IPOB, others disrupt pro-restructuring summit in Enugu
A summit convened by the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, in Enugu was on Tuesday disrupted by pro-Biafra agitators.
At least eleven members of the pro-Biafra groups were later nabbed by the police within the Independence Layout Area of the State.
DAILY POST gathered that the agitators made up of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, the Biafra Zionists Federation, BZF, among several others, forced the event to an abrupt end.
It was gathered that the agitators got annoyed when issues of restructuring of Nigeria took the centre stage instead of their clamour for Biafra.
The event was also expected to have been used to honour late Owelle Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi and a host of others.
The organizer of the event and Founder of the Igbo Youth Movement, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu- Uko said that the aim of gathering was to discourse the restructuring of the country as well as honour disserving Igbo, living or dead.
However, when Amechi began to talk about the need to restructure the country into six zones, the Biafran agitators began to interrupt him, saying that they did not want to hear anything about Nigeria.
Hell was let loose when Ugochukwu- Ukor announced that it was time to give a post-humous award to Dr. Azikiwe for his contributions towards national development.
As soon as Zik’s name was mentioned, the Biafran agitators rose in condemnation of Zik’s efforts to keep the country united, just as they blamed the late nationalist for the current travails of the Igbo in the country.
As the crowd became restive, Ugochukwu-Uko threatened to deal with any trouble maker in the hall but his utterances angered the agitators the more and they descended on the people on the high table and in the commotion that ensued, they removed Prof Amucheazi’s red cap from his head and his eye glasses.
Some of the leaders ran helter-skelter as their cars were stoned leading to the shattering of the wind shields.
Apparently, not satisfied with scattering the event, the mob chased journalists out of the venue before moving to the streets of Enugu metropolis, where they blocked roads, displaying the photographs of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
They condemned restructuring, saying that they would not settle for anything other than Biafran Republic.
However, as they were matching, the police confronted them in front of the Presidential Hotel, by firing tears gas canisters on them.
Convener of the event, Comrade Eliot Ugochukwu-Uko, who confirmed that he abruptly ended the event owing to the charged atmosphere created by the Biafra agitators, fingered the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo over the incident.
Uko told journalists that “initially, I didn’t want pro-Biafra groups to be at the event; but Uchenna Madu called me and enquired whether they should come. I said no; Nnamdi Kanu’s group also called me, I’m friendly with them, because I have never openly attacked them. I didn’t want them to come.
“But later, I spoke to one of the Igbo elders, he said, let them come; the more the merrier; let them come and see what we are doing. Three days to the event, I agreed that they should come.
“So, when the event started today, I was acknowledging various groups, they wrote note passed to me that Biafra Zionists are here in their numbers, that I should acknowledge them; I said they should patient.
“The genesis is that the Ohanaeze President, Chief Nnia Nwodo wanted to be here too, but I said no; so, I was aware that they will set traps for me. He even asked Ayo Adebanjo to call me, but I said no, that he is in dispute with these children and I don’t want to be joined in their issues.
“Nnia Nwodo called me again, I went to his house with Maria Okwor; he requested that I should bring these boys to him so that he can reconcile with them, that they are insulting him so much. I told him that I don’t want to get involved. He promised to do a lot for me, I said no, that I want to continue doing my own things.
“So, I’m aware that Nwodo is not happy with me because I said he should not attend the event; therefore, they will set traps for me.
“These are the same people who were insulting me over 20 years ago when I started championing the issue of restructuring; but today, every group or the other has one committee on restructuring; so, I’m no longer a mad man.
“All over the world, they know me as an apostle of restructuring, but in the earlier days, I was called a mad man.
“So, I was expectant that they were planning for me today; when Uchenna Madu was mounting pressure on me that they want to come, I was curious.
“Now, today, like I said, they demanded that they should be given opportunity to talk; I was reluctant because I didn’t know what they will say. While issues of restructuring were being discussed, they started interrupting, that they want Biafra not restructuring; I said, ok, so this is what they want to say in my event.
“The next thing was that they started asking, ‘where is Nnamdi Kanu’, that he is their leader, that their leader should be here. I knew that I had problem in my hand. They now started noise, security asked them to leave the hall, they refused. They started asking me where is their leader, asking me whether he was dead. I asked them whether I was the one that took their leader.
“So, I had to dismiss the event, because I did not want to have fracas here or a situation where someone will hijack my event.”
While denying inviting the police, he said those responsible for the invitation were behind the mask, stressing that “I don’t know whether anyone was shot; police did not come into the venue of my event; so, whatever happened outside town, I don’t know about it.”
The Enugu State Police Commad’s Police Public Relations’ Officer, PPRO, SP Ebere Amaraizu, while confirming the incident said eleven members of the pro-Biafra group were arrested.
He told DAILY POST in a statement that “no fewer than eleven persons suspected to be members of the outlawed Biafran group were nabbed by the Enugu State police command operatives today 27/2/12 in the morning around Universal hotel axis of the Independent layout Enugu.
