A coalition of youth groups in the South-South geo-political zone of the country has called on the government to proscribe IPOB.
The group under the aegis of Youths of Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers [YCAR], while welcoming the launching of the Operation Python Dance in the region, observed that if Kanu and his group are not urgently tamed, Nigeria might be witnessing another heavy bloodbath.
Speaking at a press conference held in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, the National Co-ordinator group, Augustine Adeh, said the recent attacks on innocent Nigerians in Rivers State by hoodlums identified as IPOB members, was an indication that a military operation is needed to contain the extreme tendencies set in motion by IPOB's campaign of hatred which is spreading to some states in the South-South.
The YCAR strongly warned Kanu to be ready to face the consequences if his group continues to prevent soldiers from carrying out their legitimate functions in the region.
“To us, the launching of the operation is not unconnected with the success recorded by Operation Python Dance of 2016, which was widely credited for reducing crimes in the region before the Christmas festivities of that year.
It is for this reason that those of us in Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers States remain elated at the launch of Operation Python Dance II. The operation is well received in our states and it is not for nothing that it is so.
We are therefore concerned that Operation Python Dance II is at the risk of becoming the casualty of politics and criminality in the South-East.
While the operation is well received in Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers, it is being rejected only in some selected states of the South-East, whose people's interest it is meant to serve.
It is most disappointing that all the wrong reasons are being adduced for maligning this operation. These include allegations that the soldiers were deployed because of the secession bid of the Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB], Movement for the Actualization of a Sovereign State of Biafra [MASSOB], Biafra Zionists Movement and other groups that are campaigning for the balkanization of Nigeria.
There has also been the false claim that the military exercise is an invasion. The attacks on innocent Nigerians in Rivers State by hoodlums identified as IPOB members is proof that a military operation is needed to contain extreme tendencies set in motion by IPOB's campaign of hatred.
The attacks justify our call for IPOB's criminality to be dealt with at its birthplace before it spreads to other parts of the country the same way that Boko Haram terrorism did," Adeh said in a statement.
Continuing further, he lauded the Nigerian Army for its timely intervention towards tackling kidnapping, armed robbery, and other criminal activities in the South-South and South-East regions.
“We are concerned that the Igbos, particularly those under the influence of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu's hazy state of mind, must have something up their sleeves to attract the vehement rejection of the military exercise to the extent of using it to incite nationwide crisis.
While we had anticipated that criminals would kick against the operation, we did not envisage that they will attempt to stand truth on its head by purveying fake news.
Of particular note is Kanu's lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who goofed by describing his client and IPOB as innocent, unarmed and defenseless. Such assertion is blasphemous, to say the least.
Such falsehood could only have been peddled by someone addicted to twisting facts for a living. Ejiofor manufactures lies and hates and churns them out at a pace meant to unsettle the general public.
We appeal to Nigerians in other states to please understand the severity of the issue under consideration. The IPOB fanatics are courting public sympathy, including staging attacks to provoke soldiers on their mission and it is a trick that well-meaning Nigerians must not fall for.
We expect that anyone apprehended in connection with attacks on soldiers should be matched with existing police crime database as they would be proven to be the same people behind the spate of kidnapping, armed robberies and drug dealing in the region.
We call on the police to immediately arrest and prosecute Nnamdi Kanu's lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, for conspiracy to breach the peace through the misrepresentation of fact.
The police should also heighten its state of alertness in other states of the federation to arrest any person or group of persons that try to disrupt the peace.”