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Wind of revolt in S-East: Why Biafra must rise again —protesters, others

Several days after, the protests ignited by the
agitation for the unconditional release of Mr.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of
Biafra, IPOB, continue to gather momentum,
sweeping through the South East and parts of the
South-South like a hurricane. The protesters are
irked by the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu
by the Department of Security Services, DSS, even
after an Abuja Municipal Magistrate Court at Wuse
Zone 2 had granted him bail.
Although it started as a peaceful demonstration,
but within few hours after its commencement, one
of the protesters was shot dead by a local vigilante
operative attached to Ochanja market, Onitsha,
Anambra State.
A source said the deceased who was harassing
some shop owners to close their shop or face the
wrath of the IPOB ignored several verbal and gun
shot warnings by the operatives before he was
shot dead.
Yet, other sources said on sighting the protesters,
the vigilante operative opened fire on them and
shot the deceased dead on the spot, adding that
even some policemen and soldiers on duty with
the vigilante operative blamed him for the action.
Currently, the protest appeared to have recorded
its biggest success in the commercial city of
Onitsha and other parts of Anambra State as
traders and other members of the public continue
to demonstrate solidarity with the protesters.
During the demonstration, the IPOB members
gathered at the Bridge-head end of Onitsha from
where they spread to other parts of the
commercial city and proceeded to Awka, the state
capital through Nkpor, Ogidi, Umunnachi,
Abagana, Enugwu-Ukwu, Amawbia and Awka and
as they patrol on foot, the police and other security
agencies monitored them curiously.
Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the
protests, especially its link to demand for the
resurrection of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
Among those who reacted over the development
were the Igbo Youths Forum, IYF, Concerned
Eastern Youths Initiatives, CEYI, the International
Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law,
Intersociety, among others.
The Campaign for Democracy, CD, in its own
reaction, called on the Federal Government to
release Kanu because a court of competent
jurisdiction had already granted him bail and as
such, his continued detention amounted to extra-
judicial action.
CD’s South East Zonal Chairman, Uzor A. Uzor,
reminded the Federal Government of the need to
be a respecter of law and not a violator of law,
adding that the violation of the court order was
capable of setting a bad precedence in future.
Intersociety, in its own statement, said: “Many
factors have made agitation for Biafra statehood
loud and unquenchable. Chief among them is
continued institutiona-lisation of triggers of divided
society and inability and unwillingness of past and
present governments in Nigeria, particularly the
Buhari administration to bind, heal and run an all
inclusive or pluralistic government”.
Intersociety’s statement signed by its Chairman,
Board of Directors, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi,
further declared: “Divisions abound deeply in the
country, day in day out. Lopsidedness also
abounds in all the appointments so far made by
Buhari administration. The federal public and civil
service appointments and promotions are deeply
lopsided and there are no signs of addressing
them; rather there are signs of deepening them
thickening everyday. In all, there are entrenched
structural imbalances, injustices and violence in
every aspect of the Nigerian polity.
“Totality of these is extensively responsible for the
increased agitation for Biafran Statehood; this is
more so when the agitators are the worst victims.
The gravest mistake of the 2015 presidential poll
was the emergence and resurgence of fanatics of
divided society who are unrepentant promoters of
ethnocentrism and primordialism,” the statement
added.
“It is on all these premise that agitation for Biafran
homeland is built. As for whether the struggle will
materialise, there are internationally established
processes of struggle for self-determination,
particularly those involving non-violence. Of the
two newest independent countries of East Timor
and South Sudan, one was gotten violently and the
other non-violently. South Sudan got hers after 30
years of bloody civil war with mother Sudan, and
East Timor got hers non-violently from Indonesia
and after many years of non-violent struggle
powered by dictatorial governing styles of the
government of Muhammed Suharto.
“The
first
stage of the non-violent struggle for self
determination or statehood is awareness
campaigns and local and international pressures
and the last stage is organisation by UNO of a
referendum for the agitating party and if the
majority vote for self-government, then the new
statehood is born. Countries have, in history,
negotiated and re-negotiated their instruments of
existence and togetherness and some have voted
to live apart (i.e. Czech & Slovakia) and others to
live together (i.e. United Germany). Former Soviet
Union got divided non-violently into 15 Republics in
1991, and Yugoslavia violently divided into six
Republics between 1995 and 2001.”
In their own reaction, the Concerned Eastern
Youths Initiatives, CEYI, cautioned IPOB members
and other pro-Biafra groups against attending a
recent meeting convened by Governor Rochas
Okorocha in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Coordinator of CEYI, Emma Powerful said: “IPOB
protests will continue until they release Nnamdi
Kanu unconditionally”.