“They were nabbed based on intelligence information gathered which guided the operatives on the successful operations carried out.
“Those arrested are helping the operatives in their investigations in relation to their alleged nefarious activities and will be arraigned properly in a law court after investigations are concluded.”
He enjoined members of the public in the State “to be law abiding, security conscious and also partner with the police to ensure that the state continues to maintain the tempo of being safest and secured.”
Efforts made to obtain reaction from the leaders of the Biafra agitators were not successful as of the time of filing this report.
Biafra: IPOB leader, Ezeanachukwu demands release of detained members, offers self
The factional leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Okwudili Ezenachukwu, on Sunday demanded unconditional release of all the detained members of the group languishing in different facilities across the country.
The demand was contained in a statement issued by the IPOB leader, made available to DAILY POST, where he also announced that he was offering himself to be detained in exchange for his members.
Ezenachukwu, who accused factional leader of the group, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of going into hiding, to the detriment of his followers, said he was ready to live by example.
His statement read in part: “The new leadership of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) calls for the immediate release of all IPOB members and other pro-Biafra agitators detained across the nation.
“We demand that Mazi Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi who are co defendants with disappeared Nnamdi Kanu languishing in Kuje prison should be released unconditionally, since they have no case to answer after three years of awaiting trial without proof of evidence in Abuja federal high court.
“IPOB also demands for immediate release of our members and other pro-Biafra agitators languishing in Aba, Umuahia, Onitsha, Awka and Port-Harcourt prisons.
“We specifically appeal to the governors of Abia, Anambra and Rivers state to intervene for the release of our people. We advice our governors to emulate their counterparts in Arewa land who always find pleasure in releasing and granting amnesty to the members of Boko Haram detained in their respective States.”
The IPOB leader called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to “stop witch-hunting and frustrating the release of our armless and non-violent pro-Biafra agitators through institutions like the DSS and the judiciary.
“We shall continue to demand and engage in every possible means through non-violence for the restoration of Biafra, our true identity. Arrest, detention and killings will never stop our agitation for Biafra.”
Ezenachukwu said he was now ready to offer himself “in exchange for the freedom of my people detained in various prisons in Aba, Onitsha, Awka, Umuahia, Port-Harcourt and across Nigeria.
“I challenge President Buhari to arrest me and free all Biafra activists in prison; this is an ultimatum which will last for 14 days.”
He chided Nnamdu Kanu, noting that “a leader must lead from front. Leadership of revolutionary movement can never be a family affair or personal imposition of authority, it must be people-oriented built with a lasting trust and people’s confidence.
“As we are undergoing a process of re-orientation, IPOB will soon reach out to other pro-Biafra groups. We are not against those still following disappeared Mazi Nnamdi; we advise that all groups shall work together for the interest of Biafra, not using abusive or fowl words against each other and elders of Biafra land.”
Biafra: IPOB disowns Nnamdi Kanu, backs Gov. Ikpeazu
The leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under Mazi Okwudili Ezenachukwu have warned other pro-Biafra groups against taking actions inimical to the Biafra struggle.
This came at a time the IPOB under Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is engaging in war of words with Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, with the former reacting angrily after Gov. Ikpeazu said its leader lies a lot.
However, the IPOB faction in a statement made available to DAILY POST, Thursday, said it was warning those claiming to be followers of the disappeared Mazi Nnamdi Kanu “to stop adhering and introducing inconsequential propagandas that are dangerous and meaningless to the holistic struggle for Biafra restoration.”
IPOB has been facing leadership crisis since last year culminating in Kanu being sacked by another faction last year.
In a statement signed by Comrade Peter Bassy, its Director of Media and Publicity, he said “pro-Biafra groups, irrespective of there status must be talking about unity of purposes and oneness in pursuit of our dream of Biafra restoration.
“The era of brandishing self titles, self glorification, selfishness and self superiority which brings self destruction has gone.
“Leadership of pro Biafra groups must come together now for the interest of Biafra.”
He added that “the journey for Biafra restoration is not only the duty of pro Biafra groups. Political, religious, traditional and opinion leaders of Eastern region, mostly the Igbos have their own roles to play even the governors.
“IPOB will no longer continue to insult Igbo leaders in public; it makes Hausa Fulani people to be happy and more comfortable in discrediting Ndigbo, it also create a very huge gap between the pro Biafra groups and Igbo leaders.
“We wish to clarify that IPOB will no longer insult or use hate speeches against leaders; we wish to revive our former glories which everybody appreciated.
“We cannot continue to recoil on ideas and methodologies that endanger the lives and properties of our people.
“We also wish to state that we don’t have problem with South-East governors, including Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state.
“Gov ikpeazu was never consulted after the former and disappeared leader was released from detention, irrespective of advice given to him. Ikpeazu respected Kanu’s father even when there was pressure to dethrone him, and resisted pressure to re-arrest Nnamdi Kanu.”
