■ Markets, schools, banks, parks to shut down
■ We’ll come out, sing and dance on May 30 –BIM
From Geoffrey Anyanwu (Awka), Jeff Amechi Agbodo (Onitsha) and David Onwuchekwa (Nnewi)
Barely 16 days to the May 30 event to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 declaration of the Republic of Biafra, Igbo self-determination groups have vowed that nothing except God can stop the celebration of the anniversary.
Acting in one accord, the groups said they have perfected plans for a smooth celebration that would prevent the wasting of Biafran blood by trigger-happy Nigerian security agencies on Biafra Day.
Investigations by Sunday Sun showed that various groups have thrown their weight behind the IPOB initiative and assured that the sit-at-home order would be observed fully in Biafra land.
Speaking to Sunday Sun on the issue, IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, said the group was aware of the plot of governments both at the federal and state levels to stop the event.
He said, “We are aware that the saboteurs in and outside Biafraland, even those who claimed to be fighting for Biafra freedom, the federal and state governments in the East and security agencies are planning to stop the remembrance of our heroes and heroines who died for our people to live today in Nigeria and to forestall the sit-at-home order issued by our supreme leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu with IPOB leadership worldwide.
“We want to use the Biafra Day celebration to prove to the entire world that we are ready for the referendum that will soon come for our people to decide whether they want to remain in Nigeria or not. Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of Biafra must obey the sit-at-home order issued by our supreme leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, no matter the threat from the Nigerian government and her security agencies. We are aware that the saboteurs, evil men and women, who want to deceive the people not to observe the sit-at-home order on that particular day will fail.
“We are not deterred by any threat from any corner no matter the arsenal the security operatives might come with to harass people on that day. They will try but they cannot stop it because they don’t have the wherewithal to stop it because IPOB is rooted in every community and state in Biafraland and they cannot force people to come out on that particular day. We know their strategies and IPOB has its own strategies to make the sit-at-home order succeed.
“Therefore, all markets, transport companies, schools, banks, companies, civil servants, petrol stations, okada/tricycle unions, park management, artisans, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Drivers Welfare in Biafraland, must shut down on that particular day in honour and remembrance of our fallen heroes and heroines.
“This is not the first time in history IPOB indulged in this type of event with sit-at-home order and our people have always complied with their hearts in support of Biafra independence being championed by our leader.
“We did the Heroes Day Celebration in Enugu in the year 2014, did it at Aba in 2015 although IPOB did not call for sit-at-home and we did the heroes remembrance day at Nkpor last year where the Nigerian security agencies especially the Army committed the highest crime against humanity. Few months later, IPOB called for sit-at-home on 23rd September, 2016 without much publicity unlike this year’s own that there is much publicity for this epoch event, people complied.”
Corroborating him, the Leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Comrade Uchenna Madu said the event is beyond the government’s power to stop, insisting that it would be a golden and superlative celebration.
His words: “The golden jubilee celebration of Biafra declaration anniversary will be golden and superlative. It will be a moment of sober reflection among the Biafra agitators. The commemoration of the anniversary will bring more unifying forces of non-violence for speedy actualization and restoration of Biafra. Different activities of all pro-Biafra groups that will recharge the consciousness of Biafra are all welcomed.
“We are aware that Nigerian security agents are not comfortable with the coming anniversary. MASSOB is also aware that security agents will exhibit their jittery state and fears, as the overzealous, trigger-happy ones will like to operate in a cowardly manner against non-violent Biafra agitators. The threat and presence of Nigerian security agents will not deter us from exercising our fundamental right.
“We the people of Biafra will never relent in promoting, projecting and upholding all the legacies of General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the supreme leader and Commander of the Biafra Nation. Whatever measure or approach of security agents against the celebration of Biafra declaration anniversary day can never stop us from observing the independence declaration of Biafra by Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
“We’re not seeing the Federal government stopping or challenging the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Biafra declaration. The Federal government cannot stop what they didn’t establish or institute. Their duty is to watch and observe the sympathetic reactions of the international community towards restoration of Biafra. No military or spiritual powers can stop the collective will of the people.”
Asked if they would be able to resist government forces, Powerful said: “IPOB under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a non-violent organization but remember, I said we know their plans, from one week before the event they will begin to apply their strategy, but IPOB will do everything within its reach to make sure that the sit-at-home order scheduled to hold on May 30 is successful. The only thing we request from our people is for them to heed the clarion call from our leader and IPOB worldwide to stay indoors and leave other things for IPOB members.
“We advise everybody to go to market before that particular day and stock up food items, don’t come out openly because the security agencies want to use it as an excuse to begin to kill our people again as they did last year at Nkpor. That day there will be no movement of any kind, markets, transport company of any sorts, banks, parents must withdraw their children from schools that day to avoid soldiers’ attack.
“IPOB is working tirelessly now to ensure that this sit-at-home order is complied with completely; everywhere must be shut down by our people because they know in this contraption called Nigeria nothing is working, the poor become poorer while the rich become richer.”
He said that the focus of the Biafra Day is to remember those who died during the genocidal war against Igbo people between 1967 and 1970, and observe the day at home with prayers. Immediately it is noon (midday), every family in Biafraland must write down the names of those who died in their families and use it as point of prayer for 2 minutes immediately it is noon on that day.
He stressed that Igbo people everywhere should and honour Bruce Mayrock, a Jewish American who set himself ablaze before the United Nations office in New York, USA, to protest the killing and starvation of Igbo during the war.
