Igbo youths confront gunmen, sponsors

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From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

Igbo youths under the aegis of Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has expressed anger on the continual killings in the zone by those often described as ‘unknown gunmen’. The group asked the gunmen to come out for dialogue and table their grievances rather than wasting lives everyday. Their outburst followed the killing of a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) Anthony Nwokorie and two other staff still missing after the attack at Ihitte Nkwo in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo State on Thursday while on duty.

President General of COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem, in a statement in Owerri, described the killing as wicked, senseless, barbaric and uncalled for. He wondered why the gunmen would kill those they said they were protecting.

He said: “The gunmen claimed to the fighting for the people. How does one kill the same people you claimed to be fighting for? Who then will benefit after killing all those you claimed to be fighting for?

“The action of these gunmen have immediately produced a widow, fatherless children, made a father and mother childless, thrown his brothers and sisters into mourning and the entire Ihitte Uboma and entire Imo State into disarray and state of confusion.  Our people in diaspora are no longer coming home, investors are leaving in droves, businessmen and women no longer come to the South East for their business transactions because of the notorious and nefarious activities of these gunmen.

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“To make the matter worse, the army, Air Force, and Police deployed to the state to provide security in the state are not interested in providing any security but are only interested in collecting bribe from motorists on the roads. These security agents rob our motorists with impunity at gunpoint, the same security agents deployed to protect armless citizens. The security operatives are now “known gunmen” operating in the South East zone.”

To checkmate the criminality, Ibem called on South East governors to address the security challenges confronting the zone or resign if they could not tackle the situation.

“We call on the gunmen to stop the killing of our people and we call on their leaders to come forward and present their grievances. No nation survives by killing her own people. No reason whatsoever is justifiable for anyone to take another man’s life. The killings must stop.

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“Also, we call on South East governors to activate security intelligence/enforcement units at the community levels made up of youths of the same community to assist in securing their communities. Security agents deployed to our communities are foreigners who do not know the terrain. Only those who know their environment and surrounding can do a better job of securing their communities,” he said.