The group, however, urged the South-East governors “to review our proscription as the new leadership under our supreme leader, Mazi okwudili Ezenachukwu is ready to partner with them and salvage all those things destroyed by the former leader Nnamdi Kanu.
“We disassociate ourselves from the earlier statement credited to IPOB through Emma Powerful, who is speaking for the disappeared ex-leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Members of IPOB have realised that creating problems and disaffection through media propagandas will not give us Biafra; much exhibition of propagandas will diminish our status and make IPOB a dishonourable organization.”
Biafra: All I know about Nnamdi Kanu – Gov. Ikpeazu
The Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has lashed out at the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
Ikpeazu said Kanu lies too much and was not a straight forward person, adding that he is equally worse than a chameleon.
The governor spoke while featuring in an interview with British Broadcasting Cooperation, BBC Igbo.
Ikpeazu said the elusive IPOB leader, who speaks from both sides of his mouth never consulted him or any South East governor before taking any action.
The governor insisted that Igbos do not want Nigeria to break up as they are ready to rule the country when the time comes.
According to Ikpeazu, ”Nnamdi Kanu hates South East governors, he does not want to associate with us despite the love we have for him.
”Whenever you talk with Nnamdi Kanu, he always speaks from both sides of his mouth, he is not a straightforward person .
”He never consulted me before taking any action, although we all agreed that Igbos are being marginalised but we should sit down and discuss the way out. ”
Ikpeazu, however, affirmed that Igbos are being marginalised but have no guns to go to war.
He said, ”It’s true that Igbos are being marginalised but how can we get to the promise land? Who will lead the Igbos to the promise land? Do we have enough guns if war should break out”?
Biafra: IPOB reacts to gov. Ikpeazu’s ‘attack’ on Nnamdi Kanu
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has reacted to a statement credited to the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu who called its leader, Nnamdi Kanu a liar.
IPOB challenged the governor to “publish” whatever material at his disposal that will lend credence to his assertion on Kanu.
In a statement signed and sent to DAILY POST by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, the pro-Biafra group, described Ikpeazu and governors in the region as “Hausa-Fulani stooge” masquerading as politicians in Igboland.
The group noted that Ikpeazu, who has been rejected across Igboland only resorted to using Kanu’s name to gain popularity.
The statement reads, “Over the coming days and weeks, Okezie Ikpeazu will be methodically and systematically shredded publicly for his blatant lies against our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the great IPOB movement he leads.
“It will be in his best interest and that of his Northern handlers to publish whatever material at his disposal that will lend credence to his assertions, chiefly that our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu reneged on agreements reached with him and other South East governors during his interview granted to BBC Igbo Service in the Government House Umuahia.
“He must tell the world, where, when and with whom he met Nnamdi Kanu. We will not allow him to get away with this bare-faced deceit and lies. Lying has become second nature to most of these Hausa Fulani stooges masquerading as politicians in Igboland especially. These peddling of lies and distortion of facts against Kanu is a well orchestrated plan conceived prior to Operation Python Dance 2 which they the governors initiated with Nnia Nwodo.
“They hoped to use compromised media channels like the BBC to peddle these lies that they had an agreement with Kanu when such never happened. Okezie Ikpeazu is a mass murderer cited at the ongoing case review by ICC at the Hague. He is also indicted in ongoing law suit in the USA. He has been rejected by the public along with his other Fulani Islamic servants at Government Houses across the South East, so lying against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu or using his name is the only way to gain relevance and sympathy. Anybody who believes in anything coming out of the mouth of an Igbo governor or Nnia Nwodo led Ohaneze Ndigbo needs psychiatric help.
“Okezie Ikpeazu failed to understand that the highly respected and foremost constitutional lawyer Prof. Ben Nwabueze was at the meeting between Nnamdi Kanu and Igbo governors which he Okezie Ikpeazu did not attend. We ask between Okezie Ikpeazu and Prof Ben Nwabueze who has more credibility? The truth about how Igbo governors and Nnia Nwodo out of petty envy and jealousy of the popularity and public acceptance of Nnamdi Kanu arranged for Hausa Fulani soldiers to use the cover of Operation Python Dance to assassinate him is well known to the world.
“Okezie Ikpeazu should keep his testimony and evidence with him because he will soon be called upon to give account of his role in the military invasion and abduction of Nnamdi Kanu and his parents from their home. We are placing the world on notice that Okezie Ikpeazu have never met with our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu despite the fact that Umuahia government house sits on his ancestral land and his father the traditional ruler.
“Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu is an unrepentant liar in the mould of other Igbo Biafra traitors before him. The day of reckoning is fast approaching and when that arrives, there will be no amount of Ghana Must Go bags or Hausa Fulani soldiers to defend them.”
APC state police report is reelection gimmick – IPOB
The Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB has described the recent report of the All Progressives Congress, APC favouring the creation of state police as a bait to lure Nigerians into reelecting them in 2019.