Speaking on why Ndigbo are solidly behind Kanu, the founder of Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and Secretary, Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko said, “Our reasons are obvious. Our people are behind him simply because, he has proven to be devoted, dedicated and committed to freeing our people from the prison called Nigeria. He has also proven that he will willingly make painful sacrifices for the sake of our people.
“You see, Nnamdi Kanu is not the problem of Nigeria, rather the problems of Nigeria threw up Nnamdi Kanu. He and his followers are merely reacting to the wickedness of the system. On the 29th of July, 1966, 51 years ago, young soldiers in their 20s killed Ironsi and Fajuyi in Ibadan and seized central power, led Nigeria through a very bloody civil war, carved Nigeria along their whims, created states and local governments, designed the Nigerian Constitution according to their caprices and have seized Nigeria by the jugular ever since.
He explained further: “They left sorrow, tears and blood, established the Nigerian corrupt political culture and they are still insisting on dictating our future whether we like it or not. One of them is our head of state today, three of them met in Minna two weeks ago, all in their bid to stamp their feet on our destiny as a people.
“It does not matter to them that the Nigeria they designed is not working, that 20 states cannot pay salaries, that 90 per cent of the citizens want Nigeria returned to regional arrangement, that more than half of our population have completely lost faith in Nigeria, and that about one quarter of the population are completely bent on seceding out of Nigeria. These soldiers of fortune and their civilian accomplices have continued to resist every plea to restructure Nigeria back to the regional autonomy.
“Every effort, since Aburi, Ghana 50 years ago, Abacha’s conference 22 years ago, Obasanjo’s conference 12 years ago and Jonathan’s confab three years ago, have been frustrated, resisted by these little gods, who believe they own Nigeria. Kanu and his followers only represent the voice of the masses who are simply saying, ‘We can’t take it anymore.’
“Kanu’s activism positively resonates with millions of our people. So it is the injustice initiated and condoned by some people that inspired Kanu to embark on a project to free his people from servitude. So Kanu is not the problem, but those who believe they are born to rule and dominate others perpetually.”
Speaking in the same vein, Ugochukwu-Uko, who is also the Deputy Secretary, Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT) said, “I assure you that our people are 100 per cent behind Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. They have called on our people to stay at home on that day and meditate on the blood of our brethren unnecessarily shed in our recent history. I will assure you that in spite of the attempt by enemies of the people to sabotage the stay at home order, I believe our people will comply because they know that Kanu and IPOB mean well for our unborn children.”
Declaring his support for the IPOB order, a commercial motorcyclist in Awka, Anambra State, Mr. Ejike Tomchukwu, said the sit-at-home order is as good as having been carried out, stating that members of his union have decided to obey it to the letter.
He said, “Every reasonable man and woman in Biafra land knows it is a time to test our unity and our ability to challenge injustice in Nigeria and we must obey it. If the government wants, let them bring out the entire weapons in Nigeria here they will not force us out of our homes. They will be disappointed because they will not see anybody on the road to kill, except they will be going to people’s homes to kill them, which I will not be surprised if it happens.”
A businessman whose business office is located at the Arroma Junction area of Awka who pleaded anonymity said, “Though it will be a loss of business for me, but it is a worthy call that all of us Biafrans no matter were you reside must obey. Let us show them that we are very important in this nation.”
A commercial bus driver, Mr. Okey Nwokolo, declared his full support for the exercise in order to show the determination of Biafrans over the matter of Biafra independence, saying that the exercise would shake the entire world, which will hasten the restoration of Biafra’s statehood.
“We have to honour those who lost their lives for us to live. I will not support protest or rally but I support the sit-at-home because nobody will die or be killed by security agents again. It is a sacrifice we have to pay in our quest to be independent and on our own, we cannot get it on a platter of gold, so we have to work for it.
“I know it will not be easy for everybody to remain at home for the whole day, but we have to endure it for that day. Since we are aware of it, we should work hard to ensure that we keep what we will eat for that day. So, I urge all Biafrans wherever you are to observe the day and comply fully, we are fighting for our future because we don’t belong to this Nigeria,” Nwokolo said.
A legal practitioner, Mr. Chibueze Ibenwa, condemned the sit-at-home order, describing it as illegal. He said the economy of the entire Southeast zone would be brought to a halt and billions of naria would be lost.
Similarly, a trader at Onitsha main market, Mr. Jideofor Ulodimma, in his reaction to the sit-at-home order said that it would affect ordinary individuals who depend on daily sales to feed their families, saying that there are other ways to honour the fallen heroes rather than shutting down the entire system.
Meanwhile, the Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) founded by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has reaffirmed its resolve to mark the Biafra Day on May 30 with singing and dancing, while dismissing the sit-at-home order issued by IPOB
Leader of Anambra South Senatorial zone of BIM/MASSOB, Chief Arinze Igbani, who addressed newsmen in Nnewi dismissed IPOB and its leaders as people who had been systematically edged out of the mainstream of the struggle to actualize Biafra.
Igbani queried why people should sit at home during an important celebration and told all in Biafra land to feel free and not to confine themselves to their homes.
BIM and MASSOB, it is to be noted, had said the celebration would last for one week, starting on May 22 and ending on May 30 with public singing and dancing across Igbo land.
While urging Igbo people to fully mark the day with singing, dancing and commemorative football matches and other social events, he warned security agents to steer clear of the members of BIM in the course of the celebration.