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A coalition of Igbo groups has raised alarm against an alleged attempt to link some factional leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and its security wing, the Eastern Security Network, ESN.

Recall that Ohanaeze Ndigbo split into two factions after its January election, with one led by Amb. George Obiozor and the second group under the leadership of Chief Chidi Ibeh, MFR.

Currently, a Peace Committee set up by the College of Igbo Bishops under the leadership of Archbishop AJV Obinna( Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri) as Chairman, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma (Anglican Communion, Enugu Province) as Co-Chairman and Archbishop Chibuzo Opoko ( Methodist Church, Umuahia) as Secretary, respectively at the request of the Concerned Imeobi Members (CIM) is working towards ending the factionalization of the Igbo apex organization.

Earlier, Governors Hope Uzodinma of Imo and Dave Umahi of Ebonyi States had held a reconciliatory meeting with both factions in Government House, Owerri, Imo State without much succees.

In a statement issued on Friday, signed by Dr. (Mrs) Helen Ogbonnaya, the Spokesperson, Coalition of Igbo Groups and National President, SouthEastern Nigeria Women Professionals, some Igbo groups are now raising alarm over an alleged plot to use the Presidency and harass the Ibeh led faction into submission, after reconciliation attempts appear not to be going as quickly as expected.

The groups- South Eastern Nigeria Women Professionals, World Igbo Youth Congress, and Igbo Students Union warned of the consequences of using security agents to harass Igbo leaders.

They alleged that a plot “ to use security agents to arrest the leadership of Chidi Ibeh-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo, through the instrumentality of the Presidency, by linking them with the Unknown Gunmen, currently threatening the security of the region has been uncovered”. The grand plan, according to them, “is to detain Obiozor’s rivals until further notice.”

They added in the statement that “It’s of public knowledge that Obiozor’s emergence as factional President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo contravened the laid procedures for Ohanaeze elections, as stipulated in articles 14 and 21 of Ohanaeze Constitution. This is what gave birth to a parallel leadership widely accepted by Igbos.

“Having failed to follow procedure, Obiozor rallied help from the presidency to persuade a few governors and serving ministers to support the illegality.

“Igbos rejection of Professor Obiozor was a clear rejection of the imposition by external detractors.”

“We are aware of the petitions laced with falsehoods to implicate Chief Chidi Ibeh, Barr Uche Okwukwu and Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro as members of IPOB and ESN. This is laughable, as these Igbo leaders are representing the genuine interests of Ndigbo, as such, all forms of blackmail against them will fail.

The Coalition opined that such a sinister could truncate the genuine but gradual progress being made by the College of Igbo Bishops’ Peace Committee, scheduled to meet again on Monday, 28th June, 2021, after having met delegations from both factions, including other groups such as Ala-Igbo Development Foundation (ADF), World Igbo Congress (WIC) and Igbo World Assembly (IWA).

“The college of Igbo Bishops have waded into the crisis in Ohanaeze Ndigbo and attempts to arrest Chidi Ibeh and others by Obiozor through the Presidency will bring more disasters and uprisings in Igbo land.

“We are aware of the lawsuits in Umuahia, Owerri, and Abuja, the courts should be allowed to do their job. Security agents should not be used for vendetta against Igbo leaders, for any reason,” they further stated.

Ironically, Ichie Chief Chuks Momah, SAN, the National Legal Adviser of Ohaneze Ndigbo under the immediate past regime of Chief Nnia Nwodo is the lead counsel of the Ibeh faction in their lawsuits having Amb. Obiozor and Chief Nwodo as respondents.

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