The Indigenous People of Biafra should channel their grievances through the appropriate quarters

It is not clear if President Muhammadu Buhari will honour his invitation to visit Enugu today. But a statement credited to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) warning him not to come to the state is not only reckless but an open invitation to anarchy. “We warn any governor or Igbo politician that receives Buhari in Enugu will have himself or herself to blame. We make it public that should there be a breakdown of law and order in Enugu on December 22, greedy Igbo politicians will have themselves to blame”, said the statement signed by Emma Nmezu and Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya, who described themselves as spokespersons of IPOB.

Against the background that an unfortunate civil war was fought and it ended with the collective resolve to keep Nigeria as one indivisible sovereign entity, we condemn in very strong terms those bent on disturbing the peace of our country, especially at this time. As we have argued in the past, whatever may be their grievances, we do not believe those touting “Biafra” are handling issues the right way even as we call on the authorities to be even handed in whatever crises that may arise as a result of the continued sporadic agitations.

We also call on the authorities to obey the court orders that have at different times asked for the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who has been incarcerated for several months now. Denying him his rights under the law only goes to justify his claims that Nigeria is a “zoo” and that can only help his cause, however misguided it may seem.

We note particularly that for over a decade now, the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has been trying to rekindle the Biafra fire without success. Gradually and steadily, the agitation led by Ralph Uwazurike began to lose steam and relevance until Kanu entered the fray with IPOB. For the alleged crime of running an illegal radio station, he was arrested at the nation’s point of entry and is now being tried for sedition. Since then, the demand for his release has been interlaced with the demand for the state of Biafra and there had been bloody clashes.

It is significant that the elite corps of the Igbos have neither supported nor endorsed the activities of the IPOB movement. Indeed, the traumatic memories of the Nigerian civil war as evidenced by the starvation, particularly of children, and with over a million dead, should help to reinforce the tomb of the ghost of Biafra. That is why the continuous agitation does not resonate well with the rest of Nigeria, a nation whose strength lies in its diversity.

Every part of the country has representatives at the National Assembly which is responsible for the making of laws for the good governance of the country. Whatever the agitation of any section of the country may be, such can be channelled through their federal lawmakers. The idea of hiding under the quest for secession to draw attention to the development deficits in any part of the country is therefore wrong and counter-productive.

Yes, Nigeria needs development across board. No part of the country has enjoyed such a significant infrastructural attention than the other. What is required is for all hands to be on deck to fashion out what has to be done to move Nigeria forward. It is within that context that we wholly condemn the continued agitation for the state of Biafra, just as we believe that Kanu should be given a fair and speedy trial in a way that justice would have be seen to have been manifestly done. And such trial, as he has repeatedly argued, cannot be held in secret.

  • Investor

    @The Dawn, thanks for your apt response to ThisDay. To think that I had hitherto viewed this newspaper as serious! If ThisDay’s editorial board, which is a body of their top editors and external consultants, could only come up with this piece so poorly written that they couldn’t disguise their obvious bias, then it’s only a matter of time before the newspaper goes the way of Mr Obiagbena’s previous publications. The incontrovertible facts singly put together by The Dawn makes a mockery of the thrash of an editorial written by a board of editors.

    And the questions are salient: “Is ThisDay collecting money from Buhari to defend him at all cost as it was collecting from Jonathan”? “Is this atrociously unfair excoriation of the South East a quid pro quo for getting the newspaper’s founder out of trouble over the Dasuki arms largesse?”

    Meanwhile, I will not waste my time or money buying or reading this paper any longer.

