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IPOB Declares Sit-AT-Home Over Nnamdi Kanu’s Disappearance |RN

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IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu

“Nationwide general strike observed as a sit-at-home across Biafraland on September 14, 2018, is the only way we Biafrans can honour our fallen brethren”

• Sets aside Sept 14 to mark invasion of leader’s Umuahia home

Okey Sampson, Aba

Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has declared September 14, 2018, as sit-at-home in all Biafra land in protest of the invasion of the home of the leader of the Biafran group at Afara Ukwu, Umuahia, Abia State by the military.

In a statement  by  Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful,  the protest will “be a way to register our anger regarding the men and women killed at Afaraukwu in Umuahia, during Operation Python Dance II on September 14 last year.”

Powerful said the protest will also be for “those killed in Ngwa, Aba, Igweocha (Port Harcourt) and buried in unmarked mass graves as a result of an unprovoked military invasion of Biafraland by the Nigerian Army.

 “We shall also remember all those killed in the struggle for the restoration of Biafra independence since August 2015, when the army shot dead one Okafor in Onitsha on a peaceful march from Nkpor to Onitsha main town. Their sacrifice will neither be forgotten nor will it be in vain, because come what may, this generation of IPOB must and will restore Biafra. 

“The sacrilegious and disgraceful humiliation of Igbo women, some of them great grand-mothers, ranks as one of the most abominable acts of desecration ever visited upon the land of Biafra in recorded history. It will mark the defining event that completed the shame and humiliation of the Igbo race. 

“Nationwide general strike observed as a sit-at-home across Biafraland on September 14, 2018, is the only way we Biafrans can honour our fallen brethren and legitimately remind our northern oppressors and their collaborators in our midst that enough is enough. 

“We do not want another Operation Python Dance or another mass murder of Biafra agitators and humiliation of our mothers in our land.  Biafraland, we state categorically, must emerge as a free nation under God, whether our enemies like it or not.   

“What happened at Afaraukwu; the desecration of the house of a traditional ruler, the slaughter of innocent men and women: the wholesale massacre along the Ngwa segment of Enugu-Igweocha (Port Harcourt) Expressway, countless number of mass graves across Biafraland, are repulsive, inhumane, barbaric and worthy of total condemnation by all right-thinking people,” the statement stated.  (The Sun)

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Imo Prison Denies Maltreating Remanded 112 IPOB Women |RN

Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri

 

There was an outrage in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Tuesday after the authorities at the Owerri Federal Prisons denied family members access to the 112 women who were arrested and remanded in custody for demanding to know the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

The women, who protested on the streets of Owerri last Friday before they were arrested and arraigned in court on Monday, also asked the Federal Government to conduct a referendum for the creation of the Independent State of Biafra.

They threatened that the 2019 general elections would not hold if the referendum was not conducted.

But briefing journalists on Wednesday, the Public Relations Officer of Owerri Federal Prisons, James Madugba, said the prisons authorities did not allow family members of the detained women to visit them because of ‘prevailing circumstances’.

Madugba described as untrue the allegation that the prison officers received an order from “above” not to allow the remanded women access to their loved ones.

The prisons spokesperson said the Armoured Personnel Carrier parked in the front of the prison and the presence of policemen and soldiers were not to scare off the relatives of the remanded pro-Biafran women protesters.

He said, “We did not ordinarily deny family members access to the pr0-Biafran women who are in our facility. There is no order from above asking us not to allow relatives of the women access to them. It is not also true that we exposed the women, especially the pregnant ones, too the cold and inhuman environment.

“It is taxing to admit and register 112 people in any prison facility in Nigeria. You don’t just bring people into the prisons and the next minute you want people to start visiting them. Prison is a regimented environment. There are regulations. The responsibility of interviewing, admitting and registering such a number of women would take four days. It is after these processes that you now allow family members to start visiting.”   (Punch)

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How We Stopped Niger-Delta Militancy, IPOB Plot – Osinbajo |RN

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Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

  • Nigeria’s foundation deficient, threatened – Monarchs
  • Say non-adoption of confab reports disheartening

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has singled out traditional rulers as the brains behind the successful stoppage of Niger Delta militancy and the truncation of the secession plot by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East, leading to relative peace in the two regions.

