From Steve Oko, Umuahia
The youth wing of the apex Igbo body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has demanded immediate and unconditional release of all Biafra agitators from police cells, military facilities and prison custodies across the country.
Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) made the call after its meeting in Awka, Anambra State where it reviewed the deplorable conditions of the inmates.
OYC, in a statement expressed deep concern over the condition of the inmates, and urged South East Governors to grant them pardon just as their Northern counterparts are doing to bandits.
The statement signed by Chukwuemeka Chimerue, the Media Aide to OYC President , Comrade Igboayaka O Igboayaka said some of the inmates had been incarcerated for more than twelve years without trial.
“Having been charged with trumped up charges of treasonable felony; we find it inhuman that people could sleep with their eyes closed and their conscience subdued while vibrant youths of Igbo rot in prisons across the stats of Igbo extraction”, the statement said.
It further read :”We, Ohanaeze Youth Council having investigated and
followed the matter and discovered that Igbos are still treated unfairly in their own country. We hereby appeal for executive pardon from Governors of Igbo extraction and judicial pardon from the Chief Judges of the various state prisons they are incarcerated since 13 years.
“Governors of Igbo extraction whose subjects have suffered unjustly in the prison namely, Mrs. Onyekachi Orji- Imo state, Onitsha prison, Uchenna Nicolas- Ebonyi, Onitsha prison, Sabastine Amadi- Imo state, Onitsha prison, Chiweike Irondi- Abia, Awka prison, Chima Aso- Ebonyi, Awka prison, Okwudiri Bassey- Ebonyi, Onitsha prison, Ikechukwu Chikwem- Imo, Onitsha prison, Peter Igbokwe-Enugu, Onitsha prison, Uche Idika- Abia, Awka prison, Emmanuel Orji- Ebonyi, Awka prison, Ndubuisi Okam- Ebonyi, Awka prison, Maduabuchi Asika- Anambra, Awka prison, Eni Kalu-Ebonyi, Awka prison, Chukwuma Kalu-Ebonyi, Awka prison, Michael Okezie- Abia, Awka prison, Kashimia Odokara- Imo, Awka prison, Ojemba Anyawu- Imo, Awka prison, Chidiebere Ezekwem- Imo, Awka prison, and Ikechukwu Aghari- Ebonyi, Awka prison.
“Perhaps, it’s noteworthy a newly wedded lady (then), Mrs Onyekachi Orji (not a member of MASSOB) was arrested in her eight months pregnancy, thrown into the prison and forced to deliver in incarceration, deprived of motherly care to her child, this is sheer wickedness.
“We have not been able to hold back this agony since we visited Onitsha prison to see some of the prisoners; little girls among the victims are already aging while those in Akwa prison are terminally sick, deprived of medical attention; frustrated into believing that their lives has come to an end, they now rot in the prison like people without hope.
“Biafra agitation is not a death sentence; it is an effort to enthrone justice and those agitators deserve a pardon. We aware that the constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria on self determination Art.1&20 Cap A9 has been violated by the Nigeria against her citizenry from Igbo extraction.”
According to OYC, all inmates were arrested in 2007 “for being members of MASSOB except Mrs Onyekachi Orji who was arrested because she is the wife of Mr Innocent Orji who was declared wanted for his Biafra activities”.
The release further said “in an effort to force him (Orji) into surrender, his newly wedded wife Mrs Onyekachi Orji was arrested as leverage. Innocent Orji later submitted himself but his wife was not released languishing in prison since thirteen years now, Unfortunately Mrs. Onyekachi Orji thirteen years later, she is still incarcerated for no reason.”
“Let it be clear to the general public that Mrs Onyekachi Orji who has lost everything as a result of her unlawful and immoral incarceration was not a member of MASSOB as at the time of her arrest, her only crime was marital connection with Innocent Orji, the prime suspect that has long been discharged and acquitted.
“OYC believes in just and fair Nigeria; in the North, governors meet bandits and terrorists, they negotiate and release them from detention.
“We have seen more of where Boko Haram members are released and rehabilitated. We have seen where bandits got amnesty but when it comes to Igbo youths fighting for justice, they are being killed, incarcerated for years and tortured to death.
” It is the responsibility of every Nigerian to maintain peace and peace can only come through justice, equity and fairness, which are the beacons of prosperity laid by our founding fathers.”
OYC further said :”We don’t address our problems by unjustly incarcerating Igbo youths for decades, subjecting them to mental torture and forced to losing their brains.
“We must put an end to this injustice if we want our dear country to move forward in the right direction.
“At this juncture, we state that it is practically impossible to defile science, when oppressive leadership persist, the people might not hold it anymore, when they can’t resist penury, intimidation, injustice and marginalization it must surely lead to revolution.
“Igbo youth has become endangered species in Nigeria project, this must stop. The political elites and capitalist who seeks for Unity and indivisible Nigeria must practically act now. They must Shun injustice, marginalization, corruption and looting as a practical approach to keep the unity of Nigeria.”
OYC, therefore, called on “all Igbo stakeholders, church leaders and traditional rulers to earnestly seek the unconditional release of all pro-Biafran members in the prison as a total gesture to promote peace and unity in Nigeria project.”
“We believe that releasing pro-Biafran members will amount to reconciliation and strengthen the unity of Nigeria in its totality”, OYC said.
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