  • The Dawn

    It is unbelievable that the recklessly one-sided rant above is the “editorial” of a newspaper. The disregard of the write-up for facts that are notorious in the public domain today in reaching its conclusion that IPOB is “bent on disturbing the peace of the country” leaves one with the conclusion that the motive for its publication is pecuniary. Either that or that This Day has become a depraved handmaid of the anti-Biafra Fulani genocidal and fascist movement. A dispassionate consideration of the facts shows that it is Buhari, rather than the Biafrans, who is not only the disturber of the peace of Nigeria but the single greatest security threat to the country.
    Here are some of the facts:
    1. Buhari effectively excised eastern Nigeria from the country by declaring that its peoples would not be treated as equal to the rest of the country because they gave him only 5% of their votes. How on earth could such outrage be a light matter with a newspaper operating in a democratic society?
    2. Buhari made good his atrocious declaration by excluding the entire eastern Nigeria (a third of the country) from the federal administration of the country. 99% of the leadership positions in Buhari’s so-called federal government (including the military, paramilitary, security and civil services) are occupied by northern muslims.
    3. The moment Buhari assumed office, the Fulani militia or MACBAN which he created during the period of his retirement from his first adventure in power was unleashed with hellish ferocity on innocent citizens of the south east. Buhari has been tight-lipped about the on-going genocide conducted by the so-called herdsmen against the south east, while his military, police and DSS look the other way.
    4. Buhari’s Fulani-controlled Army, while doing nothing to stop the genocidal rampage of the Fulani militia in the south east, has turned the region into a warren for the hunting of Igbo youths demanding relief from economic and political marginalisation of their area. In Nazi Holocaust fashion, Buhari’s soldiers surrounded thousands of Igbo youths holding a prayer meeting at the football pitch of National High School, Aba, and inside a Catholic Church at Onitsha and opened fire on them. When the smoke cleared, thousands of bodies were sprawled on the ground in grotesque attitude of death. All had bullet holes through the back of their head or shoulder. These crimes have been partially documented by Amnesty International. Buhari has also placed the Niger Delta under brutal military lock-down to force its people to accept the exploitation of the oil resources of the area without regard for the concomitant ecological consequences.
    5. In the true fashion of a brutal Afghan mullah, Buhari annulled the bail granted to Nnamdi Kanu by various courts on NTA. Till today, Kanu is still held illegally in Buhari’s gulag.
    6. On several occasions in the past one year plus, Buhari has threatened the Igbo with genocide in an attempt to cow pro-Biafra agitators to submission.
    7. As a result of Buhari’s islamist triumphalist war-mongering, blood-thirsty almajiris have been emboldened to increase their attacks on the Igbo resident in the north. The perpetrators of the attacks are either not apprehended or released after a few weeks of detention.
    8. Buhari’s soldiers are right now running wild all over the south east invading villages and kicking down doors, shooting and arresting perceived political opponents of the regime in what they call Operation Python Dance.
    Who is the disturber of peace in all of this if not Buhari? Plus the Igbo have not forgotten that Buhari staged the coup of 1983 to foreclose the possibility of Alex Ekwueme, Shagari’s vice, being nominated as the NPN presidential candidate after the expiration of Shagari’s second tenure in 1987. After that illegal and violent seizure of power, Ekwueme who was only a figurehead in the Shagari government was imprisoned for many years without being found guilty of any offence. At the same time, Shagari, who as the President should be held responsible for all the crimes alleged against his administration by Buhari, was placed under house arrest. Other politicians from the south east such as Jim Nwobodo were held in gaol long after their counterparts from the north had been set free.

    The facts stated above are both trite and notorious. It is therefore beyond belief that a newspaper like This Day that places itself in the category of “the serious” should take off without control like a mad man who has broken free from his restraining chains to castigate IPOB as a disturber of peace without weighing IPOB’s statement against the genocidal and subversive activities of Buhari against Biafrans. Is This Day collecting money from Buhari to defend him at all cost as it was collecting from Jonathan? Is this atrociously unfair escoriation of the south east a quid pro quo for getting the newspaper’s founder out of trouble over the Dasuki arms largesse? Well the editorialists at This Day should be informed that their “hackery” will not stop the restoration of Biafra. Buhari cannot both reject the south east and associate with them at the same time. For as long as he continues in his path of genocidal hatred towards the region, he must stay away from it.

  • Iskacountryman

    nyamiri and shakara…