The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has condemned Tuesday’s attack on the newly constructed Abia cattle market in Omumauzor in the Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State by unknown gunmen.
Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, spokesman for the CNG, in a statement on Wednesday, accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) of being behind the attack.
He urged the state government to bring the culprits to justice, warning that the region would no longer tolerate unwarranted attacks on northerners in the South-East or any other part of the country.
“The recent attack in Abia has taken matters to a point whereby silence has become complicity and inaction is no longer an option in the face of unprovoked evictions, attacks and killing of northerners in various parts of the South-East,” the statement reads.
“As a first step, we demand that the Abia state and the federal government must act quickly to arrest these criminals and expose their supporters within two weeks from today.
We also demand an immediate and comprehensive assessment of casualties and extent of damage inflicted on the innocent northerners and appropriate compensation made to the victims.”
The group added, “We remind the ESN, the IPOB and their sponsors that they do not have a monopoly of rascality and violence and that the patience of the North has reached its nadir and we are no longer prepared to turn the other cheek.
“We warn that the North will no longer tolerate any further irrelevant treatment of northerners resulting from the hate campaigns and propaganda being conducted by regional and ethnic agitators, aimed mainly at instigating reprisals by northerners against people from other parts of the country.
“We are quite aware that the perpetrators of this relentless violence pursuing this agenda of destruction and collective mayhem, fervently hope it will engulf the entire country and bring about another civil war and mass killings and suffering of innocent people.”
Meanwhile, the Abia State government through the commissioner for information, Barr. Eze Chimkamnayo, said the State Government, responded swiftly by mobilising the various Security Agencies to the scene to secure the lives and property of the innocent traders and fish out the assailants.
The statement reads in part:
“This was followed this morning by a high powered team made up of the Chief of Staff, Prof ACB Agbazuere, Hon Commisioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Honorable Commissioner for Homeland Security, Chief Sopuruchi Bekee, Executive Chairman of Ukwa West LGA, Chief Okey Kanu in company of the State Commisioner of Police, CP Janet Agbede.
“We are shocked and saddened by this mindless and barbaric act of violence that claimed the lives of about 8 innocent citizens of our great country and we totally condemn this dastardly act together with it’s wicked perpetrators.
“We are working assiduously to provide succour to the families of the victims. Those who sustained injuries are currently receiving medical attention. We have equally started the immediate relocation of the traders while working out compensation for lost properties. We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that the evil perpetrators are brought to justice.
“While waiting for the outcome of ongoing investigations by our diligent Security Forces, the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu together with all Abians pray for God to grant the families of victims the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
“We urge all Citizens of our great Country in Abia State to remain law abiding and promptly report any suspicious movements to the appropriate authorities.”