IPOB said Nigerians elected President Muhammadu Buhari because of his campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria, but he dumped it immediately he was elected.
The group said selecting just a part of the restructuring agenda, which is the state police was not acceptable as it was a ploy to portray itself as a listening government.
In a press release made available to DAILY POST in Awka and signed by its publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, the group said even though it is not calling for the restructuring of Nigeria as its aim is total freedom for Biafra, it is obligated to warn Nigerians of the fraud the federal government was about to commit.
“We are not interested in whatever structural reforms the government of Nigeria wishes to undertake because the key tenet of democracy which is public debate and vote on a crucial matter is conspicuously lacking in their approach and proposal for state police.
“Our primary interest remains the full restoration of the sovereignty of the nation of Biafra and nothing more. Anything short of a referendum to ascertain the wishes of the people is dead on arrival for us.
“Even the most unintelligent person knows that this state police proposal is a key component, if not the central plank, of report on restructuring by the APC committee appointed by the presidency.
“It is a calculated fraud designed to buy time and confuse the gullible. It is merely an election gimmick calculated to deflect attention and convey the impression that this is a listening government which is a lie.
“This APC regime promised restructuring before they were elected into power, today they are ardent opponents of restructuring. With this state police gimmick, once you elect them back in 2019 they will become critics of state police.
“Only the gullible, foolish and unintelligent will be taken in by this charade. Had this regime been sincere about their intentions, they would have implemented the proposal immediately rather than merely issuing it as a report to be debated upon,”
2019: Why we ordered members to obtain PVC – MASSOB
The leadership of the Movement for a Sovereign State of Biafra has called on its members to obtain their permanent voter’s card.
A statement issued in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Friday by MASSOB National Secretary, Ibem Ugwuoke, said that the decision to order its members to register for PVCs was reached in a meeting presided over by its leader, Uchenna Madu.
The statement said that the PVC would be useful for MASSOB in the nearest future in its quest for a sovereign state, not just for election in 2019.
“MASSOB orders all Biafrans that are constitutionally eligible to vote to immediately go for voter registration card in the nearest INEC office. That possession of the Nigeria’s voter card is not merely for Nigeria’s elections only but for Biafra Referendum as the only identification card for eligibility of the people that will determine the future of Biafra actualisation through a United Nations observed referendum.
“Boycotting voters registration and non possession of the voters card is a self inflicted decision for any future referendum on the self determination for sovereignty of a state.
“That for a proposed statehood of Biafra to be ordered and declared by United Nations, the voting population of Biafrans through the registration and possession of the voter card must be captured in the national demography of the existing political entity (Nigeria) from which the voting population of the coming statehood (Biafra) is seeking for a separation.
“That it is never an all comers affairs, even if United Nations comes in the existing mother country(Nigeria) to conduct and supervise a referendum that will determine the future of Biafra, she still has a critical role to play. The registration and possession of the voter card is for the Biafra referendum.
“MASSOB calls for review of the current voters registration exercise because the entire permanent voters registration exercise is fraudulently dubious schemed to favour only the northern region. INEC patterned the exercise to include even underaged children.
“We saw even as underaged persons of northern origin below 18 years registered by INEC for 2019 general elections. With these INEC sponsored trend of registering underaged persons from northern region, MASSOB will never allow elections to hold in eastern region in 2019.
“MASSOB still believes and anchors on our principle of non violence towards all our approaches to Biafra actualisation and restoration. We don’t believe in arms struggle, we shall abide by all the principles and charters of United Nation declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and African Charter on the Human Rights of Indigenous People,” the statement read.
Biafra: You warned us but we didn’t listen, now we’ve seen it – Fani-Kayode addresses Nnamdi Kanu
A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has said that all that the ‘missing’ leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, told him and Nigerians concerning the current administration has come to pass.
Alluding to the current killings and destruction of properties by suspected Fulani herdsmen, and the scotching hardship in the country, the former minister said they were warned by the IPOB leader.
Nnamdi Kanu’s whereabouts has remained unknown since a joint Task Force of army and police invaded his Afara Ukwu home in Umuahia, the capital of Abia state, on October 14.
Remembering Nnamdi Kanu in a tweet, where he also shared a photo he had with the pro-Biafra leader, Fani-Kayode said he (Kanu) will live forever.
He wrote, “You saw it all coming and you warned us but we refused to listen.
“Our eyes have finally opened and now we know better. I miss you my brother.
“Men of vision, courage and strength are few in our land. Wherever you are and whatever they have done to you know this: you shall live forever!”
Biafra: ECOWAS court fails to hear Nnamdi Kanu’s case
The Economic Community of West Africa ECOWAS Court, has again adjourned hearing into the fundamental rights suit filed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu’s suit filed in March 2016 is yet to reach its hearing stage at the court since it was first brought before it.
