Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, addressed Biafrans amid the unfolding pandemic, coronavirus (COVID-19). It was the second time he had made a public address in the wake of the novel, disease outbreak.
In an emergency broadcast via Radio Biafra Thursday, Kanu beamed a ‘precautionary’ light on the evolving cataclysm following the global health crisis. He stated that the simplest, cheapest application to being healthy, uninfected of the COVID-19 disease, is to heed the preventive measures as prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO); in the lieu of combating the virus at the mercies of dilapidated, rickety health facilities and inept medical personnel, in that case, in Nigeria.
He expressed worries for Africa; primarily the people of Biafra. Kanu said, “The best thing to do is to take precautions, following every medical directive from the WHO, to avoid contracting this deadly infection as we do not have hospitals that can sustain the pressure that would come as a result of this very outbreak. Advanced countries like United Kingdom recorded 477 persons dead, still counting; including a 21-year old girl with no previous history of any medical condition. What would happen in places like Ajegunle, Aba, or Onitsha, should the virus escalates?”
“Latest scientific research defines the mode of contracting this very virus, through the nose, mouth, even through our bare hands. So, it is very important we stop traveling; enforce self-confinement. I know in terms of livelihood, in Nigeria, most people get their daily bread as they move or travel to their business places. We shall do something about that. But for now, halt every nonessential travels. Stop going to the markets; abide by the restrictions given to you.
Proffering remedial solutions in the face of the life-threatening menace, the IPOB leader willed ₦50 million, relief materials; said there will be food items made available to average citizens in Biafraland, that is, Old Eastern Nigeria; not excluding an upgrade of health care facilities.
“The Nigeria that some of you belong is an abject failure; there is no social welfare. Every civilised country in the world is feeding their people. Some of you may have heard the stimulus package announced in USA, UK, everywhere around the world; even today Japan also announced one. These are benefits of having an advanced economy. You can now see why we want Biafra. In Biafra, we would have had all these contingencies built into the fabric of society itself.
“I am directing IPOB family units in every hamlet, every street in Biafraland to be prepared. We shall open food, soup kitchens for our people. There are those that go out to sell their commodities before they could make income, put food on their table. If people are going to be confined at home, then we must make sure they do not die of starvation. We will do the best we can by the special grace of God in heaven.
Kanu added, “As IPOB, we are going to make sure that one hospital, to start with, is designated in every State capital of Biafraland; inclusive of Edo State, to be equipped with specialists. Every State should nominate one hospital that IPOB shall oversee its affairs, I am making sure every necessary medical equipment is provided to take care of those who are ill. There is a challenge of flying some equipment down home. USA is running short of ventilators; so is UK, and Spain. However, I understand Innoson Motors [Innocent Chukwuma] said they can build ventilators. Then we will speak to him about it, and see how much he would charge for that.
“Towards this pandemic, I am announcing a contingency fund of ₦50 million from IPOB that will go into making sure we have some hospitals ready. This is an ‘initial’ pledge from IPOB. We budgeted ₦300 million as we understand most of the nurses and doctors that will serve in that regards may not be paid. The Presidency is nowhere to be found; Abba Kyari has ‘run away’ with (Buhari) Jubril, the president. The Senate and House of Representatives have disappeared. So, there is nobody.”
The IPOB leader leader indicated that there must be a unification of purpose in order to achieve the conceived projects. He therefore said that the precarious situation bids everyone, including the State governors, to bury the hatchet.
“This is not the time for fury nor for rhetorics. This is the time to jettison and abandon any kind of misunderstanding, or disagreement. We must come together as a people to fight towards defeating this virus. Once we defeat the virus, then we go back to doing what we do. But right now, there is need for the coming together of our people; however, from all walks of life, so that the Biafran race could emerge from this very scourge or else disaster awaits.
“We need to translate all those things we say all the time about ‘love your neighbour’. We must now prove it. We may even have to feed those who are not IPOB in the process, but that is something we need to do.
“In the spirit of this newly found togetherness, I appeal to the governors to pay workers their salaries; even if it means paying from your security vault. I also appeal to private companies to pay workers as well, so that people will have what to feed their families. Those in-charge of electricity should at least ensure there is a semblance of constancy in terms of power supply; so that people could preserve their perishable food items.
Kanu concluded that, “The IPOB Head of Directorate of States, Chika Edoziem, will outline details and mode of operation regarding the all-important project, in our next broadcast come Saturday.”
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media