•Says some wicked politicians working against Kanu’s release
•Anglican bishops condemn charges against Kanu
•Anambra adopts Saturday as school day
•Abia transporters seek palliatives from govt
•Igbo lawyers apply to join suit seeking exit of S-East from Nigeria
By Vincent Ujumadu, Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Steve Oko
The family of the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has declared that the resolution of the growing agitation for Biafra can only come through negotiations and not by the use of force against the agitators.
The family spoke as Anglican Bishops in the Church of Nigeria, Province of the Niger, have condemned the amended charges against the IPOB leader.
This is even as the Anambra State government has adopted Saturdays for normal school days following the weekly sit –at-home on Mondays declared by the IPOB.
Prince Emmanuel Kanu who spoke in a media interview urged the federal government to release the IPOB leader and engage him in dialogue, arguing that the issues he raised are germane.
His words:” Nnamdi Kanu is only asking for three things – justice, equity and fairness. You can’t achieve peace with guns and bullets. It’s impossible!
” Dialogue is the only way out. We are Biafrans. You can’t take that away from us. Nnamdi Kanu is the face of the agitation because the issues he is raising are genuine.
“People are no longer happy. The only person they can listen to is Nnamdi Kanu. If they are telling you to release him so that they can stop what they are doing, why can’t you harken to the voice of the people?What I want is fairness, equity and justice. If Biafra will bring me that, that’s what I stand for. But make no mistakes, where my brother stands, that is where I stand!”
According to Kanu’s family, some selfish politicians who see the IPOB Leader as a threat want him to be held perpetually behind bars.
“Some of the politicians are not being truthful to the powers in Abuja. They are working hard to make sure Nnamdi Kanu is not released. So, what is playing out is that those who were benefiting from what was happening before now are the people selling the wrong narrative about Nnamdi Kanu.”
He said that contrary to blackmails in some quarters, the Eastern Security Network, ESN, established by Kanu was inuagurated to contain attacks by killer herdsmen and bandits. ESN is designed to remain in our bushes and protect our farm lands and boundaries against invading terrorsists. That’s why ESN was established.”
Kanu’s family further said that some fifth columnists are behind the insecurity in the South East in their desperation to implicate IPOB.
” How about what happened in Owerri where a police officer shot a security personnel thinking he was an unknown gunman? How do you reconcile that?
“We play very dirty politics in Nigeria. You see a political party killing members of another political party and at the end of the day, they tag in on IPOB. But we are not buying into that.”
The family also said that IPOB founded by Kanu remains a non violent movement seeking the restoration of Biafra contrary to blackmails by those against the movement.
“When you want to hang a dog, you give it a bad name. IPOB is not a violent group but a peaceful movement.
” When people choose to stay at home and some others take a walk to their business centres, what happens is that one or two politicians will send people to go and kill them and tag it on IPOB.”
Anglican bishops condemn charges against Kanu
The Bishops who spoke durning the Anglican Prayer Rally in Anambra State, APRAS, through Bishop of Niger West, Rt. Rev. Johnson Ekwe, also told the federal government to address the problems of system failure, marginalization, insecurity, maladministration, discrimination and unemployment which are fueling agitations in the country.
They urged the federal government to instead of bringing trumped up charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi in order to convict him, they should hear him out and dialogue with him and his group to ensure a lasting peace.
“Nnamdi Kanu did not commit the offences being levelled against him. He is just being framed up because he is trying to liberate his people from marginalization, discrimination, insecurity caused by invasion of their land, unemployment and maladministration by the government. The government should dialogue with him and his group to ensure a lasting peace.
The Province of the Niger Bishops in the sermon entitled “This nonsense must stop, time to know the strong and the courageous”, said that South East needs men like Gideon in the Bible as leaders, men who seek God’s face and receive authority from God and who will take care of God’s people without prejudice.”
The prayer rally which held in Awka, the Anambra State capital, also warned promoters of insecurity in the South East to retrace their steps before they are visited with the wrath of God.
They noted that this year has been a pregnant year in the South East and Anambra State in particular but that it will deliver a good child in Anambra State and the entire South East will return to the peaceful situation it has been known for.
Condemning what they called “satanic denominational politics” going on in Anambra, the Bishops said that the promoters of the ugly trend have only succeeded in promoting hatred and retarding the growth of the state, urging other South East states not to emulate such discriminatory politics.
They expressed shock over the discriminatory politics in the state and called on political and religious leaderships to cultivate the spirit of inclusiveness and not denominational differences in the politics of the South East.
“What I have seen in Anambra today is scandalous and anomalous, and that nonsense must stop for the state to develop. The state cannot develop with that kind of satanic denominational politics.
“What Anambra State needs most now is not leadership of any particular denomination but leadership that seeks the face of God first in all dealings for guidance and working for the people.”
The Anglican Bishops who attended APRAS rally were Archbishop Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Alex Ibezim; Bishop of Aguata Diocese, Rt. Rev. Samuel Ezeofor; Bishop of Amichi Diocese , Rt Rev. Ephraim Ikeakor; Bishop of Ogbaru Diocese, Rt. Rev. Prosper Ameh; Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Rt. Rev. Ndubuisi Obi; and Bishop of Mbamili Diocese, Rt. Rev. Obiora Uzochukwu.
