Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB are under fire over South-East sit-at-home protests, The Nation report.
MAZI Nnamdi Kanu and his proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) have come under severe criticisms for dissociating themselves from the Monday sit-at-home protests that have led to mindless killings and disruption of economic cum social activities in the South East region.
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, last weekend revealed that Nnamdi Kanu told him while in detention that he neither ordered nor knew about the Monday sit-at-home which has continued to be observed in the region.
IPOB, during the week issued a statement backing Abaribe and restating that it had washed its hands off the exercise.
“Comments from Abaribe are true, because we stated it before now that Kanu, through his lawyers had asked IPOB members and its leadership to stop the Monday sit-at-home order.
“Those purportedly enforcing the directive have been killing and burning property of Igbo people and they will incur the wrath of IPOB in due course,” the statement partly read.
IPOB through the spokesman, Emma Powerful had on July 30, 2021, issued a statement declaring an indefinite sit-at-home every Monday till Kanu is released.
The statement read in part: “We the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB (IPOB) ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to announce to all Biafra citizens, friends of Biafra and lovers of Biafra freedom and independence that IPOB leadership has declared every Monday ‘a ghost Monday’. This declaration takes effect from Monday, August 9, 2021. Nobody should attempt to flout this directive as doing so may come with huge consequences. Anybody flouting this order is taking a grave risk,”
People of the region have asked the separatist group to take responsibility for their actions and not further insult their senses by dissociating itself from the Monday-sit- at-home protests.
Speaking on the development, a social analyst, Mr. Benson Offor, said “Those who started the Monday sit-at-home should equally look for possible means to stop it if they claim that they are no longer in support of it. It is the monsters that they breed that are propagating it. They know them and know where to find them.
“It is in their hands to quench the fire that they lit and let me say this for emphasis; the fire that they lit in the southeast will soon consume them or even their relations.”
He added: “When we were telling people that IPOB is bigger than Kanu, people thought that we are stupid. What is happening in their camps now shows that we were right, after all.
“We learnt that there is a serious issue of trust among them. Ekpa and his group believed that Nnamdi Kanu’s brother and among others are coming to reap where they didn’t sow.
“Remember what happened when Kanu was arrested. Remember that it was the breakaway group that told people that Emmanuel Kanu, Emma Powerful and DOS members had collected money from the federal government.
“They demanded to see Kanu alive in court and asked people not to believe what Kanu’s lawyers are saying.
“We thought that they were going to call off the sit-at-home when Kanu eventually appears in court, but that was not the case as the group who saw the support that they got from the gullible IPOB or Biafra members decided to continue to push for the sit-at-home.
“How do you expect people to go to the market and offices when the members of security agencies that were supposed to guide the citizens are not even on the road on Mondays?
“The truth is that, if Kanu led IPOB comes out today to say that they have called off the sit-at-home, people will not want to come out to their shops because nobody wants to risk his or life.”
A security expert who spoke on condition of anonymity said from investigations, those still enforcing the suspended sit-at-home are suspected IPOB members who may have gone rogue.
The source said: “Well looking at it from a security point, I think some members of IPOB have gone rogue and have refused to adhere to the cancelation of the programme.
“This is what happens when there is a lacuna in such an unstructured organisation. Kanu was the sole leader of the group. Everything went through him. So when he was arrested, the other supposed leaders couldn’t control the members.
“So those of them who were armed, seemed to have refused to stop the sit-at-home. Also, there is also the possibility that some criminal elements have capitalized on this to carry out their criminal activities.
“They may be working with the rogue IPOB members or working separately but the thing is that failure of leadership in IPOB is directly or indirectly responsible for the continuation.If they didn’t declare the sit-at-home in the first place, we won’t even have the problem.”
A trader, Okorie James said the group was responsible for declaring the sit-at-home in the first place.
He alleged that the inability of the group to control its members whom it armed as be the reason why the sit-at-home has not stopped even when IPOB announced the suspension of the exercise.
The chief mediator of World Zionist Union in the Southeast, Prophet Geoffrey Gbujie, stated that both the pro-Biafra agitators and criminal elements, were involved in the ongoing sit-at-home enforcement.
He added that both groups were rather enforcing the sit-at-home order to enrich themselves rather than agitating for Biafra independence.
