By Akanimo Sampson
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Igbo group pressing for a sovereign state of Biafra out of Nigeria, has brushed aside the warning of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, boasting that nothing will stop them from liberating Biafra and its people from what they described as a ‘’repressive and unbecoming government of Nigeria’’.
Governor Umahi had on Saturday threatened to deal appropriately miscreants suspected to be IPOB players, warning that his administration will go after those who had resorted to circulating all kinds of ‘’lies and blackmail’’ against him and the state government on social media.
Before now, the Biafra agitators had listed conditions for peace between them, the Federal Government and the five governors of Eastern Nigeria. This was said to be after a meeting with Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), led by Professor Ben Nwabueze, seeking the de-proscription of IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
The meeting was said to be held at meeting at the Atani, Ogbaru Council and the Anambra State residence of Professor Nwabueze. According to IPOB, this was part of the conditions for peace with the governors and Abuja.
IPOB is also demanding that the criminal prosecution of its members arrested in various parts of the country be discontinued as their agitation for Biafra is allegedly recognised as an individual right and as such is protected by the Nigerian Constitution.
The agitators are equally asking for the compensation of all their members who were killed during Operation Python Dance in Eastern Nigeria and the prosecution of the security men that allegedly murdered them.
While equally demanding for an end to constant harassment and arrest of their members in any part of the country by security operatives, the IPOB leadership observed that in all the prosecutions, none of their members had been found guilty or convicted for crimes.
They said since the Ohanaeze and Southeast governors proscribed the group, they should also de-proscribe it. Nwabueze was however, quoted as saying that the de-proscription of the organisation as a ‘’terrorist’’ group was key among other demands.
It was gathered that ILT and Ohanaeze agreed in principle to do all within their powers to ensure that the organisation was de-proscribed in a bid to guarantee peace in Igbo land and the country in general.
According to Nwabueze, ‘’Ndigbo desired peace, unity and development of Nigeria as a country and such is not achievable with the level of disenchantment in the land by various groups. Disenchantments is part of the reasons why Igbo people are pushing for the restructuring of the country’’, adding that should the country be restructured, agitations for secession will be checkmated once and for all and the Igbo nation was not interested in producing a president under the present structure in the country.
But in a latest statement, IPOB appears to be going tough on their quest for Biafra. IPOB’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, in a reaction to a statement credited to the National President of Ohanaeze, John Nwodo, in which he purportedly claimed that neither IPOB nor Ohanaeze could give the Igbo people Biafra, said it was an indication that Ohanaeze and the governors were sabotaging them from realising their Biafra dream.
The IPOB spokesperson however, lamented that some politicians in Igboland might have been compromised by the federal government, insisting that the group will stop at nothing to liberate the oppressed Igbo people from Nigeria.