A group of Igbos living in Adamawa and Kano states have deplored the current tension ravaging the South-east arising from the separatist agitations of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and the subsequent military response which has led to violence.
The Igbos under their respective cultural associations in the state, while calling for restraint from the combatants expressed their belief in the unity of the nation.
The president-general of the Igbo Cultural Association in Adamawa State, Obonna Ibere, told journalists in Yola on Friday after a meeting with Governor Muhammadu Bindow and security chiefs in the state that they were worried that members of IPOB would not allow peace to reign in the region.
“Anybody found guilty of committing crimes against the nation should be treated as an individual. We see this issue of IPOB as an issue that is destined to happen, we expect that some disgruntled people are trying to blow the situation out of proportion,” he said.
Mr. Ibere cautioned Nigerians against giving the crisis rocking the region a tribal or ethnic colouration as the Igbos believe in one Nigeria.
He, however, called on the military to observe the global rules of engagement while it seeks to bring normalcy to the troubled region.
Earlier, the Adamawa commissioner for information and strategy, Ahmad Sajoh, said that the security chiefs and government officials had gathered at the ‘Ndigbo residence’ in the state to reassure them that they are in safe hands.
Mr. Sajoh said that the state government would use all its resources to protect them from harm.
Also, the Igbo community living in Kano have also distanced themselves from the activities of IPOB saying they believe in Nigeria’s unity.
Speaking to journalists, the president-general of the Igbo Community in Kano, Ebenezer Chima, said they were concerned over the needless violence.
“We condemn in entirety the avoidable crises happenings in Abia and call for peace. We Igbos residing and doing business in Kano State, unequivocally state that we disassociate ourselves from the activities of IPOB and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.”
Mr. Chima, however, called on the federal government to address the reasons for the agitation which he said included across the board social inequality and warped distribution of the nation’s commonwealth.
The leader of Non-Indigenes Association, Jimpat Ailamgbe, called on the security operatives to ensure the safety of lives and property at all times.
Some members of IPOB, during the week, clashed repeatedly with soldiers as the military commenced preparations for exercise Egwu Eke II (Python Dance ll) which officially commenced on Friday.
The leader of IPOB, Mr. Kanu’s whereabouts remains unknown after the army stormed his country home in Afara-Ibeku, Umuahia the state capital on Thursday.
On Wednesday soldiers in a show of force attacked journalists at the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, secretariat in Umuahia, the Abia State capital destroying gadgets and manhandling some of them.
The army later apologised for the assault on journalists.
Injured casualties have also been recorded by both the security agencies and the pro-Biafan group leading to calls by some Nigerians for the federal government to halt the exercise.
The Army has said the exercise will continue and was meant to check criminality in the region.
Meanwhile, the South-east governors are meeting to fashion a way out of the escalating chaos.
Violent reactions have already emanated in the North with two deaths recorded in Jos, Plateau as a result of rising tension.
Meanwhile, governors of the nineteen northern states have commended residents across the north for being nonviolent in the face of the clashes.
The governors called on residents across the northern states to sustain the peace.
The governors spoke through the Governor of Borno State and Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, Kashim Shettima in a statement emailed to journalists by his spokesperson, Isa Gusau, on Friday.