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The former minister of aviation, Osita Chidoka, on Thursday declared that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) told him that they will remain non-violent.

This was contained in his statement on the killings in Emene, Enugu State. On August 23, a clash between IPOB and the Department of State Services (DSS) led to loss of lives.

Commending efforts to de-escalate the tension, Chidoka said: “IPOB representatives assured me that they remain a non-violent organisation.”

He urged the state government to probe the incident. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain called for an end to excessive force.

Chidoka also demanded that those responsible for the death of DSS officers and theft of their arms be fished out. The former minister noted that persons in police custody be granted bail or be charged to court.

He said: “In my interaction with the security agencies, facts emerged that the DSS lost two officers and automatic rifles during the fracas while two members of IPOB were killed and about five injured.

“I condole with the families of all those who lost their lives and ask the government of Enugu State to institute a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain the truth around the incident that led to the death of unarmed civilians and security agents.

“Security agencies must continue to respect the fundamental rights of peaceful assembly in a democracy and be guided by rules of engagement in dealing with unarmed civilians.

“Use of force in delicate situations is a bye-product of the militarisation of our society and must be avoided. I condemn the use of violence by any group whether security agents or private groups.”

Chidoka added that he would continue to engage with all sides for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

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