A group of youth in the South-east have expressed worry over alleged secret arrests and killing of youths in the region by the military.
It said the military resorted to labelling every youth as a member of IPOB, a pro-Biafra group that has been proscribed by the Nigerian government.
The youths, under the ageis of South East Igbo Youth Leaders called for the immediate withdrawal of the military from the zone, just as it advised the police and other security agencies to discharge their duties professionally and with dignity.
Addressing reporters in Awka, Anambra State, the group’s spokesperson, Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu, said the use of force or military action in the South-east could lead to more provocation, anarchy and disintegration.
He described the current situation as a challenging moment for the Ndigbo.
The people of the zone, he said, needed “unseen strength” and leadership which he said were only found in unity and sacrifice.
“We are calling on the federal government to immediately stop the random arrest and unjust killing of Igbo youths under the guise of IPOB and/or ESN members.
“It is unfortunate that a revered organisation like the Nigerian Army, no longer apply the tenets of professionalism and respect for human rights while discharging their duties.
“Most worrisome is the alleged secret arrest and killing of Igbo youths by the military. We call on the federal government to expeditiously withdraw the military from the South-east.
“This is one of the obvious reasons the security agencies have lost the confidence and support of the masses.”
Mr Okpalaezeukwu, however, commended the South-east governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo for declaring May 30 as a public holiday. He urged the federal government to embrace the initiative as a national day of healing.
While passing a vote of confidence and support to Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership, the group called on the South-east governors, traditional rulers and political leaders to foster unity and engage the youths to restore stability in the region.
“We align, utterly with the positions of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, ably led by Prof George Obiozor that Ndigbo will not lead the breakup of Nigeria, but will not be victims of Nigeria Unity.
“Indeed, the unity of Nigeria is paramount but not at all cost. We are committed to peace, justice, equity and fairness. Throughout history, people denied justice have no interest in peace. It is either restructuring or referendum,” he added.
Security officials, including the military, have remained the targets of deadly attacks in the South-east and the South-south regions.
Facilities belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission have also been attacked and set ablaze in the regions.
IPOB has denied accusations that it is responsible for the attacks.