NIGERIA – An Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Youth Council, (OYC), has called on the new Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru to act quickly to withdraw all army checkpoints in the South East to avoid possible community clash between the army and Igbo youths.
Ohanaeze also asked the Army to warn operatives posted to the region to desist from employing youths to extort motorists on their behalf and put an end to the extortion commuters or be ready to deal with resistance from irate youths.
The youth organization, in a statement by its President, Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, issued to newsmen on Sunday, noted that such acts, apart from the risk and danger it poses to life, is also a deliberate scheme to frustrate Igbo travellers heading to their different destinations.
Ohanaeze youths posited that all the federal and State highways in Igbo land which include Owerri Onitsha express, Owerri-Port Harcourt express, Enugu-Benue express, Asaba-Benin express, Owerri-Aba express, Aba-Port Harcourt express, Umuahia-Akwa Ibom-Calabar, Enugu-Awka express etc are occupied by alleged indisciplined and criminal minded soldiers and police, who severally have shot drivers and passengers at a slight provocation because of fifty and hundred Naira.
The group, however, advised Igbo youths to resist the urge of becoming tools for the army who recruit them at various checkpoints to embark on such illegal and criminal ventures, adding that it exposes them to danger and corruption.
According to him, five Igbo youths died sometime last year at the military checkpoint while in the process of collecting money from motorists for the army personnel.