WORRIED by the increasing and dangerous dimension that the pro-Republic of Biafra protests are assuming, the umbrella body of Igbo socio-cultural organizations, Ohanaeze Ndigbo will meet with leaders of the protesting groups soon.
A leader of the Ohanaeze told Vanguard, yesterday, that an all-inclusive meeting is being worked out, adding that the meeting would be a follow-up to the one being organized by South-East governors.
The South East governors’ meeting, Vanguard gathered, will now hold in Enugu, the regional headquarters of the zone, on Friday, and not in Owerri as earlier permuted.
For about two weeks, members and supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and a faction of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, have been protesting in several cities of the South East and South-South geo-political zones over the continued detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra, by the Federal Government.
Indeed, pro-Biafra protesters, yesterday, again disrupted economic life in several parts of Port Harcourt and adjoining local councils in Rivers State as they continued their protest.
This is as Second Republic politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu, who called for the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu, said Igbo leaders are unanimous on the call for urgent restructuring of the country.
Protest in Port Harcourt…
The Rumuola portion of the ever busy Aba Road was shut down by the protesters as their activities disrupted free flow of traffic for several hours.
Adjoining roads were also affected as motorists had hectic time on long queues for hours.
The protesters, who stormed the streets under the aegis of IPOB, reportedly broke into about four groups with each chanting pro-Biafra songs.
Residents said one of the groups was around Rumuokwuta area of Ikwerre Road while the others were spread along Aba Road down to Obigbo local council.
The protesters had been carrying on in the state since Saturday, demanding the release of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
Activist wants IGP to effect mass transfer of policemen in Aba
Meawhile, Convener of Save Aba Group, St. Moses Ogbonna has called on the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to effect a massive transfer of policemen serving in Aba, Abia State over the closure of markets in the city by IPOB, on Monday.
Ogbonna, in a chat with Vanguard in Aba, said the Police in the city failed in their duties to protect lives and properties by allowing protesters to shut down markets which caused untold hardship to residents.
‘’Police terrorize residents including mounting of road blocks and checkpoints against the directive of the IGP as exemplified with what is happening at the Ogbor Hill Waterside Bridge and several locations on the old Aba – Umuahia highway,” he said, and hoped that the transfers would inject new blood in the system with fresh ideas to fight insecurity in the city.
Opportunity to restructure Nigeria –Ohanaeze youth
The youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use the opportunity of the protests embarked by members of IPOB to address injustice meted out on Ndigbo and restructure the country.
National President of the group, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, who stated this in an interview with journalists in Aba, said Buhari would write his name in gold, if he frees Nnamdi Kanu, dialogue with Ndigbo and address their grievances.
“We advise that this is the time for President Buhari to do the needful and release Nnamdi Kanu. We make bold to warn that Nigeria is treading a dangerous path, which must be halted without further delay. Ohanaeze is appealing to IPOB to cease further protest to give room for dialogue. Having brought attention to the marginalization and untold hardship caused by several years of neglect, they should sheathe their swords.
“We call on the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the South East to wade in. We know President Buhari as a man of honour and conscience, who would give ears to the grievances of the group. All hands should be on deck to stop this raging fire,” he said
Isiguzoro continued: “Let President Buhari emulate the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s magic in resolving the militancy problem in the Niger Delta. If President Buhari can free Nnamdi Kanu, start rehabilitating federal roads and the Second Niger Bridge in the South East, accommodate more Igbo people and allay their fears that they are endangered species in Nigeria, the yearnings of the Ndigbo would have been met.’’
….Igbo leaders united on restructuring of Nigeria
Speaking on the protests, Ikokwu said restructuring the country and implementing the 2014 National Conference report will go a long way in ending the protests because apart from Igbo leaders, the South-South, North-Central and South-West zones are in a favour of restructuring Nigeria.
His words: ‘’The founding fathers of our nation’s two protectorates of the North and the South preferred the chant of “unity in diversity.” They opted for a federal rather than a unitary structure politically. They were such leaders as Engr. Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Mr. Herbert Endeley, Chief Dennis Osadebe, Dr. Michael Opara, Mallam Aminu Kano, Hon. J. S. Tarka, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim and many other notable leaders.
‘’Most of the above leaders made innumerable sacrifices for Nigeria to remain united as one country, but events of the past 55 years had left Nigeria depleted of its vital economic potential, political will, aggravated poverty, malnourished populace, high level illiteracy and Almajirism, hypocritical leadership, abject colonial mentality and inferiority complex;, religious fanaticism, criminal tendencies, drug abuse, anti-social behaviours and the myopic anti-national and anti-development strategies.
‘’Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, former military governor of Imo and Lagos states (and a notable pro-democracy activist) stated thus at a public lecture: ‘…only someone foolish would have failed to realize that no matter the time spent on travelling on a wrong road, and the distance covered along this road, the only remedy is to turn back and begin on the right road. Otherwise, the intended destination will never be achieved…’
‘’It was the result of the activities of the various pressure groups from the South and Middle Belt and in some parts of the upper North that led the last President, Goodluck Jonathan to convoke a National Conference in 2014 aimed at finding acceptable formula for our constitutional amendments and restructuring.
The report of this confab was endorsed by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, and handed over to our new President Buhari and the 7th Senate President David Mark for an exercise that will boost our development stride and ensure more justice, equity and development. It is necessary at this point of the increase of the call of true federalism and proper fiscal federalism, to implement it.
‘’Within the last three months, our South East and South South geo political zones have witnessed our youths strategizing their own ways for a restructured Nigeria and some of their engaging techniques have become technological aparati. Such an incidence is that of the so called radio Biafra which some Nigerian authorities have resorted to very strong measures of suppression. In some cases, people have threatened such digital engagements as treasonable.
‘’In the North-East, the Boko Haram insurgency has made government and a lot of people to bring $3billion for the rescue, restoration and repair of property destroyed. In the South-East and parts of South-South, after the civil war, which claimed about three million lives, there has been no reparation and rebuilding. The Igbo apex body claims they are owed over N3 trillion in reparation. The non-creation of an additional state in the South East since 10 years now has cost them over N1 trillion revenue from the federal coffers!
‘’We will find that the Afenifere, Ohanaze Ndigbo, Ijaw National Conference, Middle Belt socio cultural pressure groups, even the far North social cultural pressure groups have a lot in common in their effort and to bring about justice, equity and more developmental strides across the nation”.