It’s been 45 years since the civil war ended and everyone thought the word Biafra would never be mentioned again except in history books…but just like the confederate flag in the United states, the flag with half a yellow sun has reemerged.
We have more than our fair share of troubles in the north east…can we afford to fight on another front? How do we tackle this problem?
In spite of the warning by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase against the planned one million-man march for Biafra, over 10, 000 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Saturday, November 7, 2015 stormed Awka, the Anambra State capital in continuation of their peaceful protest over the detention of their leader Nnamdi Kanu.
The crowd that trekked from Asaba in Delta State, got into Awka around 6PM and according to the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ali Okechukwu, the march has been peaceful.
Mr. Okechukwu said the police and every other security agency in the state are at alert to ensure the situation does not degenerate into crisis and disturb the peace of the state.
In a strongly-worded statement on Friday, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, said that the protesters, from the south-eastern region, would be provoking the law if they do not stop such protests or call.
He particularly made reference to the planned ‘one-million march’ for the actualisation of Biafra, which he said was illegal and asked everyone not to participate.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, says enough is enough for the youths from the eastern part of Nigeria parading themselves as promoters of Biafra.
The IGP, who spoke to Channels Television earlier on Sunday, cautioned the youths against obstructing the peace of the land.
His warning is coming against the backdrop of massive protests for the actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra in Asaba, the Delta State’s capital, Awka, the capital of Anambra State and again in Enugu on Sunday.
Although there were earlier reports on Sunday that 125 pro-Biafra protesters were arrested, the police spokesman in Delta State, Celestina Kalu, said nobody was in the custody of the Police Command in Delta State.
It is the second time in two days that the police are issuing a warning to the group.
He said that anyone arrested in connection with the planned march would be appropriately dealt with.
Before the warning of the Inspector General of Police, hundreds of youths took to the street in Asaba, the capital of Delta State, blocking the major express way leading to the east.
At Summit Junction in Asaba, the group chanted war songs, calling for the restoration of Biafra and demanding the release of a certain Nnamdi Kalu who they claimed was in detention at the Department of State Security office.
At least two former Nigerian leaders have made comments on this developing situation … Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, recently dismissed threat of Nigeria’s unity as he also said that with Biafra it is finished
He said that Nigerians have put behind them the bad memories of the 1967 civil war, and that those behind these protests on Biafra don’t have an inkling what the Biafra war cost Nigerians.
He went further to say that those involved in this campaign were being driven by just a few people and that majority of the Igbo people do not share the same view.
‘It is only them, the few, that are there but the majority of the Igbo people that I know are not with them’
Acceding to the fact that the protesters have the right to express their feelings he stated “with Biafra it is finished”.
He said these people ‘let them say their views, yes it democracy but let s make sure they can express their wishes and desires but let them remember with Biafra it is finished. it is not a threat’
He further said that keeping Nigeria one was behind all that he did and not for hatred for the Igbo as that was what Odumegwu Ojukwu also stood for.
All I did is not a result of hatred against the Igbos but on the principle of keeping Nigeria one and this is all we are trying to do and that was why at the end of the war in other to see that there is no heard feeling we used the term no victor no vanquished
I have said if there is anything of this sort anywhere in any part of the country just like the problem of Boko Haram we should deal with it, Nigeria should deal with it in matured way .
On his part…Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described pro-Biafra agitators as miscreants who should be ignored.
According to Obasanjo, equating the agitations by pro-Biafra groups with the agitations that led to the Civil War amounted to making a mountain out of a molehill.
He said, “This is a fake agitation. You people make a mountain out of a molehill. These are boys who want to take people unaware and get money out of them in the name of Biafra. These are the people you should ignore, I don’t talk about Biafra. (Philip) Effiong came and said Biafra ceased to exist and since that day, Biafra has ceased to exist.”
It will be recalled that the Biafra leader as of the time the war ended, Philip Effiong, surrendered to Obasanjo by calling off the war.
Obasanjo said that in the spirit of “No victor, no vanquished,” the Nigerian nation absorbed Igbo people into the civil service and the military after the war, adding that there were no promises made to the then secessionists that the Nigerian state had not fulfilled.
He said, “We absorbed those we should absorb both into the civil service and into the military. Even those we didn’t absorb, who we initially regarded as being retired without benefits, later on we even gave them their benefits. Abandoned houses were returned. Within 10 years of the end of our Civil War, an Igbo man became the vice-president of our country.
“It took the Americans 100 years before they got to that point. So, what are you talking about? They have held all the ministerial positions existing in this country. We have Igbo as the Governor of Central Bank, Igbo has headed many parastatals in this country.