March 2, 2016

BIAFRA: Pope Francis urges dialogue, negotiation

BIAFRA: Pope Francis urges dialogue, negotiation

Pope Francis

*Cautions Nigerian government on repentance

*As MASSOB accuses FG of plan to deport agitators

By Clifford Ndujihe & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

NNEWI—The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, yesterday, released the text of the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis address to thousands of IPOB members who gathered last Sunday at the Vatican City for the weekly Angelus, saying the Pope has cautioned their oppressors, the Nigerian government and its military and their agents to repent and stop killing Biafra agitators or face the wrath of God that will be catastrophic.

The text of the Catholic Pontiff address which was made available to Vanguard by the IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, Mr. Emma Powerful, disclosed that the Pope advised the Biafra agitators and the crowd that gathered at St Peter’s Square from the balcony of the Apostolic Palace to be patient in all they are doing, that God’s patience towards their oppressors is without limit but the time to end their oppression is now.

Newly elected Pope Francis I, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Pope Francis I

IPOB quoted the Pontiff to have said that “it is never too late to convert an oppressor to change from his evil activities, including murderous activities, but it is urgent, it is now, let them begin today to change from their oppression and killing of innocent people through all sorts of violent means, including the jack boot of the military.”

According to the pro Biafra group, the Pope spoke on “invincible patience,” explaining how God’s “unyielding concern for sinners” should provoke patience in us, asking if we have thought of God’s patience.

“Have you thought of His unyielding concern for sinners, how this should provoke patience among people, including governments, instead of killing people on slightest provocation or no provocation at all, let alone people who are protesting against unfair treatments or for something they feel is their right?”

IPOB said the Pope told them that God does not permit tragedies to punish sins but rather, that Jesus uses warnings that sinners will perish if they do not repent, adding that if the oppressors of peaceful agitators like the Biafra agitators in Nigeria fail to repent, the wrath of God will be catastrophic against them.

The Pontiff according to IPOB, welcomed the need to firmly and unreservedly focus on negotiations and dialogue between governments and agitators all over the world including    Biafra agitators and the government of Nigeria, like it was done in Syria which has brought the current ceasefire in the country, involving government and rebel forces.

“I invite all to pray so that this window of opportunity can give relief to the suffering people and agitators and encourage the necessary humanitarian aid, and open the way to dialogue and much desired peace” he said.

Planned deportation
In another development, the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has condemned the plan by the Norwegian government to illegally deport Lotachukwu Okolie, the detained leader of pro Biafra agitators in Norway and his counterpart Onyedikachi Ani, also detained, who is married to a Norwegian and has a child with her, and other Biafra activists in the country.

According to a statement by the leader of MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu, a plan is allegedly being hatched to deal with Biafra agitating groups.

The statement read: “Norway and Nigeria have already perfected plans of deporting them through chartered cargo airplane from Belgium, to transport them to Lagos on  March 9, 2016. The information we have is that the Norwegian government have struck a deal with Nigerian Immigrations Service, in Lagos to accept all the deportees and bypass the embassy which knows about their pro Biafra activities but cooked up lies against them and consider them threat to Nigeria security, which means they will be eliminated on arrival.

No to falsehood
Worried by all the rumours making the rounds on the issue of Biafra, the umbrella body of Igbo Socio-Cultural organisations, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has denied meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on agitation for Republic of Biafra and warned proponents of Radio Biafra to desist from airing falsehood because ‘’he who goes to equity must come with clean hands.’’

The apex Igbo group gave the warning following Radio Biafra reports that Ohanaeze had aborted the actualisation of Biafra as a country, that some white people from America held a meeting with Ndigbo through Ohanaeze with the intent of delivering a United Nation’s Certificate of Recognition and Independence of the Republic of Biafra.

Describing the claims as a ruse, Ohanaeze Secretary General, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, in a statement, said the reports were distortions of the visit of the new United States Consul-General in Nigeria, John Bray and his team to the South-East, during which they had a meeting with Ohanaeze at Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu.

Noting that the visit was part of Bray’s familiarisation tour of the country, Nwaorgu said the consul-general ‘’had meetings with the governors in the various states and in Enugu, the headquarters of Ohanaeze, he had a meeting with us on Igbo perception of Nigeria.”

This meeting is what has been distorted to be ‘some white men from America came to give Biafrans independence. Of course, this cannot be the process of granting anybody independence.’’

Insisting that Ohanaeze Youth Leader, Mr. Ikechukwu Isiguzoro, was not at the meeting contrary to reports and that Ohanaeze has never had any meeting with President Buhari on Biafra, the group restated its call for the unconditional release of detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr Nnamdi Kanu.

While appealing to Igbo youths to be analytical in their utterances and cautious in their actions, Nwaorgu urged the Radio Biafra people to investigate their stories before airing, adding that ‘’the US Consul-General had been to other zones of the country before arriving the South-East and thir youth never misread the visit.’’