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Stop clampdown on pro-Biafra protesters, MASSOB, IPOB tell S-East, S-South Govs

As IPOB alleges starvation, harassment and intimidation of Kanu

Release him so that we can dialogue with him —Ogurushi Igbo

By Nwabueze Okonkwo & Ugochukwu Alaribe

ABA— Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has urged governors of the South East and South South states to join hands and stop the attack on pro- Biafra protesters by security agents in their states.

Leader of MASSOB, Chief Solomon Chukwu who stated this during the group’s sensitization visit to Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, described the killing of defenceless protesters as a crime against humanity and urged governors to speak up and stop playing politics with the lives of the people.

According to him, “The governors are the chief security officers of their states; they should not sit and watch while security agents kill defenceless protesters. It is  the right of the people to protest; they don’t bear arms, why would security agents turn their guns on the protesters who were holding a prayer session in Aba? It is all part of the plot to destabilize the former Eastern region. South East and South South governors should wake up and stop playing politics with the lives of their people. They should rise and take up the matter with the authorities. Enough is enough.”

S-South should stand with S-East

He urged the people of the S-South region to continue to stand with their S-East brothers to actualizate an independent state of Biafra, where they will find satisfaction and freedom to enjoy their resources.

Chukwu who later visited the residence of the late Deputy Head of State of the defunct Biafra Republic, Gen. Philip Effiong, commended the latter for the role he played in Biafra and MASSOB’s Regional Administrator, Uyo region, Obong Bassey Bassey,  for the massive mobilization of members in the city and environs, urging them to insist on the group’s non-violent approach to the struggle and insisting that Biafra would soon be actualized.

While commending the MASSOB leader for the visit, Bassey said: “Since the late Gen. Philip Effiong fought for Biafra with all his might, we will also join hands to fight for freedom. Nigeria has failed us, our only hope is Biafra. We believe in Biafra.”

Vanguard gathered that over 1000 people were registered as MASSOB members during the visit.

Allegations of  starvation, harassment and intimidation

However, in a new development, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has said that its detained leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu is being denied access to food and toiletries and has been subjected to serious intimidation and harassment by some prison officials in Kuje prison, warning that it will make Nigeria ungovernable if anything happens to him.

It condemned the inhuman treatment being meted to Mr Kanu, saying the attitude was meant to dampen his spirit and make him denounce Biafra, adding that the Kanu they know will never shift  grounds on his total commitment to the actualization of sovereign state of Biafra.

In a statement issued in Nnewi by the IPOB Media and Publicity officer, Mr Emma Powerful, IPOB said that  the inhuman treatment being meted to Kanu was meant to weaken his resolve as directed by the Federal Government agents who are now convinced that he will be set free by the court at the end of the day.

Powerful also berated those who are claiming that the Ijaw people are not part of Biafra, adding that the Ijaws are part of the Eastern region, “and nobody will ever change a people from what they are. The Ijaws are one people with one destiny with the Biarfan people of the South East.We are one family. The Igbo, Ijaw, Igala, Igbanke, Igede and others have one value system and nobody can change it.”

Also, the Ogurushi Igbo,  Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka has appealed to the Federal Government to without further delay, release Mr Kanu unconditionally so that the Igbo elders will have a chat with him on his group agitation for Biafra, adding that the agitation for Biafra will be more fierce if anything happens to him in prison.

“The agitation for the  sovereign state of Biafra will enter into a dangerous dimension if anything untoward happens to Mr Kanu  in prison. I do not think  that young man has done anything deserving of the suffering he is going through in prison. I do not think  that somebody without a gun or any dangerous weapon who is protesting in his own way the marginalization of his people and demanding that they be allowed to be on their own deserves to be  incarcerated this long.

“Boko Haram insurgents are being tried and released even in the face of killing people, but Kanu was not caught with arms, neither was he training any violent group. So on what basis should they continue to hold him? He is only saying that his people are marginalized and therefore should be allowed to have their own country. That has not called for the kind of trial he is going through. Which treason are they talking about? I advise the Federal Government to release him unconditionally,” he said.

“I am using this forum to appeal again to the Federal Government to release Mr. Kanu.  He must be counselled by the Igbo elders when he is released, and let us get things right, the young man is doing what he is doing because he discovered that his people are marginalized.As long as he did not train anybody to carry arms, he is a real Igbo man. Afterall, he did not stay in London where he has everything to enjoy. He has a genuine reason for his agitation and it must be looked into while the Igbo elders talk with him when he comes out,” he said

Allaying fears

Meantime, the leadership of a southeast-based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations, SBCHROs, yesterday, allayed fears that if Justice John Tshoho of the Federal High Court 3, Abuja Division is allowed to hear and determine the treasonable felony charge against the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, he may likely end up passing a death sentence on him like Justice Ibrahim Auta did to the leader of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni people, MOSOP, Ken Saro-Wiwa, based on the bias and hostile attitude he had so far shown in handling the matter.

Besides, the group said that  if allowed to conclude Kanu’s matter, Justice Tsoho might use the opportunity to please President Buhari so as to advance his ambition to be appointed the next Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, after the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta and his second-in-  command, Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati both of whom are expected to retire in 2017, based on the attainment of their statutory required age of 65 or 35 years of service.

Justice Tshoho and three options of handing off  the case

They therefore gave Justice Tshoho three options of handing off the case and its case file or be dragged before the National Judicial Council, NJC and  be made to face local and international advocacy campaigns.

In a press statement issued yesterday in Onitsha, Anambra state,SBCHROs however contended that on the other hand, for the purpose of fair hearing and the avoidance of doubt, they were offering him an opportunity to prove them wrong over the foregoing by showing the world that  he has nothing to do with the reported CJ ambition between now and 2017 and that he will henceforth change his hostile attitude and disposition towards Nnamdi Kanu and others in the case before his honourable court.

In the statement,  SBCHROs insisted that  if truly Justice Tshoho is gunning for the CJship position, then he should hands off the matter for obvious conflict of interest, including his compulsory disposition to do that which would please his potential appointing authority.

They therefore warned:  “We make bold to say that we shall resist unstoppably all attempts to sacrifice the lives and liberties of Nnamdi Kanu and others  for selfish interests such as CJ ambition powered by sheer act of puppetry and politico-judicial leprosy.”

They maintained that the widely condemned way in which Justice Tsoho has handled Kanu’s case so far may most likely be connected with the ambition as per who becomes the next Chief Judge of the Federal High Court when the current CJ, Auta leaves office in 2017.


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