Angry reactions have started trailing the reported killing of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in Enugu.
All the respondents, who spoke to Vanguard in Owerri, were unanimous in their belief that the dead were first Ndigbo before being members of IPOB.
They also described the incident as “senseless and condemnable, especially as IPOB members are usually unarmed”.
Reacting, an Owerri based legal practitioner, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, said the wrong branding of the dead was deceptive and a diversionary tactic to simply write off the dead as IPOB members, instead of Ndigbo.
His words: “Forget IPOB. They are Ndigbo. It is completely deceptive and a diversionary tactic to simply write off the dead as IPOB members, instead of Ndigbo. Whoever takes the life of an IPOB member is taking the life of an Igbo and therefore will ultimately account to Ndigbo.”
According to the lawyer, “when I read about the senseless killing of unarmed innocents, who gathered in Enugu on August 23, 2020, in peaceable exercise of their constitutional rights, I quickly began to search the news to learn more and I learnt plenty, including particularly, the somewhat dismissive refrain that those killed are just IPOB members.”
While arguing that they might be IPOB members, Ejimakor, however, said: “Everybody in the former Eastern Nigeria, who disagrees with what has become Nigeria, is an IPOB member, overtly or covertly”.
“They don’t have to carry a registration card for you to be certain that they are IPOB members. All you need to do is to talk with them to convince yourself that they are IPOB members.
“An IPOB member is simply any Eastern Nigerian, especially the Igbo, who will rather have Biafra than a Nigeria that eats her children, especially her Igbo children. And they are in the millions.
“They are legion. Some are above ground. Some are in sleeper cells and they are not miscreants. They are the Igbo gentry, the elites, the masses, warts and all.
“The Igbo remains an Igbo for now and forever, alive or dead. Nobody can change that. No subliminal narrative of just IPOB can change that.”
Another IPOB loyalist, who simply identified himself as Chikerem, urged the security agencies to “stop branding people IPOB when they know that the killing and maiming unarmed Ndigbo”.
Chikerem also reasoned that those killed were Ndigbo before becoming IPOB members, adding that “it beats my imagination why the Nigerian government has disdain for Ndigbo, but relentlessly want to keep us in Nigeria”.
Answering a question, Chikerem said that there was no way anybody can detach IPOB members from Ndigbo, who are not terrorists but are treated and branded as such.
For Nkemdiri Osukaku, “Igbo life is precious, inalienable and the blood of an IPOB member is not less precious than that of any other Igbo man or woman”.
He appealed to the security agencies to face the dreaded Boko Haram, ISWAP and other deadly insurgents that are terrorizing the citizenry, instead of running after unarmed agitators of a free Biafra.