In 1999; Ralph Uwazurike was designed by the people of Biafra to stand in the gap for them. Their simple demand was self-determination. Recall, in 2007, UN made self-determination a right, but that right has suffered the effect of a country’s right to sovereignty. Self-determination ultimately becomes a right that can be wielded through strength and not demand, especially when objected.
Ralph Uwazurike embraced diplomacy and civil disobedience enmeshed in peaceful agitation. As time goes on; he began to lose lives of the people of Biafra that placed him in his position as a leader through Nigerian aggressors.
While convening a meeting or peaceful protest to plead the government of Nigeria to consider referendum for the people of Biafra, Nigerian government instead unleashes her soldiers to shoot to kill innocent people of Biafra. Such cases were recorded in Okigwe, Imo, Rivers, Delta, etc.
A decade into his peaceful agitation; the people of Biafra had lost Hundreds of Thousands of lives in an unprovoked manner, yet, the people strongly held on to their peaceful ideology. It was a feast of death instead of a respectable and law abiding protest. Because the people could not defend their lives; Nigerian government had a field day and massacred Biafrans unhindered.
Calls came for self-defense but Uwazurike refused as Hundreds of Thousands of more lives were taken through the barrels of guns of the Nigerian soldiers. When it became quite unbearable; he surrendered himself to the authorities of Nigeria to stop the bloodshed in Biafra but it did not quite click. Nigerian soldiers continued to slaughter the people of Biafra for asking the government to consider referendum.
Multiple arrests without ending bloodshed forced Uwazurike to change strategy which was pounced on by rivals, thus, labeling him a saboteur. To date; members of MASSOB are still subjected to forceful disappearance and extrajudicial killings.
Nnamdi Kanu came into the picture with his radio and by virtue of proper outreach sold himself to the people. It immediately became a second journey to slaughter house in this dispensation. A couple of months into Kanu’s prominence, Hundreds of Thousands have been killed as documented by Intersociety and Amnesty International.
Aba High School massacre, Onitsha bridgehead massacre, Rivers massacre top the list of prominent massacres under IPOB. Thousands were forced into disappearance- it was an unbridled massacre to the point of Amnesty International calling for an action to end the unabated and unprovoked killings.
Nnamdi Kanu was arrested for simply calling for referendum- his home was invaded and every living thing including his dog was killed. He escaped death after nursing a gun injury for one year. The sole aim of Nigerian government was and still remains to kill anyone or people that dare call for self-determination in a failed country.
Biafrans in their Hundreds of Thousands are being tracked to their homes and picked in a commando like style. They are forced into disappearance and sometimes extra-judicially killed and whoever asks question follows suit. There is no place left for the people of Biafra to stay and exercise their rights.
Recently; Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya and extradited to Nigeria; kept in an inhuman state in DSS dungeon for only calling for self-determination. Now; it appears every effort to peacefully address the concern of Biafrans has been exhausted and it is either to accept modern political slavery or defend their lives while calling for self-determination.
Finally; Nigeria has made peaceful change impossible and created a situation self-defense must come first. Biafrans cannot be blamed for whatsoever done to preserve their lives while calling for restoration of their lost sovereignty.
Ifeanyi Chijioke- Activist And Investigative Writer
Writes From Enugu