Nigerians have criticised the United States Mission in the country for commiserating with the Nigerian Air Force over the unfortunate plane crash on Sunday but keeping quiet for weeks over those who lost their lives and belongings to the military onslaughts in Orlu and Orsu local government areas of Imo State.
The US Mission in Nigeria on Sunday tweeted about the military aircraft crash, expressing its “sincere condolences.”
“The United States expresses sincere condolences to the @NigAirForce, family members, and all Nigerians for the loss of life in today’s aircraft crash,” it said.
— U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USinNigeria) February 21, 2021
The NAF on Sunday confirmed seven of its personnel onboard a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft dead when the jet crashed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The aircraft en route to Minna in Niger State crashed close to the runway of the airport after reporting engine failure.
But Nigerians tackled the US mission on its Twitter handle for keeping quiet while the military and the Eastern Security Network conflict raged in the Orlu communities of Imo State in the third week of January, leading to loss of lives and property.
For instance, @KingsonNnamdi said, “I have never known that @USinNigeria actually exists in Nigeria but you have kept mute over the death of Biafrans all this while including the recent one in Orlu.”
@peter9ceguy said, “Did you lose your voice when innocent civilians going about their daily activities were killed in Orlu? #OrluMassacre #OrluAirAttack are they not humans too? Can the United States Airforce release missiles on their own citizens? If you’re going to speak up, please do not be selective.”
@Naijadailyfeedx said, “Where was your voice when the Nigerian army went on a shooting spree using attack helicopters in a populated residential area in Orlu? Do the happenings there deserve no mention?”
Biafran Son (@BiafranSon7) said, “So you all have eyes and can see? You already send condolences to their families but you fail to tell them that their attack in Anambra/Imo states earlier this week is an abuse of power and office. God will surely disgrace you all to the world.”
Osita Olisemeka Nwabiafra (@OsitaOlisemeka) said, “Meanwhile, @USinNigeria did not see the atrocities committed by the so-called military in Orlu. They massacred people just the same way they did in Obigbo. God is judge overall.”
Koko (@Koko83459201) said, “Please the condolences should go to the people of Orlu in Biafraland coming under attack from the Nigeria Air Force just because they want a way out of a terrorist state run by the Nigerian government who are all terrorist in power helping Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen to kill at will.”
Prince Ignatius Ewuzie (@ewuzie_prince) said, “Can’t believe you guys are in Nigeria soils but kept silent over the secret war, bombardment, and killings of Indigenous people of Biafra by Nigerian BokoHaram in Army uniforms sponsored by Britain in proxy?”
Adamma (@nikkinwachuwu) said, “What about #Obigbo massacre? Why have you not expressed your sincere condolences to the families of the victims who were brutalised and murdered to death by the @Nigmilitary? Why?”
Maclivinson (@maclivinson) said, “So the United States is observing all that is happening in Nigeria including the bombardment going on in Eastern Nigeria but kept quiet? History will judge.”
In the last week of January, some elder statesmen in Imo State had condemned the destruction of lives and property in the Orlu LGA, demanding justice for those who were allegedly killed by the military.
The release was signed by Okechukwu Nwanguma, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Dr. Sam Amadi, Fabian Okoye, Stanley Ibe, Dr. Walter Duru, Tony Opara, Chidi Igwe, and Ogechi Ikeh.
“We are worried that the current situation in Orlu has put the lives, property, and livelihoods of innocent families and residents of the affected communities at great risk and inconveniences.
“People have been forced to flee their homes and many displaced, including poor families who depend on the daily income for their livelihoods.
“Considering the outcomes of similar reprisal military attacks in the past, from the Odi massacre to Zaki Biam, and recently the military onslaught on residents of Oyigbo Rivers State, we fear that similar fate may befall innocent residents of Orlu.
“Just last October, a reprisal attack by officers of the 34 Artillery Brigade of Nigerian Army during the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests left five persons dead and others injured in Nwaorieubi, Mbaitolu in Imo State.
“The dead and the injured are yet to get justice. The current massacre in Orlu adds to the list of extrajudicial killings in Imo perpetrated by military forces, without anybody held to account. Imo communities are crying for justice,” they had said.
The military authorities or the state government have yet to react to the probe and demand for justice.