Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has urged Ndigbo and Biafrans not to joke with the forthcoming population census, but massively participate in the exercise.
IPOB which described the head count as a mock referendum for Biafra independence, said it would afford Biafrans the opportunity to prove that contrary to insinuations, they are not a dot in a hole.
The pro-Biafra movement in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, vowed to stoutly resist any attempt to sabotage or scuttle the exercise in Biafra land.
It, however, argued that considering the unprovoked attacks against Igbos living in Lagos during the general election, it had become imperative for Ndigbo residing outside the South-East to think twice on where to be captured during the exercise.
IPOB said it was annoying for the host states to benefit from the population advantage of Ndigbo in their areas only to be treated as slaves and aliens during political seasons
“Those who disenfranchised Biafrans during the last fraudulent elections should never be allowed to use us to boost their population again.
“They have always used Biafra’s population for a higher allocation yet deny Biafrans opportunity to freely participate in the national issues in their territories. It’s time we use our tongue to count our teeth.
“The mass return of our people during this forthcoming population census will help us quantify the population of Biafrans in Nigeria.
“We must seize the opportunity Nigeria government is offering to our benefit. They have always told the world that we are a dot with an insignificant population.
“Now is the time to let the world know the population of Biafrans in Nigeria as Biafra agitation is gathering international attention and speed.”
IPOB urged South-East Governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the political elite to help mobilise and provide necessary logistics supports for Ndigbo to massively participate in the forthcoming exercise.
It also promised to engage major transport owners on how to assist Ndigbo resident outside South-East that might wish to travel during the exercise.
The statement further read: “IPOB is calling every Biafran resident in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria to travel back to the East and be counted in their home states.
“Kindly disregard any announcement from any quarter asking people not to go back to their state of origin during the census. Don’t let them deceive you. It’s the same agenda to keep falsifying and deceiving the world that we are a small dot in the contraption.
“Should there be any reason why you can’t travel to Biafra land to be counted, make sure you and your family members are not counted outside Biafra Land. We must prove them wrong once and for all.
“IPOB will engage Transport Owners to urge them to be part of this project so that those willing to travel to the East to be counted can do so.
“We are calling on all well-meaning Igbo businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, senators, ministers, commissioners, House of Assembly members from the Eastern States to contribute in one way or the other to ensure that our people come back home during this population census exercise.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide and Governors of Biafra land must show that they are concerned about the humiliation our people have been subjected to in this country.
“Our people’s mass return during this population census to be counted among us have many benefits which includes; validating our majority population in Nigeria that has been manipulated, used, and abused for the attraction of higher allocation from the Federal Government to other states in the past, but can now help us plan for the amenities required in Biafra land like international markets and industrial parks.
“Most importantly, an accurate count of our people will help boost the Biafra Independence movement.
“We know that our enemies will want to continue in their age-long census manipulation that they started in 1948, but we will put a strategy in place to capture our true population figure during this particular census.
“As usual, they will manipulate the true population figures when it gets to the National Population Council office in Abuja. But before then, our people must have captured our true population data from each village to each local government and all the levels.
“It’s our responsibility to tell the world our population size that has been manipulated in favour of other states for many years in the past.
“The 2023 population census is coming, and we encourage all Biafrans outside Biafra land to return to their home to be counted. This will be part of the mock referendum to show our international friends the true population of Biafra.
“All Traditional Rulers, PGs, and Village Heads should ensure that our population is counted, captured, and the population data protected for reference purposes.”