By Uya Edem
At least, over 350 active members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign States of Biafra (MASOB) have been killed between November 2019 and May 15th 2022.
This followed a damning declaration by the Chief of Army Staff for serial killings of the two Igbo leading secessionist groups, currently agitating for referendum and consequently self -determination from the Nigerian State as a result of floods of injustice being melted against them by the Nigerian State.
Investigation revealed that very active members of the two agitating groups including those who absconded from Nigeria to Europe, Asia and America have been listed for elimination, with mouthwatering price tags for informants who can alert the Nigerian military of their possible whereabouts.
Protesting the sad development, an uncle to the MASSOB Director of Fund raining, Forster Okolie, who absconded to Europe since 2008 for fear of being killed, told The Value News that Nigerian security had threatened and quizzed his family members, compelling them to produce Forster dead or alive.
Forster’s uncle who gave his name as Mazi Oklie, said they have been living in fear and trepidation since 2008 when their son travelled out of the country for fear of being killed, as it is every day experience in Nigeria.
Mazi Okolie disclosed that shortly before their son travelled abroad in 2008, there was a day a detachment of the Nigerian Army invaded his Compounded and wrecked havoc. He noted that his parents, their last daughter including 10 other persons that were found in the Compound at the MASSOB meeting that took place in his house were killed.
Note that Foster Okolie, Emma Powerful and several others have been active members of the IPOB when they were in Nigeria and they made no pretenses about their passion for an independent state of Biafra and equally fought hard to see it come to reality. This however, exposed them to constant harassment, attacks and undue hostility from Nigerian security forces that declared them wanted before they escaped from the country. Even while outside Nigeria, they have been supporting the activities of IPOB/MASSOB morally and financially and the Nigerian government had been aware all along and even attempted severally to visit the hostility on the family members of Mr. Foster Okolie, Emma Powerful and other wanted IPOB members who are making a living outside Nigeria
In a sharp reaction, President of the Civil Liberty Organization, Igho Akeregha had asked the Nigerian military to stop wasting lives of youths from the South east region because of persistent agitations for self – government. Akeregha had warned that suppressive approach to the youths of Igbo extraction will have a muffled effect in the social order in the country,
Another Human Rights Activist and former President of Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba,SAN, had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to pull Nigerian troops out from the South east following the perceived serial killings of the agitating IPOB and MASSOB members in and outside the country.
Agbakoba advised federal government to make Nigeria an investment hub for West and Central Africa, adding that nobody will invest in a politically unstable environment as it is the case with Nigeria.According to him, “When the economy is buoyant and fairness and equity is returned, the youths will have no reason to agitate for secession”.
In his reaction, Dr. Anselem Odinkalu, former Chairman Nigerian National Human Rights Commission (NNHRC) also condemned government of Nigeria for selective attacks and killing of Biafra agitators.He slammed the government for the killing of 7 members of IPOB/MASOB who returned from Israel and the United States of America.
Odinkalu who is recently the open team Manager for African Program of Society advised government to stop using force in addressing cases of agitation, adding that they more the Igbo youths are killed, the more younger ones join in pressing harder for secession and self- government.
Nigerian security operatives in an operation involving the Army, Air force and the Police in Ihiala community of Anambra State arrested recently 200 members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.
Recall that the arrest of members of the secessionist group followed recent attacks on soldiers and civilians in Orlu town adding that there is doubt as to whether they have killed them as efforts to locate them in any correctional centre has proved abortive.IPOB/MASSOB members who were using Ihiala as their base had reportedly ambushed and revenged the killing of some of their members at the community
Police spokesman, Mr. Frank Mbah said since the beginning of the year, the activities of IPOB/MASSOB militias through its ferocious demand for secession, has adversely affected the security situation in the area, adding that “There have been attacks on civilians, police and military personnel on checkpoints and escort duty.
Mbah recalled with regrets that troops of 34 Brigade in conjunction with the Anambra State Police Command, recently carried out raids in Osumoghu and Lilu in Ihiala Local Government Area, leading to the killing of 35 IPOB members with the IPOB training camps destroyed.”
Last month, he disclosed that a raid operation was conducted in a forest close to Lilu village in Ihiala axis of Anambra State by combined troops of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and the Nigeria Police, adding that the militia men were believed to have escaped with their dead colleagues and varying degrees of gunshot wounds,”
Recall that the Igbos in Nigeria had been facing all sorts of hostile and inhuman treatments from Nigerian Government since after the end of Civil war in Nigeria in 1970.
Nigerians from the South/Eastern Region of Nigeria are always treated like slaves and second class citizens despite their huge economic contributions to Nigeria and such degradation had even become an official policy of almost all the regimes that had governed Nigeria since 1970. President Buhari’s regime had aggravated the whole situation by adding a dose of apartheid against people of Igbo extraction. His hatred for Igbos are evident in his words and action to the extent that in 2017 he directed his military men to the South Eastern States under the guise of a routine military exercise known as Operation Python Dance and further instructed them to shoot Igbo boys at sight over flimsy excuses. Thus at one operation at Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s house, over 158 Igbo boys were shot dead in cold blood. Today, there is no day that passes by without seeing open massacre of Igbo youths simply because they decided to join the MASSOB and IPOB led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as a platform to air their views and grievances against injustices and in human treatments.
As this group organized a peaceful protest in expression of their grievances, the Nigerian President quickly declared them a terrorist organization even as the deadly herdsmen and bandits continue to kill and cause mayhem to the people of the North East without the Government uttering a word of condemnation against them mainly because they are Fulani, the president’s tribesmen. It is on account of these segregation and nepotism that the President ordered the arrest of the IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is currently being detained in DSS detention facility in Nigeria having been illegally arrested and extradited from Kenya vide extra-ordinary rendition by Nigerian Government.
The killing of one of the IPOB/MASSOB regional commanders, Late Don Ikonso last year was a huge tonic for the Nigerian soldiers to start daily raids and massacre of IPOB and MASSOB members in the South east of Nigeria
Also recall the way the Israeli journalists who were shooting a documentary in South Eastern part of Nigeria were quickly arrested and detained for twenty days in DSS custody at mere suspicion that they were supporting IPOB/MASSOB