Describing the exercise as legitimate, a legal
practitioner based in Onitsha and Chairman of
Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Idemili branch, Ben
Okoko, said the right to protest by the IPOB
members is guaranteed under the Constitution of
Nigeria, adding that if truth must be told, the
agitation is predicated on marginalisation.
According to Okoko: “If there is justice and equity
in sharing our natural resources, the struggle will
cease. Resources are not shared commensurately
according to revenues generated from the South
East and South-South zones of the country”.
He however cautioned against poor coordination
of the agitation, adding that its legitimacy should
not be abused with violence and criminal
tendencies. He also charged security agencies to
see themselves as unbiased umpires and as such
should not harass, molest or attack the protesters,
but rather monitor them and ensure that they did
not misbehave.
He advised our elected officers like Governors,
National and State Assembly members and other
political appointees to tread with caution to avoid
either committing treason or attracting the wrath
of the agitators because, according to him, having
been elected under the Nigerian Constitution, if
they openly support the agitators, it would amount
to treason and if they support the government in
attacking the agitators, they might risk their houses
being torched or even their lives being threatened.
President of Igbo Youths Forum, IYF, Anunihu
Uzor, noted that traders supported the agitation to
the extent that most of them closed their shops,
while some of them even joined in the
demonstration because there is no motorable road
in the entire South East region, neither are there
Federal Government presence in the zone.
Anunihu noted that if government had addressed
these issues squarely instead of arresting,
detaining and refusing to release Nnamdi Kanu in
defiance of court order, there would have been no
need to agitate for Biafra restoration, not to talk of
embarking on the demonstration exercise.
Also in his own reaction entitled: “Biafra is on
course!!!”, Comrade Peter Okala, Former
Governorship Candidate of the National
Conscience Party, NCP in Anambra State and
President- General of Ndigbo United Assembly,
NUA, declared: “My take on the Biafran agitation is
positive in the sense that our colonial masters
knew our differences to have made a contract of
one 100 years known as amalgamation for us to try
if we could understand ourselves, but the fact
remained that till date, the centre could not hold
and the South is still hated with passion by our
Northern and Western brothers”.
According to Okala: “Today if one is asked to name
100 most corrupt people in Nigeria who have
stolen our treasury dry, hardly will an Igbo man be
among them. But we are abused in every part of
Nigeria as people who could do anything to get
money. Reason? Because the West is in control of
the media and the North has partnered with them
to marginalise the South East.
“ I advocate a peaceful agitation to achieve Biafra
because the North and West are going to become
our close neigbours when our prayers are
answered. The present structure of lesser states in
the South East which amounted to lesser number
of legislators and local government councils are
some of the glaring evidences of marginalisation of
our zone.
“It is worthy of note that the present
administration is encouraging the secession of
every group by their unpopular policies and
programmes, a government that has no listening
ears to protests and popular agitations by its own
citizens could not be said to have a human face.
“The arrest and continued detention of a non-
violent agitator is a promotion to that course and
Nigeria is the one promoting the agitation by the
unprofessional use of security agents against the
agitators, which means that Nigeria is the one
promoting lawlessness by working against the
United Nations declaration on human rights which
she is a signatory to.”
Leader of Movement for Outright Discontinuation
of the Exploitation and Annihilation of Easterners,
MODEAE, Comrade Arinze Awogu, in his own
statement entitled: “Death and its harbingers have
ceased to frighten Biafrans: The True Leader of
Biafran people has finally emerged”, noted that “as
the Biafra protest rages, it is good that we remind
ourselves the purpose of this quest; what we are
struggling to safeguard and why we are so
determined to continue to fight for the release of
Nnamdi Kanu and the restoration of the
independence of Biafra”.
“We have borne the brunt of this quest, we have
suffered marginalisation, deprivation, ostracisation
and all manner of conceivable deaths in the hands
of an enemy that is so cruel, that is so wicked and
that has used all manners of weapons to not only
cage us as a people and stop us from developing at
our own pace-keeping us in a state of arrested
development, but has without respite hounded us
into detention and daily murdering us for daring to
ask for our freedom.
“But today we rise up to recite before the enemy
the portion of the Biafran Anthem that says: ‘if the
price be death that we owe to pay, so let us all die
without any shred of fear’. Death and its
harbingers have ceased to frighten us; they no
longer condition our thoughts. We have opted for
death instead. Life is now meaningless to us. We
consider ourselves dead already and as such we
are not afraid of dying for he that is on the ground
is no longer afraid of falling. This protest must go
on. It is a battle of homeland and we are putting in
our all.