This is even as Traditional Rulers in the country have expressed described Nigeria’s foundation as deficient and threatened.

Speaking on Wednesday at the opening of the 10th National Development Summit of Nigerian Traditional Rulers in Abuja, Osinbajo noted that the monarchs have played crucial roles at the point that the country was threatened by Niger Delta militancy and the secessionist group, IPOB in the South East.

The Vice President challenged monarchs in Nigeria to take greater responsibility in resolving conflicts in the country, saying dialogue and engagements are just as important as law enforcement in tackling disputes.

According to him, “traditional rulers were better placed to champion this vision of continuing dialogue and engagement because of the respect you command from the widest possible range of stakeholders and parties.

“Dialogue and engagement are just as important as law enforcement, especially in situations triggered by misunderstandings and disagreements between people and communities who have existed peacefully side-by-side for centuries.”

Osinbajo added that although security agencies are critical elements in checking criminality and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice, overlooking the place of non-coercive conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms would do a great disservice to the people of Nigeria.

“You are also repositories of important intelligence that can be useful in detecting suspicious or criminal activity. The partnership between traditional authority and government is therefore crucial,” he said.

He said it was against this background that government co-opted the monarchs in its approach in dealing with Nigeria’s most pressing security issues in the Niger Delta and in the Middle Belt.

“I can say without fear of contradiction that the New Vision for the Niger Delta would not have happened without the support of traditional rulers and leaders in the region.

We have made it a priority to meet with them and carry them along, and ask for their wisdom and their support in resolving issues with stakeholders and communities. This was also our approach in the wake of secessionist agitation by IPOB in the South East.”

He added that the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been engaging traditional rulers in the flashpoint regions, counting on the influence they wield to chart a new and collective course of understanding, instead of the default approach of resorting to violence as a way of dealing with grievances.

“As custodians of our rich history, we also believe that you have a duty to remind us of the things we have got right in the past, but from which, for some reason or another, we have departed from, to our detriment,” Osinbajo said.

He noted said the traditional cultures have long perfected timeless dispute-resolution and community-engagement mechanisms that are now under threat of being lost forever.

“As traditional rulers, your forebears and ancestors were the initiators and implementers of many of these mechanisms, and our cultural institutions have evolved ways of passing this knowledge down the generations – even if we have not been paying attention as we should.

“May I therefore most respectfully ask that you take this as a call to you, as royal fathers, as traditional rulers, as elder statesmen, to commit yourselves to deepen your partnership with government, to achieve our shared goal of laying the foundation of peace and security that will guarantee true greatness for Nigeria.”

In his welcome address, Chairman of Governing Council of the National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers, the Ovie of Uvwie Kingdom of Delta State, His Royal Majesty, Emmanuel Abe called for more roles for traditional rulers by the government.

He said it was disheartening that the constitutional review embarked upon by the National Assembly had remained inclusive for over a decade, while resolutions at the recent national conference, have not been considered for adoption in the interest of national survival and progress.

Abe said the country needs a good leader that will create jobs and build bridges, adding that as a result of the security challenges in the country, most traditional rulers were unable to attend the summit that started with over 400 members when it was inaugurated by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua ten years ago.

The Monarch said that the country has incredible potentials and uncommon ideals that could make it soar into greatness, adding that Nigeria was not meant to crawl or stagnate.

According to him, “Here is a country born with incredible potentials, established on goodness and trust, with uncommon ideals and dreams that could make her soar into high altitudes of greatness. Like the eagles, Nigeria was born with powerful wings, in the form of enormous natural endowments. Nigeria was never meant to crawl or stagnate.

“Whatever we may say or do, the fact remains that our foundation as a nation as designed by our founding fathers has been visibly deficient and threatening. Administrations come and go but none has been courageous enough to address conclusively the issue of structural flaws.

