…Urges People to Come Out on Mondays
In what appears to be an interesting twist, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has backed the Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mba, over his government’s abolition of the Monday sit-at-home exercise in the state, reports Jude Atupulazi.
Before now, IPOB had gone to great lengths to enforce its sit-at-home directives, a development that had often led to violence, death and destruction of property in Igbo Land. Later, as condemnations of the violent enforcement grew, IPOB announced that there would be no more sit-at-home days except on days their incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu, would appear in court.
But despite its backtracking, the directive to come out had been shunned by many, mostly out of fear of the repercussions. Such fears were heightened by the existence of a breakaway faction of IPOB led by Simon Ekpa, whose group became known as Auto Pilot. This group has been violently enforcing its sit-at-home directives, often culminating in bloodshed and destruction of property; further leading to dwindling economic activities in the Southeast Zone.
But on assumption of office as Governor of Enugu State, Mba had ordered workers to be reporting to work on Mondays, announcing that the sit-at-home had been abolished. Surprisingly, the first group to back him was IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu.
The Pro-Biafra group stated this in a statement issued last Monday by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful.
It restated that IPOB had since called off the exercise in the entire Southeast, but noted that those he called criminals continued to enforce it to harm and exploit the people.
The separatists however cautioned Mba not to behave like his counterpart, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, of Anambra State, whom, he said, had earlier decreed against sit-at-home in Anambra State but with poor methodology.
The secessionist group said, ‘Dr. Peter Mba, please never make the same mistake Prof. Soludo made by using Nigeria compromised Security to stop Monday sit-at-home. Any attempt to use murderous Fulani controlled security to stop the sit-at-home is an indirect way of killing our people.
‘Such moves will always be counterproductive. We support him to stop the Monday sit-at-home, and we have stopped the sit-at-home. Such measures failed in Ebonyi, Imo, and Anambra, and it will fail in Enugu.
‘Allow the Monday sit-at-home to die off naturally by engaging our people. Meanwhile, IPOB is on standby to assist on the best approach to end Monday sit-at-home where it still exists so that we won’t escalate the tensed security situation. If you use force on our people, you will fail.’
IPOB said, ‘After our leadership initiated the Monday sit-at-home order to demand for the release of our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who is currently being illegally detained at DSS dungeon, he directed IPOB leadership to stop the sit-at-home to avoid criminals capitalizing on that to harm our people.
‘Though some Biafrans continued with Monday sit-at-home voluntarily, as our leader predicted, after the suspension order, some criminals and infiltrators hijacked it and started committing crimes and enforcing non-existent Monday sit-at-home.
‘It is obvious that Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mba, should be made aware that IPOB has already suspended Monday sit-at-home. For him to publicly associate IPOB with Monday sit-at-home is obnoxious. If indeed, Mr. Governor, Mba, wants to return normalcy on Mondays, he will have the support of IPOB because the criminals enforcing non-existent Monday sit-at-home are criminals.’
The group maintained that anybody still enforcing the Monday sit-at-home order was not helping IPOB and Kanu, adding that everybody in the zone should be coming out on Mondays for their business.
The group’s statement further read, ‘However, the governor must know that Nigeria Police know the criminals and the hideout of the criminals who enforce sit-at-home in some communities and claimed to be IPOB but are not.
‘We are advising Dr Peter Mba to ask his predecessor, Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who are responsible for the criminalities going on in Enugu State and other states. We listed some of the criminals in Enugu State and we will do such again to Dr Mba.
‘The Nigeria Security agents cannot stop the enforcers of sit-at-home because the government is the sponsor of those criminals. The agent provocateurs and their leader in Europe are behind these criminalities going on in the Southeast with the support of the government just to blackmail IPOB. We are calling on Dr Mba to never allow a single person die because of this exercise because we don’t know anything about it.
‘Dr. Peter Mba must not invite anarchy by inviting police and army personnel who are behind the criminals enforcing the non-existent Monday sit-at-home. That will be disastrous. Monday sit-at-home order is slowly whining down. Calling on the Nigeria compromised Security agents to stop it wouldn’t work. Instead, they will further aggravate the situation.
‘Calling on the Nigeria murderous security agents to stop Monday sit-at- home is a call that will be used as a licence to target and kill IPOB members and innocent Biafra citizens. Dr. Peter Mba should be careful not to be used by enemies to target and attack IPOB members and ESN operatives,’ IPOB stated.
It claimed that IPOB was not part of the problem but part of the solution to the peace and security of the Southeast Zone. The group called on the Enugu State governor to encourage the people to go about their businesses on Mondays but never order ‘murderous security to force people out.’
It insisted that the Monday sit-at-home was already waning and should not therefore be used to allow any military or police to coerce the people.