The apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has reacted to an alleged threat credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai to impose a state of emergency in the South East, following attacks on security operatives.
Condemning Buratai’s threat in a statement issued by the acting national secretary and publicity secretary of the organization, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, Ohanaeze queried the source of his powers to declare a state of emergency in any state of the federation.
Ohanaeze noted that the army chief has failed to impose such emergency on some troubled states in the north but willing to implement it in the South East where relative peace had prevailed.
“While Ohanaeze Ndigbo decries violence in any form in the states, it takes particular exception to an open threat and warning to South East governors who by the country’s constitution are chief security officers of their states but are lame ducks in practice as all security commands come from Abuja.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo finds it particularly provocative for General Buratai to issue such a warning to governors of the South East where relative peace prevails while he has not done the same in the North Central, North West and North East which have become theatres of war and where army posts and bases have been subjected to incessant attacks by the Boko Haram, ISWA/ISIS, bandits and Fulani herdsmen, killing and maiming Nigerian soldiers.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo also wonders where the army chief derives the power to issue such a threat which under the country’s constitution can only be carried out by the National Assembly on demand by the President,” part of the statement reads.
The Igbo group further noted that, “It is highly surprising that an army chief who was watching as the governor of Katsina State was negotiating and taking pictures with armed bandits would turn round to threaten to impose a state of emergency in states where unarmed citizens are agitating against the harsh and inhuman conditions they have been subjected to by their country.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that the threat by General Buratai is a vindication of the belief that the South East is being regarded as a conquered territory, exemplified in the army of occupation stationed in the area.
“It is also a glaring example of the reckless impunity of public officers and a tacit manifestation of the vacuum in governance at the Federal level.”