“We cannot do anything against the truth. The only way the eagle will fly is for it to realize that it is gifted with better wings than other birds and make a decision to use the wings effectively.

“We must resolve to build a new nation on a foundation of equity, justice, fairness, labour and high moral standards. This is what makes the United States of America and other advanced economies to tick.

“It is amazing how constitutional review has remained inclusive for over a decade at the National Assembly in spite of the exigency of the matter. It is equally disheartening that the resolutions of all recent national conferences were never considered for adoption in the interest of national survival and progress, the huge funds sunk in these projects notwithstanding.”  (The Sun)

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Mass Killings: IPOB Warns Miyetti Allah |The Republican News

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  • Tells herdsmen to forget about ranching in South East

Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has warned the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) against its alleged threat to South East geopolitical zones following the rejection of cattle ranches in the zone.

The group warned that one inevitable outcome of any premeditated attack on Igbo people and easterners living in the north, ‘will mark the beginning of the apocalyptic end of Nigeria’.

A statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, said the arrogant tone of the leader of Miyetti Allah’s threat against Igbo and their businesses in the North points clearly to an impending hostile response from them, which IPOB is both duty and honour bound not to ignore.

“We must make it abundantly clear that any attack against Igbos and their businesses in the North will be met with commensurate response in the South.

“Threats and large scale invasions of territories in the Middle-Belt may have had the effect of subduing indigenous Tiv resistance to the Fulani hegemonic juggernauts in the Middle Belt and total collapse of morale in the West, giving what happened at Ado-Ekiti PDP rally on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.”

“Those northern voices who continually pressured Igbo leaders and governors to mistakenly ban IPOB are today silent against the murderous antecedents of their own kith and kin, the Fulani herdsmen.

“Had IPOB not been ill-advisedly banned by South East governors and Igbo socio-cultural leaders, MACBAN would not have had the guts to issue such an insulting statement against Igbo and their business interests in the North.

“One inevitable outcome of any premeditated attack on Igbo people and easterners living in the North will mark the beginning of the apocalyptic end of Nigeria as we know it.

“The sensible decision of, hitherto, docile South East governors to avoid wholesale breakdown of law and order in their region, through the banning of herdsmen activities, should be applauded by Arewa Consultative Forum, Sokoto Caliphate and all advocates of peaceful coexistence in Nigeria, not derided through the mouthpiece of Fulani herdsmen, the MACBAN.

“Giving that 70 percent of Nigeria’s land mass is in the North, as we have been boastfully reminded by many government officials and core northerners over the years, it stands to reason and common sense that ranching activity is better sited at the North, not ‘tiny’ ‘landlocked’ South-East.

“All South East and South South governors must be guided by a popular proverb in Igboland that says, only an irrational man kills his native doctor when those who wish to poison and harm him are still very much around and multiplying.”

Arewa Consultative Forum and their foot soldiers, the MACBAN, must know that IPOB will never tolerate their excesses.

“What we IPOB are asking for and on behalf of those other ethnic nationalities in the Middle-Belt that are too weak to speak for themselves, is to be left alone in peace in the land of our ancestors,” Powerful stated.  (The Sun)

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“I’m Now Realising My Foolishness, FG Proscription Of IPOB Indirectly Tags Me, An Igbo Man A Terrorist – Nnia Nwodo

NniaNwodo
Ohanaeze President General, Dr Nnia Nwodo

By Chuks

Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, at the weekend said that the declaration of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation was an attempt by the Federal Government to profile Igbo people at the international security arena.

Nwodo stated this while delivering a lecture at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Business School, Enugu, on Saturday.

He also re-affirmed Ohanaeze’s utmost belief in the call by the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum and a number of other well-meaning Nigerians for a new constitution for a politically restructured Nigeria similar to the 1963 arrangement.

Chief Nwodo said he viewed the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation as hurried, unfair, and not in conformity with the intendment of the law.

The two-time minister said whereas he was not completely in agreement with some of the methods of IPOB, like its inappropriate and divisive broadcasts, the uncontested evidence given by the Attorney General of the Federation in an interlocutory action claiming that IPOB attempted and/or actually snatched guns from law enforcement agents, if proven, were merely criminal offences.

