The family of Mr Henry Oko has called on the Federal Government to set up a Special Intervention Fund for the treatment and rehabilitation of innocent victims of sit-at-home littered across South East.
Mr Oko was a victim of the December 14, 2022, sit-at-home enforcement attack at Nwakpu market Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
A spokesperson for the family, Mr Steve Oko, decried the plight of innocent victims of sit-at-home, some of whom have been incapacitated for life.
He regretted that some of them who were lucky to escape or were rescued alive from the scene of attack with life-threatening injuries had been abandoned by both Federal and South East Governments.
According to him, some of the victims came under harm’s way for relying on ‘false assurances’ of protection by the security agencies and South East Governors.
He argued that it is the height of deceit for South East Governors and security agencies to coarse residents of the zone to ignore sit-at-home orders only to abandon them when they come under attack by the enforcers.
He said that both the Governors and the Federal Government in charge of the security agencies should be held responsible for the ordeals of the innocent victims.
“A situation where Governors threaten residents with sanctions, and in some instances force them to flout sit-at-home orders only to leave them at the mercy of the enforcers is treacherous!
” The Governors should be held accountable for exposing these innocent residents to danger”.
He called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, set up a special intervention fund for the treatment and rehabilitation of all victims of sit-at-home in South East and parts of South-South.
He further challenged National Assembly members from the South East to come up with the necessary Bill for the establishment of an intervention fund or a Commission to cater for the affected victims.
Oko regretted that his brother who sustained bullet wounds when enforcers of sit-at-home attacked people at Ebonyi market, “is still in critical condition at the hospital 12 months after.”
“Our family is financially exhausted because enormous fortunes have been sunk into efforts to save my brother’s life. He spent over four months at the National Orthopedic Hospital Enugu before he was referred to another tertiary hospital where he is currently being managed.
“No Government has looked our way. There are other people like us in different parts of Igbo land. Families have lost their loved ones and valuable property including houses and vehicles.
“The time has come for the Federal Government to intervene and show empathy just as it did to victims of Boko Haram when it established the North East Development Commission. A similar Commission or Special Intervention Fund is urgently needed for victims of sit-at-home in South East”.
He also called on Ohanaeze Ndigbo, civil society organizations, Embassies and international bodies to step in.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo should quickly set up a committee to identify victims of sit-at-home for rehabilitation”.
He further called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, “to end the current tension in South East”.
Meanwhile, the family has appealed for urgent intervention to save the life of the victim said to be in critical condition following complications in his health.
The father of four was at the Nwakpu market, Ikwo, when some masked gunmen who claimed they were enforcing the five-day sit-at-home order declared by a foreign-based secessionist agitator, invaded the market, shooting sporadically and setting vehicles ablaze.
They set his vehicle on fire and gave him deadly axe cuts in the head and shoulder before shooting him in both thighs very close to his manhood.
He was left in the pool of his blood but was rescued by a combined team of the Army and Police that later stormed the scene.
Mr Oko had a near-death experience as his thigh bone was shattered by bullets, 17 of which were later extracted from his body.