Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has called on Yoruba Leaders to speak out against the senseless attacks against Igbo interests in Lagos in the aftermath of the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections.
IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, condemned the ongoing Igbophobia in Lagos, challenging Yoruba Leaders to rein in those behind the criminality, to avoid pitching both tribes which have lived together in harmony on a collision course.
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read in part: “The leaders and elders in Yoruba land should call the criminals terrorising Igbos and their sponsors to order before things degenerate into dangerous and unimaginable dimensions.
“Igbo leaders and Traditional Rulers should equally speak out to their Yoruba counterparts. Nobody should blame Ndigbo and the youths for defending themselves against ethnic cleansing and impoverishment agenda.
“This is the time to warn these ethnic political bigots and their thugs to stop destroying Igbo owned businesses and markets in Lagos State.
“Destroying Igbo’s properties in Lagos because of fraud and obsession for re-election that has nothing to do with Ndigbo is barbaric and unacceptable.”
The statement noted that “Igbos are peaceful business people who have contributed to the development of Lagos more than any other ethnic group in Nigeria.”
“Why so much hate and envy against Ndigbo? God Almighty Chukwu Okike Abiama has destined us to be what we are, and no amount of hatred and envy can change God’s blessing for His people.
“Those who don’t like Igbos or are envious of them should tell the Nigeria government to allow a Biafra Referendum so that we can exit Nigeria for good and in peace.”
“IPOB tabled a demand for Biafra exit through a referendum to Nigerians and the Nigeria Government. The earlier that demand is met, the better for all of us to avoid continuous Igbophobia in Nigeria.”
“Lagos State Governor, Yoruba Traditional rulers, their opinion molders, politicians, Afenifere leaders particularly Gani Adams “to do all that is necessary to stop these criminals and their sponsors in their track to avoid igniting a fire that will pitch us against each other while the Caliphate is standing on the sideline laughing at us.”
“These thugs must be compelled to desist from further attacking and bullying Ndigbo that are doing their legitimate businesses in Lagos.
“Lagos Government should know that 2023 is not 1993 and Igbos will defend themselves against these criminals with whatever means available to them.
“We are making this requests in good faith so that tomorrow none should wake up to tell the story from the middle that Ndigbo are fighting their host community.
IPOB, urged Ndigbo living in Lagos, to stoutly defend themselves against ethnic agenda.
It is also on Ndigbo to be vigilant wherever they live.
“IPOB is urging Ndigbo and Biafrans in general resident in the Western Region of Nigeria particularly in Lagos, to be very vigilant and be prepared and ready to defend themselves and their businesses against thugs and criminals if the Nigerian security apparatus is incapable of or unwilling to protect them.
“That same evil bird that sang in the 60s is singing again. Cabals rigged 2023 election to set Ndigbo up against the Yorubas. But we are so much wiser now, and we hope that Yoruba people will not fall into the script of the caliphate.
“The political thugs and criminals hired to terrorise and burn down properties belonging to Ndigbo should know that they have no monopoly of violence, hence, must be prepared to receive at least as much as they give.”
IPOB also dismissed as ridiculous, claims in some quarters that the pro-Biafra movement had deployed special squads to cause mayhem in Lagos ahead of the March 18 governorship and house of assembly elections.
According to IPOB, those behind such unfounded rumours are only seeking cheap popularity but should be ignored.
IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said it had no interest in Nigeria elections, and would not in any way associate with it let alone deploying its men to entangle in it.
“The attention of IPOB has been drawn to the public statement from some persons calling themselves Delta Igbos alleging that IPOB has deployed IPOB Special Squad in Lagos to cause mayhem.
“We would have ignored this fake information from these traitors, but it’s obvious that they are working with the enemies who are recently promoting Igbophobia in Lagos.
“For the avoidance of doubt, IPOBs are not, and can never be party to Nigeria politics. IPOB members are not interested in Nigeria politics and can’t be used as political thugs.
“IPOB will never attack any region, person, or tribe for any reason unless threatened.
“IPOB has never had any record of violence in all our rallies across the world. The scenario that these useless idiots painted in their statement alleging that IPOB Special Squad will burn down Igbo markets for sympathy is like a house owner burning down his house for public sympathy; How pathetic!
“These fools should remember that when Igbos are being killed, they will not be spared or have opportunity to tell the anti-igbo mob that they are Delta Igbos, Balyesa Igbos, Ikwere Igbos, River Niger Igbos or other useless confused names that they may call themselves.
“Therefore, those raising these false alarms should be held responsible for the arson and destruction of Igbo properties. They are the pitiable agents of the tribal bigots in Lagos who are promoting ethnic hatred against Igbos.”
The pro-Biafra movement, claimed that some persons in the South-West, had been compromised by some unpatriotic Northern elements to incite violence against Ndigbo living in Lagos or their business interests.
“Nevertheless, we have acknowledged that cabals have bought over some personalities in Yorubaland to promote ethnic hatred and cause mayhem against Ndigbo.
“We know that the majority of true sons of Oduduwa are not, and will not support the crimes being committed against Igbos resident in Lagos State and other parts of Yorubaland for that matter.
“We also know that these true sons of Oduduwa are not in support of the agenda of the Fulani to cause disaffection between the Yoruba and the Igbo and we must not allow them to succeed.”
IPOB cautioned those being recruited to cause disaffection between Ndigbo and Yoruba to desist from such hatchet jobs.
“We wish to let those being used to cause trouble between the Igbo Nation and Yoruba Nation to retrace their steps and join forces with well meaning Yoruba people and the Igbo people to extricate our people from the quagmire called Nigeria.
“These troublemakers being used to achieve a set objective must understand that Ndigbo will not cower and run away for them but will rather defend themselves against criminals and political thugs anywhere until Biafrans are allowed to exit the contraption called Nigeria.
“If you don’t want Igbos to exercise their rights freely as Nigerians, then allow us to have our Independent State of Biafra.”
The statement said that IPOB would not be lured into any friction with any ethnic group but would remain focused on its agitation for Biafra restoration.
“IPOB will not fall for their bait to engage in any fight with our Yoruba friends and neighbours. The Fulani are not smarter than any other Nation in Nigeria so the Igbo Nation and the Yoruba Nation must not allow them to pitch us against each other.
“Our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, opened a door of cooperation with the Yoruba Nation and the IPOB leadership will maintain that cooperation pending when our leader rejoins us to continue our unstoppable match to freedom.
“It is obvious that tribal politicians in Lagos and Abuja are sponsoring these criminals and political thugs to attack and burn down Igbo people’s businesses and properties as a means to intimidate them all over Nigeria and per chance instigate a fight between the Igbo and their hosts.
“Those who think that they can use intimidation to terrorise Ndigbo into submission should go back to history because Ndigbo are not the type to be intimidated.
“Those who are hoping to replicate the 1960 scenario should advise themselves properly because never again shall we allow our people to be butchered and massacred for the sake of and for the benefit of the British and their Fulani collaborators because a great shock awaits them.”