In a slogan titled: ‘Release Lord Nnamdi Kanu Now!
And Give Us Biafra Or We All Die’, Awogu
declared:”Give us Biafra or we all die is the
expression on the lips of everyone; from Bayelsa
to Cross-River, from Akwa-Ibom to Rivers to Delta
to Anambra to Imo to Abia to Ebonyi to Enugu to
parts of Edo, to parts of Kogi, to parts of Benue
and to parts of Southern Cameroon, the frenzy is
rapturous, it is electrifying, it is a moving train,
nothing stands on its wake.
“In the words of George Orwell: ‘…if liberty means
anything at all, it means the ability to tell people
what they do not what to hear.’ President Buhari
and his likes must continue to be inundated with
the Biafra nightmare that is Biafra restoration.The
extra-judicially detained Director of Radio Biafra,
whom we now choose to refer to and call Lord
Nnamdi Kanu has proven to be the spark-plug for
an idea whose time has indeed come. He has
galvanised Biafrans the world over while in
detention far more than he was able to do before
his arrest through the IPOB. Across the globe, the
Biafran spirit and the longing for Biafra is more
than ever before revived.
“The Afarukwu-Ibekwu-Umuahia-born Lord
Nnamdi Kanu, a Prince from a Royal family, floated
Radio Biafra out of nothing to generate lots of
waves across the world which makes restoration of
Biafra a catch phrase among Biafrans and enemies
of Biafra alike. The second phase of the march to
Biafra restoration no doubt threw up characters
that at some point showed traces of the kind of
leaders needed to steer the ship of the Biafra
struggle to a safe dock.
“But many had found reason to doubt and
question the sincerity of the lot save for Lord
Nnamdi Kanu whose blistering campaign for Biafra
in less than three years has gotten global appeal
with a style that is so so irresistible and
captivating. He has gradually become a darling and
the most sought after Biafran campaigner
worldwide with many fearing that the accolade
might get into his head and make him drift away
like others before him by the time he regains his
freedom. But he had already in anticipation sworn
with his son and household never to betray the
trust placed on him by the Biafran people.
“Born in the thick of the genocidal war waged
against his Biafran people, Lord Nnamdi Kanu had
unapologetically affirmed that the ‘zoo’ referred to
as Nigeria only exists today because the White
Europeans said so, insisting that it was not created
by God the natural way all nations on earth came
into existence. But rather was conceived in the
heart of man to serve a purpose for which nation
states were not and could not be designed for. …
“He is the humble servant of the good people of
Biafra and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed
Forces of the Republic of Biafra. As a servant of the
Biafran people, he has remained a dutiful worker
for the Biafran cause and a vicarious pride and
source of inspiration to new generation of Biafrans
who see in him the bulwark that will crystalize the
independence of Biafra.
“The White man has a way of distinguishing a
special breed that achieved a special feat in
extraordinary circumstances from others. The
Director of Radio Biafra should have the toga
of’Lord’ to his name, for in detention as in
freedom, he has brought the people closer to
Biafra. The ongoing protest would have achieved
its main objectives with the unconditional release
of Lord Nnamdi Kanu and Biafran independence
restored; and will not stop save these two are met;
anything other than these two, the protest has to
continue unabated with a renewed vigour”.
…Ohaneze, Igbo statesmen in consultation
INDICATIONS emerged yesterday that the apex
Igbo socio-cultural organisation and some elder
statesmen of Igbo extraction have embarked on
consultation to come up with a common voice on
how to handle the ongoing protests across the
country by the Indigenous People of Biafra.
A source close the both camps told Vanguard
Features that Ohaneze ought to have called for an
end to the protests, but some Igbo elder statesmen
are of the opinion that issues that provoked the
protests are germane.
It was gathered given the sensitivity of the matter,
the apex group has commenced consultations with
prominent Igbo leaders on how to have a common
stand on the issue.
According to the source: ‘’Ohaneze and some
statesmen in Igbo land are being circumspect. But
I can tell you that they are trying to be on the same
page on this sensitive matter. The good thing is
that both want the country restructured in line with
the recommendations of the Confab. The South-
East deserves an equitable share in this country,
but as things are today, the zone is obviously
marginalised. That is what those boys are
protesting for. They want a country where every
region will be treated fairly. I can assure you that
Ndigbo, will speak with one voice on the issue in a
matter of days.”
Further findings, showed that the leaders are not
on same ground on the matter, as they differ on
whether to condemn the ongoing protests, for fear
of not incurring the wrath of the protesters.

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