He insisted that the said offences IPOB were accused of did not constitute enough evidence to meet international law definition of terrorism.

Nwodo noted that the United States embassy in Nigeria shared this conclusion and asserted that the United States government did not recognise IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

He said: “This same unarmed IPOB that is being stigmatised by the Nigerian government had its members murdered in Asaba, Nkpor, Aba and Port Harcourt simply for having public demonstrations without the Federal Government ordering a judicial inquiry.

“Instead, after I called for one and Amnesty International provided evidence that 150 of them were killed, the Chief of Army Staff set up an inquiry, composed of serving and retired members of the armed forces, thereby compromising the rules of natural justice which prescribes that you cannot be a judge in your own case.

“The Igbos in Nigeria feel the treatment of IPOB as unfair, discriminatory, and an overkill.
“They see the move as an attempt to encourage a profiling of Igbos in the international security arena.

“We know of other self-determination groups in Nigeria that are armed and have destroyed government and private sector installations and wells that government prefer to negotiate with rather than labelling them as terrorist organisations.

“Fulani herdsmen, otherwise called the Fulani militants, have ravaged farms in Middle Belt, South West, and South Eastern Nigeria, killing several farmers in the process. In January 2016, they killed 500 farmers and their families in Agatu in Benue State.

“This year alone, over 1000 people have been murdered by them in the Middle Belt and many more displaced from their homes.

“In Enugu State, they murdered more than 100 farmers in Ukpabi Nimbo in April 2016.

“Photographs depicting them with automatic rifles trend in the entire world media, yet not one of them is facing criminal charges, nor is ‘Operation Python Dance’ being conducted in the areas where they ravage and kill and the Federal Government describes them as criminals and not a terrorist organisation, notwithstanding their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world (see British Independent Newspaper of 12th July 2016 which indicated that Fulani herdsmen killed one thousand people in 2014).”

He said the recent deployment of soldiers to South East in ‘Operation Python Dance’ was unfortunate.

According to the Ohanaeze leader, deployment of the army was only allowed in circumstances of insurrection, terrorism, and external aggression not in preventing the killing of priests or fighting kidnapping.

He explained that in those circumstances where they could be deployed, leave of the Senate must be sought, stressing that this brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concerned the South East was provocative.

On the issue of restructuring, Nwodo said: “Now, let us look at the statistical evidence that made the argument for restructuring compelling.

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Biafra: The Igbo Need IPOB For Several Reasons – Prof Nwala |RN

Prof.Uzodimma-Nwala

President of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Prof Uzodinma Nwala has said that it is in the interest of Ndigbo to have Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) de-proscribed and declassified as a terrorist organisation.

According to him, Ndigbo will be able to integrate IPOB and other pro-Biafra organisations as instruments of development and freedom, add￾ing that the Yoruba nation has been able to do this successfully with the OPC.

In an interview with VINCENT KALU, Prof. Nwala expressed regrets that the federation is driven by a particular ideological mould, which treats aberrations as normal in the conduct of the affairs of the society.

Nigeria is on edge; it has turned to a killing field; kidnapping and other violent crimes everywhere. Why?

The Nigerian Federation is driven by a particular ideological mould, which treats these aberrations as normal in the conduct of the affairs of the society.

How do we come out of these problems?

We must alter the power configuration in the Nigerian Federation. First, we must return power to the original nationalities that were brought together by the British outside their consent. Second, we must ensure that the decision as to whether Nigeria remains a political entity is made according to the principle of self-determination, without any compulsion.

How can IPOB be de-proscribed?

Ndigbo should apply all possible political pressures to get IPOB de-proscribed. The state governments in the Igbo-speaking areas should take action and demand the de-proscription of IPOB; the Federal legislators from Alaigbo should lobby their colleagues to get the National Assembly to pass a resolution de-proscribing IPOB (we are aware that they have publicly condemned the de-proscription of IPOB); the
churches, the women and youth should demand for IPOB de-proscription. ADF has already made this call and has further challenged the Operation Python Dance in court as an illegal invasion of Alaigbo.

