PRESS RELEASE: Persecution and Unlawful Arrest of Igbos and the Abduction of Nnamdi Kanu
Prof. Francis O.C. Nwonwu
Sunday 18 July, 2021
Buhari's Loathe for Igbos
The Igbo Community in Pretoria South Africa has observed with uneasy silence the unprovoked aggression against the Igbos of South East States of Nigeria since 2015 when the present Nigerian government led by Mohammad Buhari came into office.
Mohammadu Buhari ever since his election has not made secret his hatred and venomous loathe for Igbos.
In a press interview soon after being elected president, he publicly made his unfortunate but widely publicized pernicious 97% and 5% declaration. The mathematical fallacy of the statement notwithstanding, by this vengeful utterance, Buhari implied that as Igbo votes accounted for only 5% of the votes he garnered in the Presidential Elections, Igbos will get only 5% of his presidential attention.
President Buhari ever since has systematically implemented this his avowed intention to the letter. He began by removing virtually all Igbo elements in strategic national positions. He swiftly retired all Igbo high-ranking officers in the armed forces, civil service, and government parastatals such that today Igbos are not represented in virtually all federal government security outfits and decision-making bodies.
Igbos are deliberately excluded from all federal government infrastructural development programmes. A glaring example of this ignominious treatment is the proposed North-South rail line that conspicuously excluded the predominantly Igbo States of Abia, Anambra, Ebony, Enugu, and Imo.
Buhari's government treats Igboland like a conquered territory by fraudulently imposing unpopular leaders that seek its interest rather than the interest of Igbo people; policing every nook and cranny of the five southeast states with armed military, police, and militia that mount roadblocks on every kilometer of the region’s roads harassing and extorting money from local road users; and deploying armed personnel into the Igbo hinterland with a brutal ‘shoot at sight order.
The punitive alienation of Igbos from the political and governance landscape of Nigeria with unapologetic impunity stirred up emotions among millions of the now disenfranchised Igbos, especially the large population of unemployed youths.
Naturally, the open discrimination triggered agitations for freedom, equity, justice, fair play, equal opportunity, and inclusiveness that led to the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement.
Nigerian Government Perception and Treatment of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB
IPOB started as and remained unarmed political activism and freedom agitation movement whose members expressed the injustice meted to Igbo people through occasional non-violent and flag-carrying demonstrations and rallies.
The Nigerian government in a frenzied show of vexation branded IPOB a terrorist organization. And using all the arms and ammunition in its military arsenal unleashed a manhunt for IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu starting on September 12, 2017.
On September 14, 2017, the government deployed the most uncanny military attack on an unarmed civilian population in Nnamdi Kanu’s home village in Abia State. Codenamed Operation Python Dance the army swooped on the home of Nnamdi Kanu in a mission to kill him. At the end of the operation, 28 people were killed, many were injured, youths in the vicinity were rounded up and subjugated to subhuman treatments, and Nnamdi Kanu's parents suffered traumatic shocks that led to their eventual deaths soon after the mayhem.
If all these calculated intents to annihilate the Igbos by the Buhari-led government do not constitute acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing, we don’t know what is.
We recall that President Buhari actioned his genocidal orgy when he tweeted that he would “Teach them in the language they understand” in reference to the carnage done to the predominantly Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria during the 1967-1970 genocidal war in which he played a major part. The ill-intention of the post was quickly acknowledged by Twitter, causing the Internet giant to delete the post about 2nd June this year.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram that the Buhari-led government claims have been ‘tactically defeated’ has overrun many villages in the North East, North West, and North Central. The terrorist organization has claimed vast territories and has hoisted its flag in the conquered areas. More organizations of similar ilk have continually invaded schools and taken hostage hundreds of school children. Miyetti Allah's armed bandits have been ravaging towns and villages and kidnapping people for ransom across the country. Gun-toting herdsmen armed with AK-47 rifles invade villages, homes, and farms in Igboland; kill and maim farmers and children; and rape and kill innocent women and girls.
Yet, with all these killings, the Federal Government has not arrested any of these murderous criminals; has not branded them terrorists; and has not proscribed them.
The Federal Government has not deployed its military armament to reclaim the territories lost to the armed bandits nor deployed the same to rescue the abducted school children.
Rather than treat the bandits as terrorists, the government pays them ransom money in hundreds of millions; dialogues and negotiates with them, grants them amnesty; and integrates them into the armed forces. What a comedy of errors and travesty of justice?
On or about 27th June the Nigerian government abducted Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya and extradited him to Nigeria. An act that violates his constitutional rights, international law, and diplomatic protocols.
In view of these glaring and naked acts of aggression against the Igbos by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Igbo Community in Pretoria, South Africa through its Imeobi Pretoria - The Policy and Decision Making Organ of the Community hereby demand as follows:
1. That the Federal Government should stop forthwith the habitual deployment of armed military and police personnel that intimidates, abduct, and kill unarmed Igbo youths in many areas of the South East States.
2. That Nnamdi Kanu is unconditionally released unharmed with immediate effect.
3. That all suspected terrorists, including the rampaging Fulani herdsmen, be disarmed immediately.
4. That the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency invite all separatist and freedom agitators, including those for Oduduwa Nation, Niger Delta, and Middle Belt independence movements for meaningful dialogue to avert the impending political and social conflagration.
5. A referendum should be conducted soonest to resolve the state of instability and disaffection that has significantly stifled progress and development in the country.
We Appeal to international organizations including the United Nations, European Union, African Union, United States, and the United Kingdom to prevail on the Nigerian Government to implement the above-stated demands without delay.
We further aver that IPOB and the Biafra agitation have become a worldwide phenomenal movement that can no more be ignored. Not even the unlawful abduction and detention of Nnamdi Kanu can stop it. Indeed, the movement has become like the proverbial bamboo tree that: “The more you cut it, the more it sprouts into prominence."
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