The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, OYC, has strongly condemned alleged harassment of female members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB Women, by security operatives in Owerri, the Imo State capital, who were protesting the continued detention of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, stressing that development relives the scars of the Aba women riot of 1929.
On Friday, some of the women, mostly of middle age and from the South-East states, were half nude, while others dressed in black, as they marched through the streets of Owerri.
They disrupted vehicular movement and other activities in some parts of the town, claiming that the security agencies knew the whereabouts of Kanu who has been out of public view after the military allegedly invaded his home in Afara Ukwu in Abia State about one year ago.
The protesters chanted war songs and displayed different placards with inscriptions asking the Federal Government to release Kanu.
They asked the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha to help them to actualise their dream of a getting Biafra.
Numbering about a thousand, the women, who reportedly brandished Biafran flags and other insignias, later barricaded the popular Government House Roundabout and created a chaotic atmosphere around the area.
The police arrested some of the women for allegedly conducting an unlawful assembly.
Reacting, the OYC, in a statement sent to newsmen, from its Deputy President-General, Obinna Achuonye, after the body’s National Executive Council meeting held, in Abakaliki, at the weekend, cautioned the security operatives against high handedness.
The youth group said that the continued intimidation of the Igbo women is uncalled for and would only end up scraping the scars of the wound inflicted on the Igbo nation during the Aba women riot of 1929 which left many Igbo women dead.
According to the statement, “We condemn vehemently the continuous harassment of Women especially IPOB Women who were expressing their displeasure on the whereabouts of some of their arrested members.
“We still remembered the Aba women riot of 1929 and call for respect for all Igbo women anywhere they may reside to avoid a repeat of new version of Aba women riot of 1929.
“We wish the military to restructure their Operation Python dance especially by being more friendly than hostile in their operations.
“While we don’t support illegality especially from criminals but we want Nigeria Army to have a human face dealing with the Igbo in South East especially now there’s no civil disturbances or war in our geopolitical zone.”
Ohanaeze youths announced that it would host its first summit on national referendum in September, this year, where it would discuss some critical issues concerning the region and the nation at large.
“Ohanaeze Youths will host the First Referendum National Summit on 28/29th September in Owerri and call on Ndigbo to wear black bangles to show their support for the event from September 1st.
“We commend the leadership of all Nigeria Ethnic Nationalities Youth organisations led by Arewa Youth President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, and OYC President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, as we welcome all 250 Ethnic Nationalities Youth organisations in South East, for the National confab by September 2018,” the statement added.