Igbo have been clamouring to produce the president in 2023. What direction should the Igbo follow in 2019?

The issue of the Presidency of Nigeria should be part of the total package of the process of laying a new foundation for the future of Nigeria. The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), based on proven general view of Ndigbo, our people are no longer interested in the continuation of a political union in which they are treated like conquered people, daily slaughtered as animals, without political rights and with the foundation of their economic life virtually destroyed, in which there is no equality and justice in the system.

This is why ADF has proposed for the Nigerian Federation to be turned into a Federal Union of Autonomous Regions in which Alaigbo is recognised as an autonomous region, enjoying the fundamental right of self-determination, with full control of their domestic affairs, their security, their land and its resources, and contributing to the maintenance of a Federal Union with powers ceded to it by the various autonomous regions that make up the Federal Union. Anything less than this, Ndigbo shall regard it as enslavement against their will and shall continue to fight for their freedom and total liberation, which we have no doubt shall come in the nick of time. Our God has not created us to be slaves to other people.

President Buhari recently said that Nigerian soldiers during the war were soft on Biafra, even in the face of the bombing of markets, IDPs and other atrocities committed against the Igbo. What is your reaction to this?

I am aware that some Igbo leaders and organisations have reacted to this show of arrogance and mindless insult by President Buhari on Ndigbo based on the loss of a war that could justifiably be defined as the Third World War. Yes, the Nigeria-Biafra war was a world war involving a coalition of major powers against Biafra. Indeed, that defeat was made possible by several world powers against Ndigbo. The soldiers who fought on the Nigerian side were aware of this fact.

What Buhari is actually saying is that Ndigbo were lucky that they were not completely wiped out by the Nigerian troops and their allies. One would ask, Odi Ofele. I do not think it is the mark of a self-confident soldier to revel in a victory won for his side by a foreign army.

I had on another occasion responded to a claim that appears similar to Buhari’s statement; this one by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a frontline commander during the war. According to him, they (the Federal military leaders) conducted the war without any hate or vengeance because it was a quarrel between brothers.

To that statement, I asked a few pertinent questions, which I now pose to General Buhari, namely: How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as pogrom? Secondly, what about the bombing of refugee camps, marketplaces, churches, etc? Thirdly, when you allowed the massacre of unarmed soldiers and leaders even when they had declared their return to Nigeria, what did you expect? I mean when you murdered Prof. Kalu Ezera or when you killed unarmed Col Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, what did you expect? Fourthly, when you killed and also buried alive thousands of innocent civilians in Asaba, was that a circus show? Fifthly, let us not get into the punitive measures meted to Ndigbo immediately after that war and until this day.

What is your fear for the country?

I answer this by quoting from the recent memorandum of the Alaigbo Development
Foundation (ADF) on the future of Alaigbo and the future of the Federal Republic of Nige￾ria, popularly addressed by many as the Green Book: Today in Nigeria. The monstrous forces of hegemony are on the rampage in fulfilment of the founder’s behest. The chickens have come home to roost, things have fallen apart and the artificial centre can no longer hold.

The forces of ethnic and religious cleansing have been let loose-blood is flowing in the land! All the victims of this hegemony are now astir, and the songs of freedom are now raging all over the artificial federation!

The only way out is for the autonomy of the various nations trapped in the Nigerian Federation to be restored.

Once this is done, they shall be free to decide if they want to live together and in what form of a union they wish to live together as free people, but not as conquered people or as annexed territories.

You talked about what to do to de-proscribe IPOB, why do you want it de-proscribed?

When I address certain sensitive issues, such as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), MASSOB or any other pre-determination organisations, I try not to project my personal views. I endeavour as much as possible to state the position of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), a civil society organisation to which I belong along with several eminent statesmen in Alaigbo. As their chief spokesperson, I owe them the duty not to mix my personal views with the views of the ADF.