The case had been adjourned in November 2017, after a previous postponement a month before, following applications by parties in the matter.
On Tuesday, the court presided over by Justice Hemeye Mahdmadane announced its decision to make further adjournment after entertaining a fresh application by the prosecution.
The judge said the court’s decision to adjourn sitting was based on the fact that motions brought before the court in November were yet to be translated into English language.
At the opening of session on Monday, the prosecution counsel, Maimuna Shiru, informed the court, that her client had a motion seeking to keep the court abreast of the recent developments in the matter.
According to Ms. Shiru, her motion seeks to inform the ECOWAS court that IPOB had already been proscribed and that the Federal High Court in Abuja had affirmed the proscription of the group.
Reacting to the recent application, however, Mr. Ejiofor accused the prosecution of making unnecessary motions aimed at preventing the case from succeeding.
The court, however, warned Mr. Ejiofor to desist from making such utterances in court.
The matter was adjourned to May 30.
Biafra: IPOB insists court must deliver its judgment despite Kanu’s missing file
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, yesterday asked the Court of Appeal to deliver judgment on its embattled leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, whether his case file was missing or not.
IPOB had raised the alarm over the purported disappearance of the case file of its leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu at the Appeal Court.
The group said the announcement of the disappearance of the file was a huge joke that further portrayed the rot in the Nigerian Justice sector, while calling on the chief Judge of the federation to step in and salvage what was left of its integrity.
IPOB head of Directorate of Service, Mazi Chika Edoziem, in a statement recalled that the Court of Appeal panel heard Kanu’s matter in March 2017, insisting that any attempt to delay the judgment on the ground of a missing file amounted to perversion of justice and criminal conspiracy.
According to IPOB, never in the history of Nigeria had it been reported that a case file of such magnitude went missing on the day judgment was meant to be delivered.
The statement read: “This very matter, Appeal Case No CA/A/78A/C/2018, which is a legal action against the decision of Justice John Tsoho to reverse himself on an earlier ruling he made rejecting masked witnesses when he was the presiding judge before the matter was transferred to Justice Binta Nyako, is over a year old contrary to the law.
“February 13, 2018 was the day Appeal Court of Nigeria agreed, after much protestation from IPOB lawyers and in direct contravention of a key constitutional provision, to deliver its long overdue judgment in the matter of Nnamdi Kanu vs Justice John Tsoho.
“On getting to court, instead of the usual adjournment that characterizes IPOB cases in Nigeria and ECOWAS courts, the panel of judges announced, to the dismay of the court and others assembled, that the file was not before them.
“Not minding that this was a high profile matter already outside the constitutionally guaranteed three months maximum for delivery of judgment, the lead judge announced that the matter could not proceed, without the case file.
“The questions we are asking are; what happened to the decision of the initial panel that heard the case on the 8th March 2017 considering that Appeal Court of Nigeria is a supposedly competent court of records? Where is the copy of their judgment, because judges must have a copy of their judgment in their own personal files?
“Assuming and for the purposes of benefit of doubt that Kanu’s file is missing, how about the judgment written by the panel of judges that heard the matter on the 8th of March 2017, which they were meant to deliver on the 8th of June 2017 at the very latest as guaranteed by law?
“Does it mean Nigerian courts do not keep records of their judgments or are we to assume that Appeal Court judges are ignorant of the Nigerian Constitution to the extent that they are unaware that the statutory limit on delivery of all Appeal Court judgments is 90 days?
“Why wasn’t judgment in this matter delivered within the constitutionally guaranteed 90 days, which is 8 June 2017? What this case is telling the world is that Nigerian Appeal Court judges do not obey the constitution of Nigeria they are supposed to interpret and uphold.
“We view this ugly development as a desperate conspiratorial move to deny long overdue justice for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB by Nigerian judicial officers on the orders of the Nigerian presidency.
“Our humble request to the President of the Nigerian Judicial Council, NJC, President of the Appeal Court of Nigeria and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF is to recall the original panel of judges that heard the matter on the 8th of March 2017 to deliver their judgment as required by the Nigerian Constitution.”
ICC concludes preliminary investigation into Shiites massacre; continues probe of IPOB killings
The International Criminal Court is moving gradually towards prosecution of Nigerian officials involved in the December 2015 massacre of members of Islamic Movements of Nigeria.
The office of the prosecutor at the war crimes tribunal reached its preliminary conclusion into the killings in December 2017, submitted its findings to the Nigerian government and demanded explanations about the incident.
The ICC said the attack on IMN members, which was carried out by the Nigerian Army and condemned by human rights voices across the world, violated international statutes on human rights.
Also advancing at the ICC is its investigation into the gruesome rights abuses and killings of members of separatist Independent People of Biafra, IPOB.
The group has come under repeated assault by the Nigerian security agencies since October 2015 when its leader Nnamdi Kanu was arrested by the State Security Service in Lagos.
