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OPC wants dialogue, condemns military attack on IPOB members

The Pan- Social -Cultural group, Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) has condemned what it said is the militarization of some part of the East under Operation Python Dance II, in the obvious attempt to arrest the growing influence of the Nnamdi Kanu led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The group canvassed for dialogue as opposed to the military option in resolving the issues at stake.

There have been clashes between soldiers and civilians said to be members of IPOB, which has reportedly led to loss of lives.

Videos have also emerged on social media showing soldiers maltreating and torturing civilians. While the army has said it would investigate the allegations, nothing has come of such probe yet.

In a statement issued by the OPC in Lagos on Thursday, and signed by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Oguntimehin, the group said the agitation of IPOB would be fruitfully addressed through dialogue rather than the military option being adopted by the Federal government.

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The OPC said it does not believe there is any security threat in Umuahia and its environs to warrant the deployment of soldiers to intimidate and molest innocent Nigerians who are going about their lawful business.

According to the Yoruba group, the Federal Government should be careful in handling the IPOB issue, adding that any agitation that has been able to attract international sympathy and support like that of IPOB should be handled with utmost care and high degree of diplomacy.

It stressed that the implication of the Military presence in the East and North East at the same time naturally sends signals of civil war in the country to the international Community, and this will discourage investors, especially now that the country is assumed to have survived recession.

The OPC said history does not favour military suppression of agitating groups, citing the case of Odi, Bayelsa state, where MEND surfaced strongly and serious damage done to the nation’s economy even after the President Olusegun Obasanjo led Federal Government was supposed to have successfully muscled the South South community to silence.

It said oil supply was forced down to 750 barrel per day from its usual 2.5m barrel as a result of MEND activities, adding that profitable oil activities only picked up in the Niger Delta after the Late President Yar’dua led government successfully dialogued with MEND.

Warning against the implication of the military attack on IPOB and Umuahia leading to the killing of many the OPC said “all efforts must be made to guide jealously the hard earned democracy which individuals and groups fought hard to enthrone”

The OPC said the nation’s democracy is daily being threatened by sundry issues, chief among them injustice, security and the economy, which it said could naturally be resolved without bloodletting if the Federal Government could be sincere enough to take the best possible option of restructuring the country.

Reiterating its call for the restructuring of the country along regional lines, the OPC said the Federal government should take conscious effort to ensure that the incessant bloodletting in the country is arrested instead of aiding it through unnecessary militarization of the country like is being done in the South East, submitting that the recent happenings in Abia between soldiers and members of the public had underscored the urgency to reconsider the necessity of Operation Python Dance 2

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