By Gabriel Chy Alonta & Praise Necherem
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has ordered its members to boycott Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day commemoration on October 1, 2020 by staying at home.
The Nnamdi Kanu-led group said the sit-at-home order was necessitated by intelligence alleging plans by terrorist groups to launch an attack in the south east geopolitical zone of the country during the Independence Day celebration.
In a statement issued by the IPOB media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, the organisation said its members would join its Yoruba counterparts, agitating for Oduduwa Republic, in public protests to mark the day.
The pro-Biafran group stressed that complete and total lockdown was sacrosanct, irreversible and non-negotiable.
According to the statement, “We enjoin all Biafrans and every conscious Nigerian, especially those ethnic nationalities reeling from state-sponsored terrorism, bad governance and economic annihilation, to boycott every government organised ceremony designed to eulogise the failure that Nigeria has become. This is the time to let the world know how disastrously intolerable human existence is in Nigeria today.”
It urged those who wanted an end to what it referred to as “terrorism and organised mediocrity” to register their anger “by ensuring that you and your household sit-at-home (sic) on October 1, 2020” going on to say that “there is credible intelligence that terrorist groups are planning to slaughter our children should they venture out to celebrate or March on October 1st.”
Powerful added that “complete and total lockdown of Biafraland and other terror-ravaged areas of the Middle Belt, come 1st of October 2020, is sacrosanct, irreversible and non-negotiable! Wholesale slaughter of innocent Judeo-Christians and state-sponsored ethnic cleansing cannot be going on in our land at the same time as fake jamborees are being organised by the same sponsors terror attacks, in order to deflect our attention away from the imminent danger we are all in” and went on to “urge that all markets, schools and businesses in Biafra land and beyond be shut down as a mark of respect to all those who have died as a result of terrorism against innocent civilians especially Christians, ethnic cleansing in Southern Kaduna and elsewhere across the Middle Belt.”
When contacted, the police public relations officer, in charge of Zone 13, ASP Princess Nkiruka Nwode, dismissed the security threat speculation as untrue, saying that Zone 13 had not received or sighted any such information. She, however, promised to update the media if anything concrete came up on the issue.
Nwode, however, urged residents of the south east, especially those in Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states, to disregard the rumour and join in the historic Independence Day anniversary. She disclosed that the AIG in charge of Zone 13, Danmallam Mohammed, and the police hierarchy were working round the clock to ensure maximum police protection before, during and after the anniversary.
Efforts by Orient Weekend to reach the acting director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, for his reaction proved abortive. Calls and text messages sent to his contact phones were neither returned nor responded to as at the press time.