Mr. Kanu was later moved to Abuja where he had been standing trial until September 2017 when he disappeared following a military raid on his country home in Umuahia.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the extra-judicial killing and mass burial of over 120 people in one of several attacks on pro-Biafra supporters in May 2016 by security agencies, an incident described as “a genocide” against the Igbo by IPOB leaders.
The ICC has submitted its preliminary findings on the Shiites massacre to Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.
The ICC prosecutors said they relied on the different channels of information, including the findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government.
The panel had found several Nigerian Army officers culpable in the killings and recommended them for prosecution, including Niyi Oyebade, a major-general who was the Grand Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army 1 Division at the time.
The IMN said it lost more than a thousand members in the attack that took place between December 12 and 14 at its headquarters in Zaria.
A representative of the Kaduna State Government told the commission of inquiry that 347 bodies were handed over by the army for a secret mass burial.
But despite the evidence, the army claimed it killed only seven Shiites who blocked a public road and attempted to assassinate its chief, Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general.
It said troops only used force after it became clear that Mr. Buratai’s life was in danger.
The leader of the IMN, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who was arrested by soldiers during the operation, has remained in the custody of the State Security Service more than two years later — in defiance of court orders that he should be released immediately in 2016.
If the ICC chief prosecutor ultimately gives an approval for a trial to go ahead over the crimes, it would mark the first time a Nigerian would be hauled to The Hague to stand trial for crimes against humanity.
But a foreign affairs analyst, Ikenna Nwegbe, said the conclusion of investigation on the Shiites massacre might be a victory for human rights campaigners, but not likely to have any significant impact because of how Nigerian government views the allegations.
For one, Mr. Nwegbe said, the Nigerian government has failed to hold anyone responsible for either the Shiite killings or the atrocities against Igbo separatist agitators.
“Even in the case of Shiites massacre where a judicial panel indicted a major-general, the government didn’t take any action whatsoever,” Mr. Nwegbe said. “Mr. Oyebade is still in the Army till date and even flourishing.”
“On the basis of this alone, it’s easier to conclude that the ICC findings will hold no waters where the Buhari administration is concerned,” Mr. Nwegbe said.
He also decried the fact that there has been no form of compensation for the victims of the Shiites massacre or IPOB killings, a situation he described as a critical aspect of resolving the crises.
“No compensation has been paid to the Shiites or the victims of attacks on IPOB,” he said. “Instead, their leaders are still in custody despite repeated Nigerian court judgements.”
The analyst said a Nigerian government that has not obeyed judicial pronouncements within its borders should not be expected to cooperate with external authorities.
“At worse, Nigeria will pull out of the ICC,” Mr. Nwegbe said, adding that the ICC is still being disregarded in the case of Omar Al-Bashir, the Sudanese leader against whom an arrest warrant has been pending since 2008 and African leaders have refused to enforce.
The Nigerian government declined comments for this story. For three weeks, PREMIUM TIMES pushed several phone calls and text messages in a bid to get reactions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Tope Elias-Fatile, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told PREMIUM TIMES he could not comments because Attorney-General Abubakar Malami did not formally inform the ministry of any development from the ICC.
But during a 2016 meeting with delegates from the ICC, Mr. Malami expressed strong reservations about the investigations being carried out by the tribunal, saying Nigeria will not sacrifice its sovereignty to appease foreign elements.
He maintained that Nigeria had the prerogative rights in handling the alleged crimes referred to in the prosecutor’s 2015 report of activities in the country.
“Let me reiterate that Nigeria retains the sovereign capacity to investigate and punish the alleged crimes referred to in the report and will, therefore, continue present efforts in the above direction,’’ Mr. Malami said during the April 13, 2016 meeting.
Responding, the leader of delegation, Phakiso Choko, said that the prosecutor did not intend to compromise the sovereign rights of Nigeria in investigating crimes and meting out punishment.
He said that most cases referred to the ICC were the ones host nations were unable to resolve through internal mechanism.
Mr. Nwegbe said the fact that the Nigerian government has done nothing about the recommendations of a judicial panel or obey court pronouncements on the crises could mean that its internal mechanism has failed.
Mr. Nwegbe said the civil society would be the ultimate beneficiary of the ICC conclusion.
“They mere assurance that the ICC is not sweeping the case under the carpet is enough to encourage human rights groups to continue pushing for justice,” Mr. Nwegbe said.
Nigeria became a signatory to the ICC statute in 2002, putting it directly under the jurisdiction of the court.
The ICC is also investigating six cases of war crimes in the ongoing war against Boko Haram in the Northeast. Six of the investigations are targeted at the Boko Haram elements while the remaining two are against the Nigerian Army.
Biafra group warns South-East governors against cattle colony
The Biafra Independent Movement, BIM, has warned South East Governors against providing any land for the proposed Cattle Colony in any state of the South-East.
The group said providing land for colony puts Igbos under the Fulani herdsmen’s siege.
