A group, Citizens’ Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA), has advised the Federal Government to tread carefully on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) issue to avoid providing an opportunity for another insurgent group to spring up in the South East.
IPOB, which was designated a terrorist group and proscribed in 2017, has been locked in a series of bloody clashes with the police and other national security outfits in the zone ever since.
On August 23, a clash between the separatists and security officers in Emene, Enugu, reportedly led to the death of two Department of State Services (DSS) men and some IPOB members.
Speaking during a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the National Coordinator, CISA, Chidi Omeje, said Nigeria could not afford another insurgent group like Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) because the battle to rid the country of insurgents had overstretched the military.
He urged the Federal Government to de-escalate tension in the South East by stopping the incessant loss of lives through violence in the region.
Omeje said: “On the IPOB matter, I think it is not in the best interest of the Nigeria state to agonise the people. As a group we will not condone or support wanton killing. Any group or people who want to protest must be allowed to do so if it is done within the ambit of the law.
“Government must avoid another frontier of battle in the South East because we are already battling Boko Haram in the North West, banditry and kidnapping in the South-South and North Central, so there is a need for concerted efforts to avoid another crisis in the South East.”
Omeje, who lamented insecurity in the country, however praised the military for its offensive operations across the country.
CISA chief said critics of the military were not being fair in their assessment, insisting that the armed forces were capable of defending the country from external aggression and internal threats.
“It has become customary for some vocal Nigerian commentators and a section of the media to analyse the various military operations from a standpoint and a mindset of bias and condemnation,” he said.
“Nigerians are right to demand a quick end to the menace of terrorism and banditry in any part of our country. They are right to hold government accountable for the various internal security operations being prosecuted by our fighting forces. However, Nigerians must assess or evaluate the efforts (of the military) with an open mind and with the full understanding of the dynamics of the security challenges facing the country and the nature of the combat operations being waged against them.
“We are glad that despite certain orchestrated negative reviews of our military by some cynics, most fair-minded Nigerians watching and assessing the trajectory of the security challenges across the country and the efforts of those combating them are confident that soon the challenges will be surmounted
“The CISA believes that critics of military operations should show balance in their analysis and commentaries. We therefore urge such Nigerians who are only interested in projecting and parroting setbacks and challenges encountered by our military to also join us in supporting and celebrating the various victories being recorded almost on a daily basis by troops against our adversaries.”