Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, declared yesterday Monday 8th June 2020 that every kobo contributed by members of the group worldwide was being invested into “dismantling Nigeria and restoring the state of Biafra.”
Mazi Kanu was responding to an allegation by the presidency on Sunday that the groups he leads were using Christianity and Igbos to ignite war in Nigeria.
In a personally signed statement issued through Comrade Emma Powerful, the Media and Publicity Secretary, Kanu said: “Every dime the indomitable IPOB family worldwide contributes towards our liberation goes towards the dismantling of Nigeria and the restoration of Biafra. I mean every dime.”
Insisting he has no ulterior motive, he noted: “I Mazi Nnamdi Kanu have no mansion. I have no car. I have no hotel. I have no University. I have no government contract. I don’t lie. I don’t cheat. I don’t steal. All I have is the grace of Chukwu Okike Abiama (Almighty God) to do His will, which is to restore Biafra in truth and honesty.
“Once again, the Nigerian government has inadvertently confirmed that we spend big on our diplomatic offensive. We have destroyed Nigeria, and by the time we are done with them, the name, Nigeria will cease to exist.”
Kanu said the growing campaign for Biafra had become a thorn in the flesh of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, hence the internationalization of the agitation.
He alleged that since 2015, thousands of IPOB members had met their death through extrajudicial killings by Nigerian security agencies. According to him, many others have also been arrested and imprisoned without bail or trial by agents of the administration.
Members of the group have been reacting to the statement from the presidency. While some described it as a ploy for another manhunt against members, others said it showed the government was already jittery, knowing that the group’s cause had gained global attention and that help was on the way.
One member, Chief Ikechi Agu, alleged: “There is a ploy to hound more members of our group into prison. That is why they are raising the issue. We all know that what we have done so far is through diplomacy and not violence. If the government is sincere, let it deny that security forces are not killing Ndigbo. Let it deny that we are not marginalized. Let it deny that there is no justice, equity, and fairness in the country, especially since Buhari assumed power.”
Reacting, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said Kanu’s claims, which “is the right to self-determination, is guaranteed in the laws and constitution of the land.”
Deputy National Publicity Secretary Mazi Chuks Ibegbu said: “IPOB is not using any violence and we are still in Nigeria, and we have to be law-abiding citizens. But be that as it may, the government is advised to ascertain the truism or veracity of their claim, so as not to embark on any action that could endanger a particular section of the country.
“Ohanaeze is still committed to the restructuring of Nigeria, to give us an equal sense of belonging. Kanu is talking about self-determination. How he goes about it without insulting anybody is not bad. And since the group he leads is not violent, I don’t see anything bad with it.”
On fears that the president’s statement might pave the way for an attack on the region and on members of the group, Ibegu said: “There is nothing you cannot consider a possibility because of past experiences. But we are warning against any act of terror being unleashed on Igboland. We will resist it. If the Federal Government has issues with Kanu, it should follow due process, devoid of violence. No killing. No intimidation. But let common sense prevail. We will resist any attempt to cause chaos in Igboland.”
A face-off between the presidency and IPOB had died down after the government proscribed the group, declaring it “a terrorist organization,” and after Kanu had fled the country, alleging a plot against his life.