This was stated by its Anambra North Coordinator, Chief Vincent Iloh.
BIM noted that the provision of land will be another license to kill more Igbo people, adding that Igbos had businesses and were not funded by the government.
The statement read, “Biafra Independent Movement says no to Cattle Colony in South East and any Biafra land.providing land for the Nigerian Federal Government proposed ‘Cattle Colony’ will be tantamount to putting Biafrans under Fulanil herdsmen siege and perpetual enslavement of Biafra people of Igbo land.
“The Fulani herdsmen have been terrorizing the people of South East and other states of Nigeria, when they have no place called their own in such states; one will then imagine what they will do when lands are provided for them for establishing Cattle Colony, only God will save the people of the state where they will be occupying.
“Giving them Cattle Colony will amount to giving them take off point for unleashing more terror on Nigerian, we are waiting for the South East Governor that will provide land for the proposed Cattle Colony, we will make such Governor realize that he did not elect himself.
“We will resist such Governor with our life, we will not keep quiet while the life of our people are put into jeopardy, no South East Governor will have his way in providing such land for killing our people and putting them in perpetual fear over their lives.
“The Fulani herdsmen have been having their ways unhindered in terrorizing states and communities, with the Federal Government of Nigeria turning blind eyes to their heinous crime of massacring people in their homes, they are so emboldened that their leaders openly, proudly and stupidly tell Nigerians why they struck in some states, without Federal Government frowning at such unguarded statements.
““We cannot afford to fold our hands while our people are put under perpetual siege and everlasting enslavement in their God given land, Biafrans must exist freely in their land, anybody doing business must provide for all his needs in such business activities, Igbos are mostly businessmen who engage in industrial activities, buying and selling, nobody is providing fund for them to do their businesses.
“Herdsmen should learn how to conduct themselves peacefully where ever they are found in the states of the federation, so that they will be peacefully accommodate by the citizens of such states, they should not move into the states to destroy peoples farm and kill them because they feel that their brother is the President of Nigerian and therefore, turn blind eyes to their criminal activities and make they feel above the law.”
Biafra: IPOB drags Buratai, Governor Ikpeazu before US court
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has dragged 16 Nigerian officials to a United States District Court for the District of Columbia, for their complicity in the alleged extrajudicial killings of its members.
The IPOB members were allegedly killed during protests in the wake of arrest and detention of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The officials dragged to court were: Tukur Yusuf Buratai; Lawal Musa Daura; Ibrahim Attahiru; M.I. Ibrahim; Kasim Umar Sidi; Issah Maigari Abdullahi; Solomon Arase; Ibrahim Kpotun Idris; Okezie Ikpeazu; Willie Obiano; Habila Hosea; Peter Nwagbara; James Oshim Nwafor; Hosea Karma; Bassey Abang; and Johnson Babatunde Kokomo.
The suit is grounded on two muscular United States’ statutes; the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA or ATS – the Alien Tort Statute); and the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
Both laws have extra-territorial reach, meaning that they allow US federal courts to assert long-arm jurisdiction that extends beyond the borders of America.
In a statement, IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful said: “Beyond the latest processes, and at the ensuing trial, Buratai, Ikpeazu, Obiano and others will be required to personally appear before the US court to testify under oath and probing cross-examination that will dwell on the details of the IPOB killings and the complicity of other unnamed Nigerian officials”.
“In a counter Motion filed on February 6, 2018, the US-based lawyers for the Biafran plaintiffs (IPOB) who brought suit against some Nigerian officials have strongly urged a United States federal court to proceed to trial on the merits, stressing the damning fact the the US State Department has rejected a request from the Buhari-led Nigerian government for the State Department to intervene and stop the suit based on the sovereign immunity defense”.
“At Page 4 of the 35-page Motion obtained by IPOB, our lawyers stated that “Despite an overture by the Government of Nigeria, the United States Department of State has refrained from suggesting any Defendant is immune from Plaintiffs’ TVPA claims under federal common law or otherwise. Neither has the State Department suggested that any Defendant is a head of state in Nigeria”.
“The counter Motion was necessitated by a motion filed by defence lawyers to dismiss the suit based on grounds that included the act of state doctrine, lack of jurisdiction and sovereign immunity. Dr Bruce Fein and associates, lawyers to IPOB argued in-opposite that such defenses are not allowed under the Statutes upon which the suit was brought”.
“IPOB’s counsel also argued that defence Motions are questionable because the defense lawyers are, before the court, fighting amongst themselves as to who should be recognized to represent the defendants. Abia state governor Okezie Ikpeazu and Willie Obiano of Anambra State hired two law firms each and both sets of lawyers were fighting as to who will represent them in court”
“We are not relenting in our pursuit of those responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent Biafrans,” Powerful stated.
Police Arrest Biafra Agitators In Jewish Synagogue
Police have arrested and subsequently paraded some Biafra activists in Aba, Abia State.
