Editorial

June 6, 2024

Biafra Day killings in Aba

Nnamdi Kanu: IPOB reiterates no sit-at-home today, Wednesday, Thursday

Five personnel of the Nigerian Army manning a checkpoint at Obikabia Junction in Ogbor Hill, Aba, Abia State, were murdered in cold blood by cowardly militants on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

They were on duty to secure peaceful and law-abiding citizens amidst a “sit-at-home” order called by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to honour Igbo people who died during the Nigerian Civil war. The defunct Republic of Biafra was declared on May 30, 1967 by the late Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Military Governor of the defunct Eastern Region, an act that precipitated the war which eventually led to the restoration of Nigeria as one entity. 

Coming barely two months after the massacre of 17 officers and men of the Nigerian Army who were supposedly on a peace mission to Okuama in Ughelli South LGA of Delta State, we find the continued targeting of our military, police and security personnel on official duty by criminal elements very disturbing and unacceptable.

It is only in countries close to a state of anarchy that people brazenly kill the same security personnel who voluntarily risk their lives to defend and protect the state and the citizens. Unlike the Okuama, Zaki-Biam, Odi and other flash-in-the-pan incidents of solider killings, the Aba incident is more deeply troubling because it represents the suppuration of an old unsolved history of Nigeria.

We have continued to postpone the inevitable task of addressing the issues that brought Biafra back into the news in Nigeria after its comprehensive defeat by the Federal forces over 54 years ago. Despite General Yakubu Gowon’s “No victor, No Vanquished” declaration when he received the instruments of surrender by a delegation of the secessionist regime led by General Philip Effiong, the Igbo nation has continued to complain of strategic “exclusion” in their own country, Nigeria.

Over the years, the complaints of “marginalisation” led to the formation of several pro-Biafra groups, street protests and the formation of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, which, IPOB claimed, was for self-defence against rampaging herdsmen. Since IPOB was proscribed and declared a “terrorist” organisation, the Armed Forces have been bearing down on flashpoint communities in the South-East to stamp out militants.

The situation is compounded by allegations of the infiltration of the South-East zone by other faceless and yet-to-be-identified armed groups with suspicious motives, committing crimes and foisting insecurity, which are automatically blamed on IPOB.

We call on the Abia State Government, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and all patriots to join the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to fish out the perpetrators. The scorched earth reprisal deployed in Okuama must be avoided to prevent a deterioration of the situation. We do not want another Biafra or civil war.

Nigeria must also make a final decision on the Igbo question.