According to him, “It is very unfortunate that what Ralph Uwazuruike’s MASSOB initiated and executed thrice without hitches, had been turned to a weekly routine and ritual wittingly and unwittingly by certain pro-Biafra agitators and other unidentified covert actors, whose interests are clearly not in tandem with the raging Biafra national independence agitation.
“Criminals have come into the whole thing to enrich themselves. They harass people, break into stores and shops to loot all in the name of sit-at-home.
“They stop motorists, motorcyclists and keke people and collect their money. I witnessed one incident at NOWAS Junction here in Enugu. I was standing in one of the offices upstairs watching them as the hoodlums attacked people and robbed POS operators”.
Also speaking, a cleric, Ven. Daniel Uche attributed the problem to the splinting of the group, with each of the groups issuing threatening orders separately.
He said, “The situation is so unfortunate that before you embark on any trip, you’ll confirm from any member of the group if the road is clear. If he said you should go, then I go. Otherwise, you’re on your own.
“Yes, government has asked market leaders to open various markets for business. But the problem is not ordering opening of market. The market is always open every Monday, but who will go and sell?”
“The only solution to the problem is releasing Nnamdi Kanu. Just like Mbazuluike Amechi told the President, the matter can’t be solved politically.
“All these gorilla warfare will continue unabated with increased casualties and economic losses until the arrow head is released.”
Criminal elements fingered
The Director, Centre for Victims of Extra- Judicial Killings and Torture, Comrade Frank Kalu-Agu, in an interview with The Nation was emphatic on those behind the traditional sit-at-home or ‘Holy Mondays’.
According to Kalu-Agu, “They’re criminal elements who want to hide under the IPOB cancelled sit-at-home to create a state of insecurity so that they will have access to anything they want. Their plan is just to cause confusion and create a sense of fear so that whenever they like they strike without restraints. In fact, they just want to hijack the streets and lord it over the defenseless citizens”.
He insisted that the whole thing was an attempt to smear the image of the IPOB.
“It happened in Aba during the time of Bakassi Boys. Eventually along the line, criminal elements hijacked it and made nonsense of the whole exercise.
“So, we have experience about this kind of thing. So, it’s not surprising that criminals have hijacked it. Those people are not IPOB. IPOB is organised. They said they have stopped the sit-at-home after one outing. So whosever that is pushing or enforcing it is not IPOB. These are criminal elements”, he said.
Kalu-Agu also suggested that those, he described as enemies of the Southeast might have a hand in sponsoring the violence in the region, which hitherto was the most peaceful in the entire country.
He said, “There is this other group circulating letters to markets, parks, business centres and individuals warning them to stay away from streets and markets on Mondays.
“We’re suspecting that those people are not even Igbos. They are the enemies of Ndigbo who want our economy to run aground.
“There’s the possibility that they might have infiltrated here and started circulating those letters asking people not to come out in order to ensure that this evil process continues until our economy crumbles”.
Speaking with The Nation, the Ogrishi- Ndigbo, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka,(Rojenny), said what is happening in Igboland is spiritual
He said the sit-at-home and killings will not stop in the zone until all the corpes in every Correctional facility in Igbo land are evacuated
Ezeonwuka, maintained that those perpetrating the sit-at-home every Monday are the spirits that are angry and not members of IPOB as being speculated
According to him, “those dead bodies are angry in Igboland and nothing will stop what is happening now unless the bodies in different mortuaries are released and buried.
“Those dead bodies are seriously angry and nobody can stop them unless they are released to their owners and those without anyone to pick them, should be buried in a mass grave
“Mark my words, very soon, a lot of things will happen in Igboland, if those things are not done and it can lead to collapse of Igbo” Ezeonwuka declared
Some other stakeholders who spoke to The Nation proffered different other solutions to the lingering quagmire.
Chairman Civil Liberty Organization (CLO), Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme called on those responsible for continued observation of sit at home order to consider the interest and welfare of the southeastern states.
He said, “IPOB has confirmed postulation of Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe that IPOB leader never sanctioned or supported sit at home order.
“We are appealing to those responsible for continued observation of the sit at home order to consider the interest and welfare of the southeastern states.
