Govs, police vow to resist him
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
There is rising tension and furry across South-East geopolitical zone following a fresh notice of two-week sit-at-home order issued by the self-acclaimed Biafra Prime Minister, Mazi Simon Ekpa.
Ekpa had declared another sit-at-home to commence July 31 to August 14 as part of the intensified activities of Biafra agitators to press home their demand for the unconditional release of the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The fresh order is coming less than 24 hours after the end of one-week sit-at-home that left some people killed and humiliated in parts of the region.
Ekpa, on Tuesday, tweeted the fresh lockdown of the zone on his Twitter handle.
The tweet obtained by Ikengaonline read: “Following the demand by the Biafra people for more sit-at-home civil disobedience, the Biafra Republic Government In-Exile (BRGIE) and Biafra De Facto Government In Homeland wish to notify Biafrans that there will be a sit-at-home civil disobedience starting from 31 July, 2023 to 14 August, 2023.”
According to the Finland-based Ekpa, the sit-at-home order is to demand “the immediate and unconditional release of IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who remains illegally detained at the DSS dungeon.”
He also said it was in preparation for “Biafra’s self-referendum and to further put the world on notice that Biafrans are taking their future into their own hands.”
According to Ekpa who identifies himself as Biafra Prime Minister, the exercise will be observed “to invalidate the illegitimacy of those who parade themselves as Nigeria’s representatives within Biafran territory.
“The sit at home will therefore take place in the following order: Monday, 31 July, 2023 to Friday, 4 August 2023 and there will be total lockdown in Biafraland.”
He said that on Saturday, 6th August, and Sunday, 7th August, the two-week long sit-at-home will go on break as all Biafran markets will be opened.
“From Monday, 7th August to Friday, 11 August, there will be total lockdown in Biafraland while on Saturday, 12 August and Sunday, 13 August 2023 there will be a break as all Biafran markets will open,” Ekpa said.
“On Monday, 14 August, there will be lockdown in Biafraland. We hereby call on all market leaders to strictly adhere to this order and treat it with utmost seriousness.
“We also call on all oil companies operating in the Biafran territory to shutdown oil exploration on these dates to avoid the anger of the Biafran people, which may come with heavy consequences.”
Meanwhile the latest threat to lock down South-East has elicited angry reactions from security agencies and leaders in Igboland.
The zone 9 Police Command comprising Abia, Imo and Ebonyi States, has vowed to stoutly stop the order.
The zonal Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO Bruno Iheanetu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said that allowing the order by a non-state actor, would mean a failure on the part of the police.
“The police cannot swallow this,” he fumed.
Continuing, the Police Spokesperson said: “We cannot ask law-abiding citizens to stay indoors for two weeks because of a sit-at-home order issued by non-state actors.
“Asking citizens to stay at home for two weeks will be a slap on the face of the Nigeria Police. We cannot swallow that.
“If law abiding citizens are forced to stay indoors for two weeks, that means the Nigeria police have failed!”
He disclosed that the AIG in charge of the Zone, Echeng Echeng, had already summoned a meeting of all the Commissioners of Police under the Command on how to strategically tackle the challenge.
According to him, heavy equipment and manpower had been deployed to safeguard lives and property of residents.
“The AIG has summoned a meeting of all CPs in the zone. Equipment and manpower have been deployed to curb the menace of sit-at-home enforcers and other non-state actors in the zone.
“The CPs have been handed operational orders on how to checkmate the excesses of these non-state actors.
“We have identified the black spots, and we have the nipping points. Manpower and heavy equipment have been deployed to man all the black spots.”
He also said that police had increased visibility policing in all the states under the zone.
“The patrol teams we have rolled out are heavily armed to protect law-abiding citizens,” he added.
He warned trouble makers to steer clear from the zone as any attempt to breach public peace would be vehemently resisted by security agencies.
Ikengaonline recalls that South-East political leaders yesterday met in Abuja to strategise on how to restore peace in the region.
They also agreed to seek audience with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on releasing Kanu whose continued and illegal detention is believed to be fueling the insecurity in South-East.
Governors, National Assembly members and other critical stakeholders from the zone including Ohanaeze chieftains were at the Abuja meeting .
Addressing newsmen after the meeting the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu said all the leaders across political party lines had decided to work together for the good of the region.
Similarly, the Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum, Senator Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, said the meeting reviewed the worsening insecurity in Igboland, and took some resolutions on how to tackle it.
“As the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum (SEGF), I communicated measures being considered by the Governors in tackling the insecurity, one of which is the planned high-powered delegation to the President,” Uzodimma tweeted.
He added: “While we acknowledge the efforts of the Federal Government in the past, we are optimistic that under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we will receive adequate interventions necessary to nip the menace in the bud.”
Kanu has remained in solitary confinement at the Abuja headquarters of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 2021 when he was abducted in Kenya and extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria.
Despite many court judgments including the Opinion of the United Nations on Human Rights for Kanu to be unconditionally released and compensated for his illegal detention, the Nigerian Government has refused to comply with the court orders.