By Nwanosike Onu, Awka; Emma Elekwa, Onitsha; Chris Njoku, Owerri and Sunny Nwankwo, Umuahia
Until pro-Biafra agitator Nnamdi Kanu is released, political appointees and lawmakers in Abuja must not set foot in the Southeast, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) threatened yesterday.
The group said the leaders must not return without Kanu, who is on trial over an alleged treasonable felony and terrorism charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the group said: “As terrorists and insecurity are gradually but surely taking over the Nigeria seat of power Abuja, we…wish to remind the so-called elders and politicians of Igbo extraction in Abuja never to return home to Biafraland without Mazi Kanu.
“We express our delight over the fulfilment of most if not all the prophecies of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”
IPOB said terrorists were threatening to extend their nefarious acts beyond Abuja.
“The entire South is not safe anymore. There is an urgent need for the South to strategise and get the already infiltrated terrorists out of our territories without delay.
“As there is fire on the mountain and Abuja is being encircled by terrorists, we advise Biafra politicians in Abuja never think of returning to Southeast region without coming back with Mazi Kanu.
“They must do all they can to ensure that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is back here in the East with them because Abuja is no more safe.
“The land of Biafra and our ancestors will not spare them if they return to East without Mazi Nnamdi Kanu being released unconditionally from the DSS custody…”
IPOB said Kanu should be unconditionally released and compensated in line with a recommendation of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
The UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had indicted Nigerian and Kenyan governments for the arrest and extraordinary rendition of Kanu.
It urged the Nigerian government to ensure “immediate release of Kanu unconditionally” and pay him compensation for the violation of his fundamental human rights.
IPOB had declared and later suspended a Monday sit-at-home to protest Kanu’s detention, but residents continue to comply out of fear of attack.
Residents of Aba, the commercial centre, and Umuahia, the state capital, have been observing the sit-at-home, but more businesses are opening on Mondays.
There was increased human and vehicular movement in the state yesterday.
Some of the residents said they would open their businesses on Mondays if their security is guaranteed.
Imo monarch sues for peace
Also yesterday, the Chairman of Imo State Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, urged IPOB to embrace peace.
He said: “Kanu has said nobody should kill or destroy any property belonging to the Igbo, because if such happens, who will remain to be ruled in the land?
“If you ask people or politicians not to come home, it will not solve the problem. We should be patient and move obediently and allow God to finish His work.
“It is only a blind person that will not see that God has already intervened in Nigeria’s affair.”
Okeke said God has His own way of solving problems that people think are insurmountable.
“It is not proper to apply fight in solving problems because God has his own ways of fighting for his children. Killing and destruction cannot bring peace, but God’s way is the best,” he said.
According to him, the God that separated the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass and for Pharaoh and his soldiers to perish “is still the same God and He knows the right thing to do for us at the right time.”
Also, the Anglican Archbishop on the Niger, Alexander Ibezim, urged the Igbo to stay united.
He spoke in Awka ahead of his 60th anniversary on Friday.
The Anglican Prelate emphasised that a divided house can never stand, adding that the major problem Ndigbo and the entire South has was disunity.
Anambra residents turn Mondays to meeting days
Residents of Anambra now hold community meetings on Mondays.
At the people’s club building along the Onitsha/Owerri road and at a hotel along the ever-busy Onitsha/Asaba/Benin expressway, town union meetings were held.
Chairman of a social club in Onitsha, Mr. Ikem Ozonachi, said: “We now have our weekly meeting on Mondays since it is a work-free day.
“It was held every Saturday but we resolved to shift it to Mondays since it is a sit-at-home.”
A resident of Okpoko community in Ogbaru Local Government Area, John Onyekwuha, said the sit-at-home period now served as an opportunity to meet on how to move the community forward.
At Nnewi, a resident, Chief Philip Yagazie, added: “We used to hold our town union meetings every Saturday, but it is now every Monday because it is a work-free day.”
A teacher in Awka said: “Our club meeting is now held every Monday.”
The Southeast caucuses in the Senate and House of Representatives could not be reached for comments on IPOB’s demands.