Dignitaries that attended the prayer rally were Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, APGA candidate; Senator Andy Uba, APC candidate; Dr Cosmas Maduka, Accord Party candidate; while Chief Ben Etiaba of Action Alliance, sent a representative.
Anambra adopts Saturday as school day
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C Don Adinuba, who spoke with Vanguard on the new development, explained that it was to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers as well as all the stakeholders.
He said: “We want our pupils to learn as much as possible in a safe environment. With the new measure we have taken, all the stakeholders are winners. These stakeholders are the pupils, teachers, school administrators, proprietors, parents, guardians and the host communities.
“With this, nobody loses anything for the time being. We hope that in the next few weeks, things will normalize. With the Saturday school, people who depend on sales in the schools to feed their families will still make up for the loss of Monday as they will still be providing services in the schools five days in a week”
According to the Commissioner, Anambra teachers have already adjusted to the new measure as they believe it is a worthy sacrifice they have to make in the interest of education growth in the state.
He added: “If we insist on going to school on Mondays under the present situation, the pupils and teachers might be harassed which is what we do not want. You will recall an incident when an Anglican priest was killed because he allowed students to write exam on a Monday while the motorcycles belonging to teachers were set ablaze by attackers.
“There is therefore the need to safeguard the life of everyone in the state. To us, this Saturday arrangement is a brilliant idea and it is the best alternative we have for now.”
Abia transporters to seek palliatives
Similarly, transporters in Abia State have appealed to the enforcers of the weekly sit-at-home order in the South East to give them palliatives to cushion the effects of the lockdown.
Those who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Correspondent in Umuahia, the state capital, yesterday, said the development was making things difficult for them.
They complained that the transport sector was the worst hit by the directive as their vehicles were usually attacked or vandalised, while passengers on the other hand hardly come out of their homes for fear of attacks.
Residents expressed worry that the weekly exercise would cripple the socio-economic activities in the region known for commerce and trade.
Henry Okezie, Chairman, Abia State Drivers’ Welfare Union, said the exercise had dealt a deadly blow on the transport sector.
He said: “This frequent sit-at-home is really affecting us because we can’t operate if we don’t see passengers.
“Most of our members have their vehicles on a hire purchase which means that we must work every day to meet the target.
“We are appealing to the enforcers of this exercise to give us some palliatives in order to cushion the effect.
“We have over 200 members at this Isigate Park in Umuahia whose buses are operating on Umuahia-Ikwuano and Umuahia-Ubakala routes.
“Each of us make a minimum of N10,000 daily. So any day we don’t work, we lose over N2 million on the average.”
Okezie said they would continue to comply with the directive because “some of our vehicles got damaged while some passengers were injured the other time we flouted it.”
Kingsley Chijindu, a driver on Umuahia-Aba route said the passengers were still very much afraid to come out in spite of the suspension of the Monday exercise.“
Igbo lawyers apply to join suit seeking exit of S-East from Nigeria
Meantime, the Association of Igbo lawyers has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja with an application to be joined as a party in a suit some Northern elders filed for exit of the South East region from Nigeria.
The Plaintiffs, Nastura Ashir Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’I, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam, had in their suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021, maintained that the National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to set in motion a framework for a referendum to allow the South-eastern region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to decide on their bid for self-determination.
Cited as 1st to 4th Defendants in the suit are Attorney General of the Federation, AGF; the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Asembly.
Specifically, the Plaintiffs, are seeking three principal reliefs from the court among which include: “A declaration that in view of the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 4, 14 and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, the 2nd and 3rd defendants (the Senate President and House of Reps Speaker) have the power to call for a joint session of both Chambers of the 4th defendant to deliberate on the agitation for self-determination by the southeastern states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As well as, “An order directing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to provide a framework that will pave the way for the self-determination of the South-eastern states so as to leave the geographical entity called Nigeria before any further step is taken to further amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
They claimed that their action was based on the need to end violence and destruction allegedly occasioned by the agitation for secession, championed by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
“Even before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, there was a group at the south-eastern part of Nigeria known as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) under the leadership of one, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike.
“The main objective of the group mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph is also the creation of the Independent State of Biafra, away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Long before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, there was a move by the people of the south-eastern part of Nigeria formerly Eastern Region led by the late Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The secession attempt by the people of the then Eastern Region under the leadership of the late Col. Ojukwu was directly responsible for the first Nigerian Civil War between 1967 and 1970. The said civil war had claimed many innocent lives from both sides of the divide as well as the destruction of properties worth billions of naira which was detrimental to the growth and development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The lessons of the civil war have faded in the minds of many Nigerians and a repeat of the carnage of the civil war is not necessary, going forward. The IPOB’s agitation for self-determination has turned violent against both the people of the south-east who are against their agitations and other Nigerians carrying out their lawful businesses within the south-eastern states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The IPOB through its militant arm — Eastern Security Network, ESN, is responsible for the killings, expulsions and destruction of properties of other Nigerians not belonging to the Igbo tribe. Resolving, with finality, the existential question of self-determination of any part of Nigeria is now more urgent, imperative and prevails over and above the issue of amending the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”