The issue of IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu was first raised at the ADF Elders Consultative Forum held in Enugu on March 29, 2016. We chose that organ of ADF because it includes mainly the distinguished elders in ADF – Archbishops, bishops, chairmen of State Council of Traditional Rulers and other notable traditional rulers, ex-governors, ex-ministers, past president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, retired generals and high level military officers, ex- and serving vice chancellors, distinguished professors, top-level academicians, top-level business leaders, respected women leaders, media chiefs, youth leaders, etc. we felt that such a sensitive issue, required the guidance of such Igbo leaders.

At that meeting, we extensively discussed the on-going global agitations for Biafra under the aegis particularly of the IPOB at the time.

In the end, a communiqué was issued followed later by a press statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of ADF, Col Justino Ezeoke (Retd). In the communiqué, ADF condemned the reaction of the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to the renewed agitation for Biafra as discriminatory when compared to the attitude of the government to Boko Haram armed separatist insurgency. ADF noted that the Federal Government was known to have sought and indeed negotiated with the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed and continued to claim thousands of lives of civilians and security forces and destroyed millions of private and state property.

However, in the case of non-violent pro-Biafra IPOB, MASSOB and other Biafra agitators in Alaigbo, which employ peaceful and non-violent methods of agitation, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is unwilling to negotiate or even to dialogue with them. ADF also had expressed grave disappointment over the discriminatory way the federal government
was handling the case of the detention of Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the IPOB and his colleagues, despite calls for his release by local and foreign governments and organisations and despite the fact that several courts in Nigeria had ordered for his release from detention. We also
noted that in Nigeria, governments and leadership of various zones including political leaders, businessmen, intellectuals, traditional rulers, human rights groups, lawyers, pan-national organizations from within and outside the Southern parts of Nigeria have appealed to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to
release Mr. Kanu, whom, everyone know as an unarmed, non-violent prisoner of conscience.

The unrelenting spread of national and global sympathy for the renewed agitation for Biafra is premised on the fact that the campaign of the Pro-Biafra agitators has been both non-violent and does not violate any known national or international laws, but rather is protected by the fundamental constitutional rights of freedom of
speech and political agitation, guaranteed even by the Nigerian Constitution.

As I have stated earlier, ADF maintains that
IPOB and other Prof-Biafra organisations are
legitimate non-violent agitators for political
equality and freedom. ADF likens the Pro-Biafra agitators in Alaigbo as comparable to the OPC within the Yoruba nation, the Niger Delta militants within the Niger Delta region and the Boko Haram and the murderous movement in Arewa land called Fulani Herdsmen. All those are instruments for political struggle by the various
zones. But there is a big difference between those and the IPOB and its sister Pro-Biafra organisations in Alaigbo. That big difference lies in the non-violent character of the Pro-Biafra groups.

It also lies in the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria has negotiated with the others, but has arrogantly refused to listen to or negotiate with the Pro-Biafra agitators. Rather the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari has treated them with disdain and continues
to have them slaughtered like fowls with such mind-boggling self-abandon.

De-platforming of IPOB, is it in the interest of the Igbo, or is it that Ndigbo wants it?

ADF believes that it is in the interest of
Ndigbo to have IPOB de-proscribed and declassified as a terrorist organisation. One, it is not a terrorist organisation. Two, it is non-violent in its agitations. Three, Ndigbo needs IPOB and other self-determination organisations for their own political struggles for survival and relevance in
the scheme of things in the country.

Employing the methods the Igbo society employs in the handling of the activism of their youth, Ndigbo will be able to integrate IPOB and other pro-Biafra organisations as instruments of development and freedom.

The Yoruba nation has been able to do this successfully with the OPC. Ndigbo can
do so with the youths in search of freedom and equality. (The Sun)

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Why Niger-Delta Citizens Do Not Want To Be Part Of Biafra – Goodluck Jonathan

Jonathan-press-briefing

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebere Jonathan yesterday delivered a lecture at Texas US on why remaining indivisible with Nigeria than joining forces with Biafrans in splitting the country will pay Niger Deltans more.

