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Biafra: MASSOB warns S-east governors on enforcement of IPOB ban

The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, on Saturday said the South-East Governors Forum has no powers to proscribe the activities of pro-Biafra groups in the zone.

It warned that any attempt by the governors to enforce the proscription will lead to loss of lives.

Elombah.com reports that the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum who is also the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, has attributed the proscription of the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra to the agitation for secession by the group.

Umahi spoke in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, on Saturday while briefing journalists on the resolution of his colleagues on the activities of IPOB and the “Operation Python Dance” launched by the military in the South –East.

The governor insisted that the decision would be enforced in the five states.

But MASSOB said the decision taken by the governors cannot stand.

National Director of Information, MASSOB, Samuel Edeson, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH in Enugu, described the pro-Biafra groups as independent associations of people whose rights to self determination are backed by the United Nation’s Charter.

Edeson argued that the governors can only enforce the proscription after amending the laws of South-East states to criminalise self determination.

According to him, “The governors said they will enforce the proscription, the only way they can do that is by using the shoot-on-sight approach which was started by the Buhari administration. In that case people will die.

“The fact is that MASSOB was never registered under the Nigerian government; neither did we register under the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“We are an independent organisation, we are freedom fighters — there is nowhere in the world where a self determination group is proscribed.

“It (proscription) cannot stand; nobody can drive us away from our father’s land.”

Ohanaeze Ndigbo also faulted Nigeria army’s declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation. Ohanaeze said, “IPOB is not a terrorist organization going by extant national and international laws, especially the terrorist prevention Act 2011, as amended in 2015.”

 It however praised the South-East Governors for stopping conflict in the region.  In a communique read by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, the group condemned the military operation in the zone and urged the army to terminate the exercise henceforth.

But according to Governor Umahi, “The Igbo are not looking for secession at this time, it is not the solution to our problem. If we want Biafra, it is the leaders of the South-East that would be in the fore-front of it, not any other person.

“The ideals and beliefs of IPOB have gone beyond the initial thought of IPOB leaders. Anybody can agitate but it must be devoid of insults from any sources.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has shown maturity in the handling of insults, there must be disagreement, but such disagreement must not degenerate to insulting the President of the country.”

Umahi said there was no way the South-East governors would have supported the activities of IPOB.

He said, “We have the people’s mandate, our task is to avoid shedding of blood and ensure a peaceful existence of our people.

“We had invited Nnamdi Kanu on two occasions, and he honoured our invitation. We told him that he cannot be insulting President Buhari, it is not the solution to the problem of the South-East geo-political zone of the country.”

On the allegations of torture allegedly committed by soldiers involved in the “Operation Python Dance” in Umuahia  and  Aba, Umahi said the South-East Governors have set up a committee to investigate all the allegations.

He said, “We must reiterate that any body found culpable will face the full wrath of the law and be prosecuted.”

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