora on the issue expressed deep worries and concerns over their safety in case they may return home. In Anambra State alone, the theatre of killings has led to something more serious and dangerous than imagined by observers and political actors across Igboland. On October 6, 2021,Vanguard newspaper reported that Anambra residents now live in fear while Anambra Elders’ Council challenged Southeast governors to rise up and fight the insecurity.
Intersociety in her own reaction to the crisis, blamed politicians, IPOB and security agents over the political impasse in the whole of Igboland. On his own reactions too, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe appealed to the authorities to deploy intelligence mechanism in the area and stop the killings.
While the killings and mayhem continue across Igboland, some organizations like IPOB, DSS and other organizations have been accused of being behind the killings and in their quick response to the accusations, each of them has denied the charges. According to Sun News of October 9, 2021, “A group, The Defacto/Customary Government of Biafra has condemned the violence and killings in Igbo land or elsewhere. It said it has distanced itself from recalcitrant attitudes of other groups who have lost focus in the struggle for the restoration of the sovereign rights of the nations of Biafra.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Chief Jones Ufot, the group also condemned what it described as, “a vague narrative of events to demonize the Biafra nation and whitewash the injustices melted against her by the Nigeria state,’ stressing that Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, a scholar, misfired by presenting false narrative in his article about Biafra.”
In a similar development according to the Guardian newspaper of 11 October 2021, “Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution (RIABPCR) have lamented the killings and destruction in Igboland, appealing to the Federal Government to grant amnesty to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other separatist groups in Nigeria.
In a statement released in Enugu at the weekend, the Christian leaders stressed that de-criminalisation and de-proscription of the groups would lead them to embrace democratic and non-violent means of negotiation and dialogue on the future of the country.”
From Punch newspaper of June 11 2021, The Igbo Elders Council disclosed that 5000 Igbo youths have been killed in the last couple of years in cold blood. The group also alerted the world that about 10,000 Igbo youths have been clamped into detention over the years. These figures were reached held by top Igbo stakeholders in a meeting they held over the state of insecurity in the country. A former Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife; former Minister of Education, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike; Prof. C.E. Nwekeaku; Onwu Arua Onwu and HRM, Eze Ibe Nwosu were the signatories to the communique which was issued at the end of the meeting.
With all these reasons and the recent assassination of Dr Chike Akunyili as well as the deployment of soldiers in the Southeast, there seems to be renewed hostilities among certain interest groups and the agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria the Southeast. Since the deployment of soldiers by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the area, there is a confirmation that many more Igbo youths have as well been murdered in cold blood both in Anambra and Imo states by the time of filing this report.
With all these tragic incidents, many families of Igbo extraction who live outside Igboland have become apprehensive about celebrating the 2021 Christmas in Igboland with their loved ones and extended family member. The panaceafor now is a strong intervention by Igbo top voices and the Federal Government of Nigeria to initiate a peace process and a sustainable intervention. Travelling to or around Igboland as it stands today is a very risky expedition especially by the youths. The Igbo youths have been accused of working for the other interest group by other interest groups. Families also have warned their children to be careful while travelling and staying out in the night.
For now, there is a need for a prompt ceasefire so that the Igbo will celebrate the 2021 Christmas in peace.