The National President of the Indigenous Igbo Youths Congress (IIYC) has said that the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu should be released unconditionally from detention.
In an interview with VINCENT KALU, Chief Echefu said the IPOB leader was a freedom fighter, fighting against the oppression of his people by the Nigeria government.
What is your view on the state of the nation?
Nigeria has continued to bleed every day. What is happening in the North West is very appalling; it is evidence that the government has lost grip of the security situation in the county. Boko Haram is still potent in the North-East. Some days ago, terrorists dispatched over 60 people to their early graves in Sokoto State. As it happened in Sokoto, so it is also happening in other states of the North-West. We call them bandits because we live in denial in this county. Criminal elements who are supposed to have been declared terrorist are being romanticized and called bandits. They shot down a military jet, we called them bandits; they attacked Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), a military formation, killed officers and abducted one or so, you still call them bandits, while you didn’t hesitate to tag IPOB that was merely waving its flags, a terrorist organisation.
You can see why the so called bandits have the audacity to do what they are doing; destroying communities, killing people in their scores and nothing happens except press statement from the government. Nigerians are no more fools. Fulani herdsmen are killing people, especially in the South and the Middle Belt, none of them has been arrested, not to talk of prosecution, but when communities rise to defend themselves, security forces appear and start arresting members of the communities. This is Nigeria for you.
The moment we tell ourselves the truth; the better for us. Nigeria is no more working. This government has succeeded in creating senior and junior Nigerians and that is the more reason for all these separatist agitations across the country. No one will like to live under this asphyxiating and oppressive country. I have said in many interviews that we should renegotiate Nigeria, but every day, it seems the country has gone beyond renegotiation. You can see the demonstration by Northern women asking the government to allow any group that wants to opt out of Nigeria to do so peacefully instead of plunging the country into another war. These women have understanding of the time; that is why they came out to demonstrate.
How do we tackle this Nnamdi Kanu phenomenon because it is what gave birth to this sit-at-home and other things happening in the South-East?
Just as people have already suggested, a political solution has to be found, and he has to be released unconditionally. IPOB wasn’t carrying arms; the government branded it terrorist organisation, and unleashed military against them at Afara-ukwu, Umuahia, the Abia State capital, killing dozens of the members. He is a freedom fighter, fighting against the emasculation of his people by the government of Nigeria. So, he should be set free. If they continue following a legal process to it, it will have no end.
The greatest mistake the government should do is to harm him or kill him, thinking that it would be the end of the struggle, it will not. If they are good students of history, they should remember that when the Jews killed Jesus Christ, they thought it would be the end of His mission, it was from there that Christianity became hurricane, sweeping across nations.
The same with Martin Luther King Jnr. When he was assassinated in the US, thinking it would quench Black and civil right uprising, his mission blossomed and came earlier than expected. There are many Nnamdi Kanus who are ready to lay their lives for the emancipation of the Igbo.
There has to be a political solution; there has to be a dialogue.
he government of the day has to dialogue, not just with the leadership of the South-East, but also the youths should also be involved because we are the main people who carry out the action, not the elders. But the leadership can ensure that there is a dialogue. In that dialogue, the issue will be tabled and every side presents its own position. The position of Igbo youths is that he should be released unconditionally, he has not committed any crime, instead it is the Federal Government that has committed crime by abducting him. Look at how they brought down the house of Ejiofor, and killed some people and nothing has happened. Ejiofor is Kanu’s lawyer.
0However, it is in the interest of the government for it to be resolved on the conference table, instead of a legal solution that will not end it. Kanu is not alone; he has millions of followers, and a well organised structure. If you imprison him today, someone else will take over and the whole thing continues.
The United Arab Emirate named some Nigerians sponsoring Boko Haram, but the government doesn’t want to make them public and prosecute them. What is your take on this?
My brother, this is what I was saying that this government has created senior and junior Nigerians. This is not the first time. The Fulani herdsmen have been categorised internationally, as the fourth most deadly terrorist group, but the Federal Government is pampering them and giving them a fertile ground to continue with their killing spree.
There is something this government may be hiding by shielding these people funding Boko Haram. The government knows what she is afraid of and what she is afraid of knows her. If those suspected Boko Haram sponsors should spill the beans every ear that hears will tingle.
e have spent over a trillion naira in the fight against Boko Haram; funds that could fix our comatose education system; funds that could tackle dilapidated infrastructure and other projects. Luckily for you, some people who were funding these killings, destructions in the North-East have been named, instead of you to make a public show of them, you are dilly-dallying; shielding them. God is watching. His anger will soon descend.
Have you forgotten what Commodore Olawunmi (retd) said during a television programme that some of those sponsors are now governors, senators and some in Aso Rock? What is the reply of the government? The government’s image is low, if it wants to shore up its image, it should try these suspected sponsors of this insurgent group openly.
By 2023, the South insists that power should rotate to the region; the South-East is clamouring that for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, it should be allowed the presidency. What is your position?
There is no justice in Nigeria, the country is not fair and equity is the least consideration in the way the country is run, and that is the reason we are not making progress and are far behind our contemporary nations.
Is it under this fraudulent 1999 constitution, which was made without the consent of the people, and everything loaded against the South that you want an Igbo to be president? President of Igbo extraction is not going to favour us. We don’t want even restructuring anymore, we want to be left alone to go and develop our land at our pace and enjoy peace instead of a country where marauding herdsmen rape your wife, rape your mother, rape your sister in your presence; kill your people, raze your community and take over your ancestral land and you watch helplessly and do nothing because they seem to enjoy an immunity and backing of the powers that be.