“The economy of hitherto flourishing and vibrant southeast is collapsing rapidly and beyond redemption if urgent steps are not taking to remedy and rectify the despicable situation.
“Most pathetic are the students that miss classes every Mondays, and will compete with students from other zones in external examinations.
“There are many parents who depend on their daily incomes for upkeep of their families. Let us be our brothers and sisters keepers and ensure adequate protection of less privileged and the oppressed.”
Immediate past chairman, UNIZIK -ASUU, Prof. Dennis Aribodor called for a dialogue between Southeast governors in order to provide effective and humane leadership.
He said, “President Buhari promised to consider the request of Igbo leaders led by Elder statesman Mbazuluike Amechi. He should quickly do that to douse the tension.
“With the release of Nnamdi Kanu, there will be a clear and known command for IPOB for meaningful engagement and political solution. That is where to begin as military solution cannot solve the problem.
“Southeast governors should come together and initiate meaningful dialogue; provide effective and humane leadership to give hope to the people especially the youths by providing enabling environment for massive job creation to contain youth unemployment.
“The Governor-elect of Anambra State is being looked upon to provide the needed political leadership for the Southeast and I hope he will live up to the expectation.
“Political, traditional and religious leaders should sincerely partner the academia towards providing scientific workable solutions to the political and economic challenges of the Southeast.
“People are losing hope on the system and this is very dangerous. Every effort should be made to give hope to the people.”
Financial experts lament economic setback to region
A financial expert and former Economic Adviser to Abia State government, Chief Agu Ojukwu who expressed worries over the dangers Abia State and Southeast may face as a result of the continued sit-at-home protest by pro-biafra agitator, in a telephone interview with our correspondent feared possible relocation of businesses from the Southeast by business owners who may have seen the continued sit-at-home as a potential danger to their business.
According to the former Economic Adviser, “if businesses are shut down in Aba, the state will be losing nothing less than N2 Billion.
“This doesn’t include revenue coming from other sources. What Southeast loses on each sit-at-home day cannot be calculated.
“We all knew what happened during the Osisikankwu saga; where businesses relocated out of Aba.
“The danger in the continued sit-at-home is that a lot of persons who are calling for continued Monday sit-at-home do not have serious business in Aba, Abia or southeast.
“Those with serious business are not happy with what is happening and what it means is that, they will relocate their business outside Aba, Abia or southeast to another place where there won’t be sit-at-home.
“Some of the persons coming to Aba or southeast will look elsewhere to be doing their business on Monday.
“For governors of other zones, it is to see this as an opportunity to improve the economy of their states by ensuring that the state has what drives people to the southeast.
“I am sure that there are people including shoe makers who are not finding it funny with the every Monday sit-at-home and are willing to go elsewhere to establish their business.
“Those in Lagos who are backing what is happening in the southeast on Monday, do they close their shops on Monday’s? The answer is obvious No.
“If we don’t want to lose the few strong businesses that we have in the southeast, it is time we have a rethink.”
President of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Barr. Jasper Nduagwuike also expressed concern over the effect s of the continued Monday sit- at home and security challenges in the Southeast region.
Nduagwuike, who spoke newsmen in Enugu shortly after his investiture as the 16th President of ECCIMA stated that insecurity has left Southeast economy barren.
He said, “Imagine an economy that does not work on Monday’s, what kind of economy is that? An economy that does not work 4 days in a week, what kind of economy is that? what kind of economy are we building?
“Unfortunately business is moving out of South East slowly, we had similar incident in Nnewi and before they knew what was happening, spare parts marketers have moved to Ladipo market in Lagos.
According to him, ”Ladipo market was not there before, it was the movement from Nnewi that created Ladipo market and nobody came back because once you leave, you have left .
“And again business is moving to Asaba, Uyo, Port harcourt, business is moving to states around South East, and Southeast is left barren due to insecurity.
The new ECCIMA boss, said “Before this problem started, Igbo’s have started coming back to establish in their states but with this situation, nobody wants to come around again.
“If you asked them to bring their investment home, they will tell you that their investment is safe where they are, due to insecurity challenges in Southeast, they don’t want to come home and invest anymore, so something must be done about the security situation in the Southeast so that we can have a situation where the Southeast will thrive economically, politically and be stable again,” he said.