Excerpts

I begin this write-up by saying that I mean no ill-thought towards the Biafran struggle or Igbos in general. What I’ve written here are mainly my personal reflections concerning the Niger Delta, especially with regards to non-Igbo groups and their stake in the Biafran movement which has been rebirthed for some time now. I am not a mouthpiece for the Niger Delta but I believe I’ve been in the Niger Delta long enough to know our problems and our stand. I’ve also interacted with many Niger Deltans to know their stand in the Biafran struggle.

When I use the term Niger Delta, I am referring to the region covering Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states. However, I understand that the region also covers Ondo, Imo, and Abia states. I’m not concerned with the latter because they are either Igbos or Yorubas and have their own struggles. The ethnic groups within my coverage include Urhobo-Isoko, Bini, Esan, Itsekiri, Ijaw-Epie-Ogbia, Ogoni, Afemai, Efik-Annang-Eket-Oron-Ibibio, Ogoja, Ejagham, and other groups in Cross River North. Ikwerre, Ukwuani, Ika, Aniocha, Ogba, and other Igboid groups are not included. Historically, Biafra covered all the Niger Delta states EXCEPT Delta and Ondo states. This fact must be emphasised.

Pro-Biafrans are welcome to debate and address my issues in a civil manner. I understand that most pro-Biafrans resort to insults when salient issues are addressed.

Please let’s set a good precedence from hereon.

  1. Biafra may not be better for Niger Deltans because Niger Deltans may end up living one form of subjugation for another. The argument Igbos have made for their freedom is the desire to be free from Hausa-Yoruba domination. That argument also applies to the average Niger Deltan. Igbo, no doubt, will be the major ethnic group if Biafra is actualised. Ijaws may have a stake due to their numbers. What about the Ogonis, Urhobo-Isokos, Itsekiris, Efiks, etc? Where will they fit in at the national level? The sad reality is that another Nigeria will just be made manifest and resentments will build up. What will really be the fate of minorities? Will they fare better in Biafra or alone? In Nigeria, big groups such as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo checkmate each other’s excesses very well. Who will checkmate that of Igbos in the new nation?
  2. Where will the capital be located? If we are to follow the notion of central location, the capital of Biafra won’t be Enugu but around Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene axis. Will Igbos allow their capital to be sited in a non-Igbo location? This is a very salient issue because you don’t expect the riverine Niger Deltan in Twon-Brass, for instance, to journey all the way to Enugu to see their President. It has to be a location where ALL BIAFRANS can access easily. Enugu won’t go.

  3. The issue of annexation comes to play. For so long, e-Biafrans have annexed Niger Delta as part of the proposed nation. The map below shows us what Biafrans have drawn to constitute the new nation:?

If we judge from this map, it means all groups in the Niger Delta have been annexed. My question is whether the leaders of these groups have been consulted before the annexation was done. I, for one, know that Urhobo-Isoko and Efik-Ibibio leaders have not approved of Biafra neither has anybody in these regions declared Biafra. So how and why were they included in the proposed map? Little things like this bring distrust and I understand that many of these non-Igbo regions have disowned the map and pledged allegiance to Nigeria. The declaration by the Delta State government is a case in point. I see this as forceful annexation. The so-called e-Biafrans have also not done much in calming the nerves of the people of the annexed regions. I’ve seen comments such as “if you don’t like it, go and stay in Sokoto”, “all land in the South is Biafraland”, etc. Is it not ironic that a group of people who want freedom want to annexe others?

  1. What languages will be made the official languages of the new nation? I have seen several posts by e-Biafrans where Igbo was proposed as the official language of the new republic. What then will happen to other languages such as Urhobo, Isoko, Okpe, Efik, Ibibio, Oron, Ogoni, Eleme, Okrika, Kalabari, Bini, Esan, etc? Will they die off because of Igbo? Certainly NOT! If English is made the official language, the Igbo majority factor will kick in. If your name isn’t Chukwuemeka or Oliseh, Amarachi or Nneka, etc, you won’t get any appointment nor shall you be recognised. These are things we can’t deny. We are very ethnocentric in Africa.
  • What and what have Igbo nation done for Niger Deltans to gain their trust? Every day I see Igbo youths making enemies where there were none. They constantly use the agency of the internet to sprout controversy, hurl insults at dissenters and make unfounded claims. There is this general air of mistrust for Igbos by some Niger Deltans, particularly by Urhobo-Isoko and Bini people. What have Igbos done to checkmate this? Has any Igbo leader or group extended the hand of friendship to the Niger Deltans. Mistrust cannot be wished away. Most Niger Deltans would rather follow Hausas as slaves than follow Igbos as kings. This is the real reality and truthfully, Igbos caused this.

