- Protests rock South-East, South-South
- FG fell into a trap by arresting, detaining Kanu – Ononuju
Major cities in the South East and South-South zones of Nigeria have in the last one month recorded frenzied efforts by various groups agitating for the creation out of Nigeria, of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
All through the weekend, especially across the South East geo-political region and parts of the South-South agitators for a Biafran nation embarked on peaceful protests paralysing businesses and causing panic among all.
The immediate cause was the continued detention of one of their own and leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu by security agencies. Thus from Asaba in Delta state, through Onitsha, Anambra state, Port Harcourt, Rivers state to the coal city of Enugu, pro-Biafra sympathisers called out their members to protest the perceived illegal detention of Kalu.
However, the development has continued to be the subject of analysis by keen watchers who see undercurrents beyond the arrest of Kalu as responsible for the protests.
Analysts hold that protests that would cause vehicular movements to be disrupted along all the major roads must have other propelling forces beyond the arrest of Nnamdi Kalu.
At press time, Nigerian Pilot learnt that the air of protest has overwhelmed major towns and cities of the South-East region with the commercial city of Aba worse gripped.
The agitators though non-violent, quickly reminds one of the 30-month fratricidal war that engulfed the whole nation from 1967 to 1970 led by late Dim , Lt. Col, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu-Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi
The recent agitations are with support from the Movement for the Actualization of the State of Biafra, MASSOB, a secessionist movement, which was the precursor of the agitations and led by one Chief Ralph Uwazurike.
During such demonstrations, schools, markets and public buildings and commercial activities are either shut or disrupted with members of the public sympathetic to the course joining the demonstration in support. Although security agents have over the years arrested and prosecuted leaders of these groups, the agitations seem not to ebb, rather splinter groups spring up every day. Today it is difficult to determine the number of these associations, as many of them operate underground.
To show its seriousness, MASSOB recently called on the international community to rezone the Nigeria. The Assistant National Information Director, Mr Sunny Okereafor, said his group has already presented a vehicle plate number, a flag, bearing United States of Biafra, drivers and vehicle licences, tax receipt, international passport and currency at the World Bank, symbols of an independent nation.
“We are calling on the international community to split Nigeria into six geo-political regions so that every region will go and be on its own because we want peaceful co-existence. We are a non-violent organization and we are introducing non-violence in all the struggles for self-actualization in the whole of Africa”.Okereafor said.
He further said that his members are ready to die for the secession of Biafra Republic from Nigeria insisting that their mission to break the South-East from Nigeria was in the interest of the Igbo race. He said there were several Igbo people who believed in MASSOB’s mission but would not identify with the group for fear of incarceration. MASSOB is a revolutionary movement pushing for a separate state of Ndi’gbo.
“Not every Igbo man will identify with MASSOB openly because they are afraid that they may be arrested, thrown into prison or executed. But we, the die-hard, have prepared ourselves for such. The groups of Igbo youths in MASSOB are really willing to sacrifice their lives for the betterment of Ndi’gbo”, he stated.
Going by the foregoing, questions are being asked whether the agitations are real. Are these groups genuinely fighting for the rights of Ndigbo or are they political puns being used by some politicians to achieve selfish purposes? For now opinions on this remain divided.
Ohaneze Ndigbo, the umbrella body of Igbos has decried the activities of MASSOB. Speaking through the National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, Mr. Okechukwu Isiguzoro, it kicked against the agitation advising the agitators to drop the idea. He said it was better for Ndigbo to remain in Nigeria and struggle for their fair share of the ‘national cake’ than fight for self-determination with its attendant consequences.
However, it was discovered that many prominent Igbo leaders are rendering their support to the groups, but they prefer to do so quietly.
FG fell into a trap – Ononuju
However, Public affairs analyst, Dr. Katch Ononuju has said that the agitation for Biafra as well as Biafra as a republic is for real.
In a telephone interview with Nigerian Pilot last night, he said that by arresting and detaining Kanu over the Radio Biafra matter, the federal government fell into a trap set by agitators for a state of Biafra.