The pregnant woman, Harira Jubril and her four female children, Fatima, 9; Khadijah, 7; Hadiza, 5 and Zaituna, 2, killed by militants of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were buried amid tears Wednesday in Awka, Anambra State.
The husband of the woman, Jubril Ahmed, told Daily Trust that he changed his plan to transport the corpses to his hometown in Adamawa State because the bodies were not preserved and had started decomposing.
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He, however, said he was relocating to Adamawa to start a new life as the outlawed group had wiped out his entire family.
He said, “As I’m talking to you now, I’m on my way to Adamawa State my hometown and I’m relocating there completely to start a new life over there from the beginning, as they have eliminated my whole family.
“The governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Charles Soludo, has supported me with N500,000 and I also appreciate my friends and relatives who have been supportive since when the incident happened,” he said.
Responding to a question, Jibril said: “All the people from the North have vacated for fear over their safety, they’ve all returned home; while others are on their way back.”
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday condemned what he called “wild, barbarous and wanton killings of innocent people” in the South-East and the other parts of Nigeria.
Buhari, in a statement yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, warned the perpetrators of the “deeply distressing” acts to expect tough response from the security forces.
He also cautioned against any knee-jerk reactions, the creation of panic, disruption of lives and livelihoods, retaliatory violence following the viral videos of the alleged killings of non-indigenes by the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and its mother terrorist group, IPOB.
He said expert agencies were now verifying the factuality and veracity of the claims that accompanied the horrid pictures being circulated.
He called on all citizens to avoid hasty steps or conclusions that could exacerbate the situation, urging them to keep to a line of conduct that will help the law to take its proper course.
He also cautioned the public against the indiscriminate sharing of posts on social media so as to deny vested interests who seek to divide us and create disturbance the chance to do so.
In the same vein, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described the killing of a pregnant woman, Mrs. Harira Jubril and her children in Anambra State as “callous, brutal and demeaning”.
Osinbajo, in a statement Wednesday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, said the incident was capable of creating ethnic conflict across the country and must be condemned by all.
He spoke to journalists on the incident shortly after meeting All Progressives Congress delegates in Makurdi, Benue State, in continuation of his nationwide consultations with party delegates and other stakeholders ahead of the APC presidential primaries.
“What took place in Anambra with the killing of a woman and her children demeans us all. It’s such a callous act and so brutal. We must be very careful, as a people, with this type of killings that are going on, especially where it’s obviously to create such horror, annoyance and create a situation where we begin to have ethnic conflicts again and all that.
“I think we must all be careful and condemn it in the strongest possible terms, there is no excuse for it whatsoever. We must not allow a situation where we get to the point where we even countenance individuals who can do this sort of thing.
“How does anyone kill a woman and her children? It’s such a terrible tragedy condemnable by all. Mr President has spoken about it and I just want to join my voice with those of others who are completely outraged by it,” Osinbajo said.
The Christian Association of Nigeria also condemned the killing, saying IPOB is creating an atmosphere for ethno-religious wars.
Adebayo Oladeji, the spokesman of CAN President Samson Ayokunle, in a statement Wednesday, asked whether IPOB was “fighting for a country for the dead or the living?
“They should know that their criminalities are not helping the case of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu. They should not turn the South East to a ‘no man’s land’ in the interest of the founding fathers of this country who hailed from the zone.
“Their actions are not only giving the Ndigbo bad name, but they’re creating an atmosphere for ethno-religious wars. Will a reasonable group be committing crimes like this?”
CAN also stated: “This criminality is totally unacceptable, unjustifiable and reprehensible to CAN and all right thinking people. We call on the security operatives to wake up to their responsibilities.
“The criminals are now operating with impunity while those who are expected to stop or apprehend them appear powerless. “This cannot be the dream country of those who fought for her independence from the colonial masters.
“It’s disheartening and unfortunate that nowhere is safe again in the country as killers, bandits, terrorists and kidnappers are on rampage in every nook and cranny of the country and all the government is able to do is to issue periodic statements condemning them without any decisive action to bring culprits to book”.
It urged the political elite, religious leaders and the traditional rulers of Ndigbo extraction to prevail on the violent groups in the eastern part of the country to stop needless bloodshed and tension they were causing for economic prosperity and wellbeing of the region.
Don’t retaliate, MURIC begs northerners
Similarly, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), in a statement by his Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, described the killing of Harira and her kids as brutish, horrendous and barbaric, saying “No family deserves to be wiped out in this manner.”
He urged people in the north not to retaliate as vengeance would only ignite a cycle of violence.
He said: “Nigeria needs peace at this crucial time. Therefore, nobody should embark on reprisal killing. It will only compound the problem.”
Akintola urged security agencies to smoke out the killers and bring them to justice.
“In particular, we ask the British Embassy in Nigeria and other Western sources to condemn this ugly incident with the same vehemence that they condemned other killings.”
By Abbas Ibrahim Dalibi, Muideen Olaniyi & Abbas Jimoh