The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has commended the leadership of the Senate as well as the caucus of South-eastern senators for their position on the proscription of the group.
A statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, argued that “mass execution of members of IPOB would have commenced under the cover of Operation Python Dance II, if not for the quick intervention of the Senate President and his colleagues from the South-East”.
The group pledged to co-operate with any commission of inquiry or panel set up by the Senate to ascertain what truly transpired before, during and after the Operation Python Dance II.
The statement reads; “That South-East lawmakers refused to be cowed into submission to tag IPOB under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, a terrorist and unlawful organisation should be applauded by all lovers of freedom around the world. It represents the triumph of freedom of speech and association over tyranny, brute force and dictatorial tendencies.
“Having demonstrated this rare courage in the face of overwhelming tyranny and oppression, we, the IPOB members would gladly welcome any fact finding mission the lawmakers may consider necessary under the circumstance.
“Without prejudicing the outcome of this or any other Senate inquiry, we see this as a welcome opportunity to demonstrate to all and sundry that IPOB was never, can never and will never bear arms against anybody or state. This is a golden opportunity for Nigerian lawmakers to ascertain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
“We strongly urge the National Assembly to investigate the activities of IPOB thoroughly because we have nothing to fear. They should also look into the recent killings of unarmed civilian populations in Afaraukwu Umuahia and Aba in the on-going military occupation of Biafra land.
“We are also calling on the United Nation UN, European Union EU, African Union AU, ECOWAS, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, USA, Israel, Russia, Britain, Germany, France, and other relevant human rights to probe IPOB and thoroughly investigate the on-going killings of unarmed and innocent civilians”.
… Igbos, own worst enemies – Senator Girei
A Chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC) Senator Abubakar Girei, has said Igbos are naive and the worst enemies of themselves.
The ex-lawmaker, who represented Adamawa Central in the Senate, between 1999 and 2003, said that all attempts to make late Sen. Chuba Okadigbo to be president in 2007 were scuttled by the political elites in Igbo land.
He said this in an interview at the weekend against the backdrop of the recent proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Girei, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), said: “To be honest with you, the North feels that the political naivety of the people of the south east has been exposed because I don’t see how people with the intelligence, education, experience and the spread the Igbo have in this country and even beyond could be talking about secession when you own the whole of Nigeria as far as we are concerned.
“We stand to be corrected and you are now talking of limiting yourself to the south east you call Biafra. I mean this is the height of political naivety. How I wish the likes of Chuba Okadigbo were alive. With his political sagacity he would have really called the Igbo to order.
“As the landlord of Nigeria why should you be talking of going back to a small hamlet called Biafra? Honestly this is my opinion and I believe this is the opinion of most people in the North. People that are so blessed throughout the country. Is it not the Igbo that own this country, you think it is the Hausa-Fulani? The Hausa-Fulani don’t own this country. It is the Igbo that own this country. You find them all over this country not as shoe shiners, nail cutters or water hewers. You find them as businessmen making money, owning properties, creating wealth
“Let me tell you. You remember what happened in 2002, 2003? I was in the Senate with Chuba Okadigbo and the others. We came together and then networked with the then APP, negotiated and changed the name of the party from APP to ANPP, negotiated a slot for the vice-presidency to be given to Chuba Okadigbo. It was not Buhari that made Chuba Okadigbo his running mate. Buhari simply accepted it.
“It was a negotiated deal between our group, the Chuba Group nationwide and the APP as a political party which chose to change its name from APP to ANPP. They then conceded the vice-presidential slot to us, to Chuba Okadigbo in person which Buhari accepted and endorsed. Buhari also accepted to do only one term of four years only; that is between 2003 and 2007 and then power would have automatically gone to Chuba Okadigbo, an Igbo man from the south east of Nigeria.
“That was the negotiation. That was our own agreement. It was our own internal agreement. If it had succeeded we would have sustained it. It would have automatically followed because Buhari would have respected that. He stood for it. We stood for it and we would have gotten Chuba to be president by 2007.
“Of course, the South easterners aborted it.
“I was in it. I was in Oyi in Anambra State in Okadigbo’s village during the election. All the Igbo ganged up against ANPP. They went and negotiated with Obasanjo and voted PDP. In fact, they did not allow Chuba himself to cast his vote in his village. That was what happened. I was there. I was in Oyi village live during the presidential election of 2003. I was not alone. We were about eight former Senators and prominent northerners who went there to support Chuba Okadigbo as our vice-presidential candidate. The south east completely rejected that. That is why we always wonder if these people are really politicians.
…Bishop Okonkwo criticises Buhari for violence in South-East
General Overseer of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Bishop Mike Okonkwo, has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari, for his use of Military force in the South East, to curtail the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafar (IPOB).
Okonkwo, admitted that agitations will always happen, but insisted the solution was not resorting to violence.
The respected cleric also criticized Buhari’s advisers and queried the recent NNPC appointments, among other things.
He said: “We should not use violence to resolve our differences. Agitations like the one we have in the South-East will come but the solution is not moving armoured tanks there.
“Like I said, these are not the days you use force or instruments of government to intimidate people because there are those who are willing to die. We should go to the negotiation table to resolve naughty issues. Take for instance recent appointments in the NNPC, why will people not agitate? This is one of the issues that make people agitate. You can’t give 10 slots to the North, three to the South-West, two to the South-South and nothing to the East and you want them to sleep. And you want Nnamdi Kalu not to talk again.
“At times, I ask myself: who are the people giving advice to government? Why are they giving such advice? I just heard of a rail project being built from Kano to Daura. What is the economic benefit of that project? We can understand the one from Kaduna to Abuja…because people who live in Kaduna can commute to Abuja daily to work.
“But in this case, show me the economic benefit of spending such billions to develop a rail from Kano to Daura? The states that generate these funds, we don’t have roads that connect them, how much more airport. The Asaba airport was built by the state government, not the Federal Government. The states that generate the funds do not have airports, no roads and you want them not to agitate? What’s really wrong? Is somebody playing games with people’s minds? Such things are not acceptable.”