Dave Umahi, the current governor of Ebonyi state, shocked Biafrans few days ago. This was as a result of a viral news report, where the governor claimed that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) – which is the umbrella body of Biafrans agitating for a free independent state – has plans to kidnap him and other governors of the Southeast region.
The governor who also doubles as the Chairman South East governors’ forum reportedly made the claim while calling on the Nigerian Army to be neutral, apolitical, and avoid every form of interference into the upcoming 2019 general elections in the country. Meanwhile, the irony in the unfounded and baseless claim of the Fulani-enslaved governor is rather than what is alleged, the Biafrans have been and continued to be at the receiving end of kidnappings, enforced disappearances, and killings at the hands of the Nigerian Army, usually instigated by these so-called governors.
The army first went to Abiriba in Abia State to abduct a known IPOB member, Justice Udeh, in what eyewitness accounts described as “commando style” operation. Udeh, we gathered, was a gentle and peaceful Biafran who was not just happy with the way Biafrans are being treated in Nigeria. Biafra Writers’ investigation further revealed that information leading to the abduction of Ude was from the State Deputy Governor, Ude Oko Chukwu. Up till the time of going to press, the whereabouts of Ude is still unknown. To make matters worse, as IPOB leaders had said, he had not been brought to court, which is an abridgement of his rights and the legal requirements according to the Nigerian law.
The abuction of Ude was followed (much in the same pattern) by that of Emma Chigbo from Abakpa Nike, in Enugu, Enugu State. To many Biafrans who spoke on the matter, it was more like pouring salt to injury for Umahi and his fellow Nigerian governors in Biafraland to organize illegal abduction of Biafrans and then turn around to accuse them of “planning to kidnap them.”
John Ukachi (not his real name), who is a Biafran leader within Enugu metropolis, told our correspondent that Umahi and his fellow governors were just looking for excuses to justify their wicked plans against Biafra agitators who have remained resolute and refused to either compromise or give up their cause. He explained that they (the governors) were frightened. Part of his words read: “The fact is that these governors and their fellow Nigerian politicians operating in Biafraland are afraid that the truth will come to the knowledge of the world that Biafrans truly want out of Nigeria.
“You know we are campaigning for the boycott of the elections, and by the way IPOB has saturated the land with our massive and convincing campaigns, they are outraged and frightened. That is why they are inviting the Nigerian Army of occupation to come and massacre our people to submission so that our campaigns will stop. “Can you believe it, that people who call themselves our brothers have beckoned on foreigners to come to our land to abduct their people, kill them, and then concoct lies to cover their tracks? But that’s what is happening.”
Ukachi called on world leaders and people of conscience all over the world to consider the Umahi accusation from the backdrop of an IPOB that has never been violent all these years and has refused to denounce the struggle for an independent Biafra state. He added that one fact the world should not ignore is that IPOB has neither killed anybody nor destroyed anything – either belonging to government or individuals – since it burst into world’s consciousness.
However, looking at the issue from a different perspective, IPOB lawyer, Uche Ejiofor said what was happening was early manifestation of a grand design to rig the Nigerian election and divert attention from their inability or unwillingness to confront Boko Haram by the government. He said there was no justification for deploying the military in peaceful Biafra, while the police are sent to confront Boko Haram that has been ravaging the North.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media