By Emeka Mamah, Clifford Ndujihe, Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli & Dennis Agbo
IGBO leaders, who were attacked by youths suspected to be members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and other pro-Biafra agitation groups in a meeting in Enugu on Tuesday have reeled out gory tales of how they nearly lost their lives during the commotion.
Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILT, and former director-general of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Prof Elochukwu Amucheazi, said he nearly lost his life during fracas.
A group of youths suspected to be members of IPOB and other pro –Biafra groups disrupted the event which was meant to honour some notable Igbo, including the first republic president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi and late Chief Sam Mbakwe, among others.
Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB however, issued a statement yesterday, denying involvement in the attack.
Amucheazi told Vanguard on the telephone that, although his red cap, eye glasses and mobile telephone which were forcefully taken away from him were immediately returned, he was still in shock over the attack.
He said: “I was there to see Prof Nwabueze, as I didn’t even know about the awards or that anybody would be honoured.
“Before much was said, they started shouting and started throwing sachet (pure) water at me. They wanted to destroy my car. We were cautioning them to listen to the elders so that they would learn from them, but they refused to listen.
“However, some of the boys who didn’t like what happened or the way I was treated, cautioned their colleagues; collected my red cap, eye glasses and my telephone and returned them to me.”
FG must address South East grievances
He, however, asked the Federal Government to address the myriad of grievances in the the country to reduce youth restiveness in the land.
“There is a lot of anger in the land. Majority of Nigerians are suffering and the government of the day has to address the issues involved. This idea of treating some people or the Igbo as a conquered people will not be allowed to go on forever.
“My advice is that the government should address the grievances in the land. The idea of treating Igbo as a conquered people will not be allowed to go on forever. The fact that Nnamdi Kanu was subdued does not mean that another Nnamdi Kanu will not emerge again,” he added.
IPOB not applying right method– Maria Okwor
Also giving account of what happened, Deputy leader of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, Chief Mrs Maria Okwor said that the young members of the Indigenous People of Biafra were not applying the appropriate method pursuant of their agitation for a separatist country.
She said that IPOB and other Pro-Biafra groups should accept restructuring Nigeria for now, noting that if the country is restructured, it would be easier to realise the autonomous country as being agitated by the groups.
Okwor who was reacting to the disruption of ECA meeting in Enugu on Tuesday observed that the Dr Dozie Ikedife-led Biafra agitation group was going about the quest legally and asked the younger agitators to take it easy.
She however asked President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to voice of the angry Nigerians and devise a means of assuaging the monumental anger in the country.
“Nobody is happy, we are all dissatisfied. Look at the security hierarchy, there is no Igbo there. They said they have defeated Boko Haram but they are still there. I sympathise with these youths and their lives no longer mean anything to them.
Incident was unfortunate—Mbazulike Amaechi
Reacting to the incident, First Republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi yesterday described as unfortunate, the disruption of the event of the Igbo leaders in Enugu, advising those who had any reason to protest against any perceived injustice meted out to them to always adopt peaceful means in fighting their cause.
“After my address, I was honoured before I left and there was no objection or murmur from the crowd. As I was going, I saw a lot of buses heading towards the venue. It was in the Vanguard Newspaper that I read that there was disruption.
“Our people should not forget what Zik did for the country. With him as our leader, we confronted the colonial masters and chased them away and took over government. If not what we did, Nigeria would not have got her independence at the time she did,” he said.
It was also gathered that the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB had apologised to the leaders of the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, over the disruption of their programme in Enugu.
Reliable sources told Vanguard yesterday, IPOB leaders made separate telephone calls to the convener of the ECA meeting where the issue of restructuring of the country was to be discussed, with the awards to prominent eastern leaders as highlight of the occasion.
“They felt bad that people like Prof Nwabueze, Maria Okwor and Ugochukwu- Uko, who had been giving them advice on how to go about their agitations in a peaceful manner were embarrassed.