  • Who will lead the new nation? Obviously, Nnamdi Kanu, their hero, has fought tooth and nails for Biafra and he is currently cooling off in jail. If Biafra comes today, who will be the interim leader and what modalities are in place for subsequent leaders to be elected? Igbos have been the only ones fighting for Biafra since time immemorial with a handful of other groups here and there. Will Igbos allow other groups to rule over them? Will they allow an Urhobo man to be President, for instance? This is not a case of mere wishing. We have to understand that Niger Delta groups MAY NEVER BE ALLOWED TO RULE BIAFRA IF IT IS ACTUALISED.

  • Still, on the issue of leaders, are the new leaders going to fall from the skies or they are simply going to change addresses from Abuja to Enugu. If so, what will change in the new nation? It is not arguable that Igbo national leaders are the most corrupt persons in Nigeria. If these same people are the ones to rule the new nation then there is no hope because corruption will be so rife that the economy of the new nation will shut down like a knocked engine. If we argue that new and younger leaders will arise, we still have the issue of who fought for Biafra to contend with. Most pro-Biafrans will not allow someone who sat at the periphery of the struggle to just come and waltz power away from the “heroes” of Biafra. If this is true then we will not have a proper democracy in Biafra.

  • Will Biafra be a utopia? The impression that e-Biafrans give is that Biafra will be perfect and we all know for a fact that this is not true. Apart from the issue of corruption and sentimentalism that have been addressed, we still have the issue of development. Where will money be generated from to develop the nation? In the whole of proposed Biafra, only Port Harcourt and Onitsha are economically viable cities. Where will the investors come from? Why should they invest in a volatile country? Only in Warri, we have Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo at loggerheads, imagine what would happen to the whole nation. Secondly, I am sure that no Niger Deltan will allow his “oil” to be used to develop Enugu like what happened with Abuja, and is still happening today. Niger Deltans are getting wiser and by the time the new nation is formed, matters that border on oil, wealth distribution and infrastructural development will be raised.

  • The current structure of the proposed nation, as shown on the map earlier embedded, favour Igbos with more states. Urhobo has one, Efik-Ibibio has two, Itsekiri has none, etc. How will this be addressed? Certainly, every ethnic nationality will want adequate representation and so the structure on that map will never work.

  • Last, but not the least, is the issue of the referendum. Some Biafrans are already calling for a referendum which will involve all parts of the proposed nation. I am pretty sure how this referendum will turn out. However, for the sake of being hypothetical, let us imagine that some ethnic groups/states vote against Biafra by the majority, what will be their fate at the end of the day? Secondly, will the result of such a referendum be true and honest? I understand that electoral malpractice forms a part of our identity. How are we going to get a true reflection of people’s thoughts? Thirdly, if states and ethnic groups do decide to vote for Biafra, what mechanisms are in place to contain Igbophobia, Igbomania, Igbocentrism, Igbo hegemony, Land grabbing, and all issues that minorities have raised?

  • Above are the reasons why I feel that Niger Deltans will NOT subscribe to the Biafran movement. I have been very practical, philosophical and hypothetical in my approach. I do not speak for any group or persons but I present these issues for the pro-Biafrans to address. Niger Deltans can raise more issues that I have not raised. Finally, it should be noted that I expect insults directed at my person by e-warriors and keyboard mercenaries, as usual, but I won’t pleasure such persons with answers or altercations. If you raise good points, we can discuss like intellectuals.

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