Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has pulled out of the already existing peaceful dialogue between his group, IPOB, and the South-East Governors’ Forum aimed at ensuring a peaceful resolution to the Biafra agitation, alleging that soldiers have been stationed in Enugu to assassinate him on his way to the meeting.
The dialogue which had begun on a positive note on August 30 , 2017, and leading to Kanu reaching an understanding with the governors’ forum led by renowned constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze and the Secretary General, Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, Evangelist Elliott Ugochukwu-Ukoh, however, seem to have hit the rocks following Kanu’s announcement that IPOB will not attend a meeting earlier scheduled with the forum this Friday or any other meeting whatsoever until, according to him, the atmosphere becomes safe.
Kanu however said that his group would review the non-violent approach it had maintained in its struggle for self actualisation of Biafra because its members need to defend itself in the face of “relentless murderous attacks from the Nigerian state.”
Kanu, in a statement on Wednesday, gave other reasons for IPOB’s withdrawal from the billed dialogue meeting to include that IPOB is currently burying its slain members whom he said were killed during Tuesday and last week Sunday’s clash between IPOB members and the army in Umuahia, Abia state.
Recall that the Nigerian army had deployed troops to the five south-eastern states of Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Abia on a military exercise it termed Operation Egwu Eke II or Operation Python Dance II. The army had given reasons for the exercise to include what it termed taming kidnappings, violent agitations and maintaining Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
But just days before the exercise would commence fully, the soldiers were reported to have invaded the home of Kanu in Umuahia, Abia state while IPOB members barricaded the street leading to Kanu’s home. The development quickly turned sour as IPOB claimed its members were shot and killed while the military said it was the IPOB youths that attacked them.
Tension in Abia became even more heightened on Tuesday when another clash erupted, leading to the declaration of curfew in the commercial city of Aba by the governor Ikpeazu-led state government.
“Before now, prominent leaders and groups had insisted that I tow the line of peaceful dialogue and meet with the governors to find a lasting solution to our grievances. I conceded to that request which led to the 30th of August 2017 meeting with the South-East Governors Forum at the Government House in Enugu, in the company of the very eminent Prof. Ben Nwabueze and Evangelist Elliott Ugochukwu-Ukoh.
“In view of the concerted effort by the oppressive Nigerian state to shatter the peace and tranquility of the South-East and the rest of Biafraland through military intimidation, it has become necessary for me to clarify why, regrettably, I may not be able to attend Friday’s meeting with the South-East governors as earlier agreed, for three main reasons.
“1. We are currently busy attending to our dead and injured from this latest round of unprovoked military onslaught against innocent civilians in our own land. All the casualties so far were shot by men of the Nigerian Army deployed to my house and those stationed along motor ways leading into Umuahia my hometown.
“2. I have been reliably informed also, that a detachment of this same soldiers responsible for the murder of innocent unarmed IPOB family members have now been stationed near Enugu to ambush and assassinate me on my way to the meeting with the governors on Friday.
“3. On that same Friday the 15th of September 2017, the leadership of IPOB through the instrumentality of the Directorate of State (DOS) headquartered in Germany, will be meeting to vote on the viability or otherwise of continuing our struggle in this non-violent manner. There is urgent need to begin the process of defending ourselves in the face of relentless murderous attacks from the Nigerian state.
“It is impossible to engage in any meaningful conversation with the governors in the midst of so much bloodshed, abductions and military siege of our town and villages. Accordingly, we will not engage in any meeting with anybody until the atmosphere is conducive and peaceful enough to allow for such.
“The siren-blaring military convoys and armoured vehicles occupying the entire region is not only designed to intimidate our people but also deliberately primed to scuttle the IPOB/South-East governors meeting of Friday 15th September.
“I would like to use this opportunity to thank all men and women of good conscience from all over the world that have risen to condemn the barbaric slaughter of innocent Biafrans by the Nigerian military. Above all, I salute the steadfastness, devotion and total commitment to freedom from eternal slavery by the great IPOB family in Biafraland. I assure you that I remain resolute and dedicated to our shared vision of freedom regardless of the cost and visionless antics of the mindless oppressor.
“We have since crossed the Red Sea and arrived at the shores of the promised land. We have our trumpets ready to begin the great march around the evil walls of Jericho, and I assure you that in no distant time, the walls of Jericho will come crashing down.
“We can still hear the cries of Pharaoh and his horsemen as they are swallowed up by the Red Sea, chariots and all. Victory is ours! Victory is assured!!
“Collaborators and agents of the oppressor are hereby advised to embark on self exile as there will be no hiding place for them.”
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