Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has threatened to retaliate any attack against Ndigbo living in any part of Nigeria by their host as a result of their choices of candidates in the forthcoming polls.
This is coming less than a week after the Baale of Igbara in Etiosa Local Government Area of Lagos State, threatened to deal with any Igbo in the area that failed to vote for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
IPOB which gave the warning in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said any attempt to victimise the Igbo in any part of the country because of their political choices would be vigorously resisted.
The pro-Biafra movement said that in as much as it had no interest in the Nigeria elections, it would not tolerate any attack against Igbos as a result of their choice of candidates at the polls, adding that any Biafran who wants to participate in the forthcoming polls is free to do so without fear.
The statement read: “The attention of the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been drawn to a threat from a small village Monarch in Yoruba Land to the effect that they will deal with non-indigenes especially Ndigbo who don’t vote in the upcoming elections according to the wish of the monarch. This sort of threat tells you all you need to know about the Nigerian selection process which they like to call election.
“IPOB as a freedom movement do reaffirm our non-recognition and or participation of (in) the Nigerian electoral process because the results do not represent the will of the people and this is why someone somewhere will have the gumption to threaten what they called non-indigens and the Igbo nation in particular. While we Biafrans await a date for Referendum, nobody should threaten Ndigbo and Biafrans residing temporarily in other parts of Nigeria for any reason.
“IPOB wants to state unequivocally that any attack in any part of Nigeria on the Biafran people or the Igbo nation or their properties on account of the choice of individuals they vote for will be met with adequate and commensurate action.
“We urge men and women of good conscience in the North and West to caution their traditional rulers and politicians who want to use Ndigbo and Biafrans as scapegoats in this skewed election process to be very careful and retrace their step.
“Gone are the days when Ndigbo will be threatened and intimidated during elections. As long as Biafrans have not been given the opportunity to exit Nigeria via a referendum, IPOB will not standby and watch any Nigerian or non-Nigerian to threaten Biafrans or carry out such threats against us and get away with it.
“Even as IPOB does not wish to be drawn into the Nigeria politics, nobody has the right to threaten Ndigbo or attempt to compel them to vote for a particular party or candidate.
“Any Biafran who wants to vote in this election has the right to vote for any party or candidate of his/her choice, and nobody should direct or threaten them to vote a particular party in their community or state.
“If anyone threatens to attack Ndigbo and Biafrans or non-indigenes residents in your place, rest assured that the people being attacked will not sit and watch their property and lives being destroyed and will activate their right to Self Defence.
“We are urging Ndigbo, Biafrans and non-indigenes everywhere to be prepared to defend their property, families and their own lives during and after this election period. Do not allow anyone to use you or your family as a sacrificial lamb this time around.
“It is very imperative that we remind those who think highly of themselves and believe they will resort to violence and attack Biafrans that they do not have the monopoly of violence.
“Until Referendum is conducted and Biafrans exit Nigeria, those who have the habit of threatening and attacking Ndigbo must understand that it will not be business as usual this time around because their lives also will be in danger when they attack others.
“Those who believe that Biafrans are soft targets to threaten and attack at will, should know that it will not be so this time around. They never threatened Fulani not to vote for any other party except their own party and their own person but rather directed their misguided outbursts against Biafrans and Ndigbo. We dare them to attack NDIGBO and Biafrans this time around and see what will happen.
“We are monitoring all the groups, institutions or individuals that threaten to attack Ndigbo. If they use election as pretext to attack Ndigbo and their properties nationwide, we are ready to answer adequately and proportionately.”
IPOB urged Ndigbo not to panic but rather get ready to defend themselves if attacked by anybody.
“Ndigbo nationwide must be prepared because they are coming to show us that we don’t belong to Nigeria, while they continue to deny Igbo, Biafrans the right to Self Determination.
“Every Igbo person must get ready to defend himself or herself. As long as Nigeria forced and kept us into this unwanted contraption, we are advising Biafrans to be fully ready to meet the coming challenge squarely and unwaveringly.”