Biafra: Igbo leaders divided over self-determination move

Pro-Biafra protests in Port Harcourt
Pro-Biafra protests in Port Harcourt

Igbo leaders appear divided over governments’ move against Radio Biafra Director, Nnamdi Kanu, according to Vanguard.

Nnamdi’s lawyer, Mr. Egechukwu Obetta, told Sunday Vanguard on the phone, last Wednesday, that the DSS has not granted him access to his client who is also the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOD, despite a court order allowing him access to his lawyer and physician.

The magistrate court before which he was arraigned had granted Kanu bail last Monday in the sum of N2 million with a surety (civil servant) of grade level 16.

President General, apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, when contacted on the phone, declined comments on the self-determination movement, saying, “I am at the airport on my way to South-Africa. The issue is a very sensitive one. I do not want to make casual statements on it. I will be back next week”.

A former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nduka Eya, echoed the same sentiment to Sunday Vanguard.

Eya said: “The young people who were born after and during the civil war do not know the history of Nigeria. The civil war between Nigeria and Biafra ended in 1970. We are now a sovereign state of Nigeria.

“But there is nothing wrong if a group agitates for a state but you cannot do so by confrontation in a sovereign state of Nigeria. It is treason. Biafra ended with the civil war in 1970. The Federal Government should detain and charge him (Nnamdi) for treason. I am an Igbo man and a Nigerian. You cannot be agitating for a state within Nigeria adopting confrontation.

“When the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike’s mother died, I was then the Secretary General of Onahaeze and pleaded for his release from detention to enable him bury his mother.

“I was among a private delegation, led by the late Senator Uche Chukwumerije, to Uwazuruike. We told Uwazuruike that `you cannot be talking of a sovereign Biafra inside a sovereign Nigeria’. Nnamdi should be charged for treason but his undue detention without charge cannot be supported.”

Another pan-Igbo group, Enugu Unity Forum, EUF, frowned at any move to secede without employing constitutional means, adding that such confrontation will amount to treason.

President, EUF, Chief Tahil Ochi, said, “The law should take its course. It is not a criminal case and as such is bailable. He should not be detained more than the law prescribes. The Biafra struggle should not be confrontational. They should follow the dictates of the law. They should look at how Sudan broke up. As an Igbo man, I will be part of the struggle if it is done constitutionally. But if it is done by force, I cannot be part of it.

“The Nigerian government should look at why agitations are rife from the North to South-west and South-south/South-east. They should go back to the National Conference report which addressed these issues that trigger ethnic unrest. Apart from Biafra, the Yoruba, through Odua Peoples Congress, OPC, are calling for their own state. The Boko-Haram issue in the North is a call by the northerners for secession. The Federal Government should implement the confab report which addressed the injustices plaguing the nation.”
Photo credit: Vanguard)

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