Apex Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said it has never been against Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) or other separatist groups agitating for a sovereign nation, Biafra.
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Gary Enwo Igariwey, who made the clarification yesterday, also reacted to the Friday shooting at Ohanaeze secretariat in Enugu following a misunderstanding between two factions of Ohanaeze youth wing.
Igariwey said it has never been the official position of Ohanaeze that IPOB and other groups should stop agitation for a sovereign state.
He noted that Ohanaeze’s position is that the groups were free to agitate for sovereignty but in doing so, they should not expose themselves to harm by security personnel.
“They are free to agitate but we are only saying they should not expose themselves to security risks; they are free to agitate,” he stated.
On the shooting at Ohanaeze secretariat which caused a scare during a meeting on Friday, Igariwey said Ohanaeze is resolving the crisis within the youth wing which resulted into the fracas.
“There is no serious problem; we are handling the matter. The shooting was accidental by a security man attached to one of the officials (of Ohanaeze), in a bid to control a tensed situation. But nobody was injured,” he said.
Recall that a policeman opened fire at the National Secretariat of the organisation in Enugu on Friday.
It was learnt that the incident was caused by leadership tussle between rival factions of the Ohanaeze Youth Council.
Igariwey and other Ohanaeze leaders, including the National Secretary, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, were at the secretariat for a National Executive Committee meeting of the body when the incident occurred. Leaders of the youth wing were also at the meeting.
However, trouble started when the National Publicity Secretary of the youth wing, Obinna Adibe, who belonged to the Arthur Okafor faction, allegedly came with some plain clothes policemen from the Enugu Area Command to arrest one of the youth leaders, Alex Okemiri.
Adibe had, in a petition to the Enugu Area Command, accused Okemiri, who belonged to the faction of the National President, Mazi Ikechukwu Isiguzoro, of impersonating him in text messages he circulated to summon a meeting.
As the policemen were dragging Okemiri into a waiting vehicle, some officials of Ohanaeze Ndigbo moved to intervene. Plea by the Ohanaeze officials fell on deaf ears, as the policemen insisted on taking Okemiri away.
But the matter took a dangerous turn when a policeman attached to one of the Ohanaeze officials shut at the gates of the secretariat, raised his rifle and fired into the air.
The sound of the gunshot sent the Ohanaeze leaders scampering for safety.
Afterwards, Igariwey moved to continue with the discussions between the warring factions of the youth wing, while the policemen eventually left without Okemiri, after Igariwey pleaded with Adibe to allow the Ohanaeze leadership to resolve the crisis.
It was gathered that the policeman that released the bullet was reprimanded.