It was gathered that about seven Biafra activists were arrested in a Jewish synagogue in Aba during a prayer meeting.
A police source said the men were holding “illegal meeting,” an allegation which the men refuted, saying they were only praying in the synagogue before they were arrested.
Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi, had while parading the suspects on Monday in Umuahia, said they were arrested with IPOB and Biafra insignia, arguing that IPOB remains an outlawed terrorist organization.
He said IPOB members had devised a new strategy to further their agitation for Biafra by joining the same religious group of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and using their synagogue as a clandestine meeting place.
Asked why police also paraded some members of Biafra Independent Movement since the organization is not proscribed, Ogbizi said if they did something contrary to the law, they would also be arrested.
He said the police would not allow any part of Abia to be used as a “breeding ground for terrorists.”
But irked by the development, Ohanaeze Youth Council has called for the immediate release of the Biafra agitators, insisting they have committed no offense to be paraded as criminals.
National President of OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said the police had no moral justification to arrest peaceful agitators seeking self-determination, whereas armed herdsmen have continued in their killing spree unchecked.
Isiguzoro urged the security agencies to go after “murderous herdsmen” who are “known terrorists committing genocide across Nigeria,” instead of dissipating energy on nonviolent agitators.
He called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to order the immediate release of the arrested Biafra activists so as not to create “unnecessary tension” in South East again.
Biafra: IPOB blames Trump for recent arrest, persecution of members
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has cried out that its members in Aba, Abia and and Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, are being arrested and persecuted by Nigerian security agencies since US President, Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The claim was part of Saturday’s statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, where the group lamented open persecution of its religious group, Shalon Synagogue Church of Israel.
According to IPOB, its problems began shortly after Trump pronounced Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The statement reads, “We, the family members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, worldwide, condemn the ongoing religious persecution, harassment and arrest of IPOB members, especially those of the Shalom Synagogue Church of Israel in Aba, Abia State, last week
“Since President Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the wave of arbitrary arrests and persecution of Biafrans that practise Judaism in Aba and Port Harcourt have dramatically increased.
“Nigerian government is setting a very ugly and dangerous precedent. Those arrested for their faith must be released immediately, including all those illegally detained for expressing their legitimately held views that they are better off in Biafra than Nigeria.
“Arresting members of Shalom Christian Church because they are connected to the Jews in Israel is religious discrimination of the worst kind.
“Every religion has a root and in as much as nobody can deny that Saudi Arabia is the root of Islam, nobody can deny that Israel is the foundation of both Judaism and later Christianity.”
Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu, Igbo people are blackmailers, backbiters – Uwazuruike
Ralph Uwazuruike, founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has described the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu and Igbo people as “backbiter and blackmailers.”
Uwazuruike made the remark while reiterating his earlier claim that Kanu took over Radio Biafra from him in London.
Speaking with Punch, the pro-Biafra agitator stressed that people of the South East are good at “double-crossing” their own.
He said, “I formed MASSOB. As a matter of fact, I am the originator of the new Biafran struggle. I originated it in 1999 and no other group spoke of Biafra before 1999. I also said it that we would allow the formation of other groups. I studied Political Science and Law and I have read many issues on struggles and revolutions and concluded that there was no way one body (a group) could achieve Biafra without other factions.
“I went to London and floated Radio Biafra there. I needed somebody to operate it and I appointed Nnamdi Kanu as the director but he felt that the best thing he could do was to blackmail me with the radio.
“Yes, with my own radio station! It is not new because that is the nature of an Igbo man. It is for the Igbo man to backbite, to double-cross his brother; and that is why we are behind the Nigerian scheme. As long as the Igbo man continues with that mentality, the Igbo race is doomed. Look at what is happening in the political parties.”
Biafra: What governors would have done to Tinubu if he was an Igbo man – Uwazuruike
Ralph Uwazuruike, founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has alleged that if Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was an Igbo man, governors from the South East would have sent him on exile from the region.
He observed that governors in the South East never respected those that, “anointed” them into power.
In a chat with Punch, Uwazuruike maintained that such, “retrogressive mentality” is responsible for the retrogression in the South East.
Uwazuruike said, “If an Igbo man sponsors another person to be governor, that governor becomes his enemy the next day. Juxtapose it with what is happening in Yoruba land.”
“If (Bola) Tinubu had been an Igbo man, he would have gone on exile. Look at how many governors he anointed in Yoruba land; they all pay him respect up till today. If it were to be in Igbo land, they would send him out of town immediately. He will not live in Igbo land because they will chase him out. Look at all the Igbo who were anointed governors. How many of them respect those who anointed them?
“That is the mentality of the Igbo man, retrogressive mentality; the mentality that leads to nowhere but doom. So, what Nnamdi Kanu did was of no difference because it is the typical nature of the Igbo man. That is what makes the Igbo man to be backward and they will continue to remain backward until they change their ways of life.”