Sequel to President Buhari’s recent broadcast and Tuesday’s alleged directive to security chiefs to handle the agitations for self determination the same way as Boko Haram and herdsmen, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has advised President Muhammadu Buhari against provoking another civil war in Nigeria by threatening to deal with freedom fighters as terrorists.
Reacting from his Umuahia country home, the IPOB Leader argued that it was illogical for Buhari to roup Biafran agitators with global terror organisations like Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, advising Buhari to rather concentrate efforts on governance and how to take Nigeria out of economic recession instead of issuing threats to intimidate genuine agitators.
He the President to learn from former US President, Dwight Eisenhower who was a former military commander but turned a democrat when he was voted into power, stating “The directive to service chiefs to clamp down on IPOB is a continuation of the Buhari’s dictatorial and undemocratic approach to governance. I find it unacceptable, abhorrent, and insulting that somebody elected by the people can turn around to dictate to them.
“Buhari was elected to govern Nigeria. He should get on with the business of governance and not try to instigate another war.”
According to him, “IPOB would not be forced to take up arms no matter the provocation. We have refused to be provoked to arms rebellion. That is what Buhari is looking for. Buhari wants a war but we won’t oblige him because we are civilised people. We are democrats at heart by nature and by essence.”
He however, said that no amount of threat or intimidation would make him give up the struggles for Biafra autonomy because it is a genuine cause, challenging the President to defeat advocates of self-determination with superior arguments on why Nigeria should continue as one indivisible country instead of thinking he could cow them into submission by force.
“his notion and idea that we can intimidate them or bang them into submission does not work with Nnamdi Kanu. I only respond to reason and logic. I am not scared by threats.
“Defeat me with superior arguments not with the force of arms because it won’t work with me. Nigeria never defeated Biafra. Britain and other devilish powers did. Nigeria can never defeat Biafra.”
Kanu accused Buhari of hypocrisy by supporting the independence bid of Palestine and Western Sahara on the one hand while clamping down on Biafran agitators on the other.
“How come Buhari is supporting Palestinian self- determination, Western Sahara self- determination but wants Biafrans to be killed? That is sheer monumental hypocrisy. I want everybody liberated – Yoruba, Igbo, Jokun, Ijaw, Ibibio, etc. Convince me why Nigeria is a better option using sensible reasonable argument and not threats”.
Kanu further maintained that IPOB is a non- violent organisation which does not justifiably deserve equal treatment with Boko Haram and herdsmen which have taken up arms against the people.
“We are not armed and we can never be armed. IPOB has done a lot to free other ethnic nationalities from the Caliphate bondage of retrogression and economic emasculation. Other ethnic nationalities should be grateful to IPOB for giving them the courage and the heart to speak up and say they are not slaves.
“We are not afraid because IPOB is a peaceful mass movement and not a violent arms group. IPOB is a non-violent peaceful mass movement. There is no recorded event of an injury being sustained in any of the numerous IPOB gatherings. People converge in their millions to listen to this gospel of the restoration of Biafra.
“We are the most disciplined, most well- behaved, mass movement anywhere on the face of the earth despite the genocidal killings, arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions without trial.
Kanu provided explanations on the formation of the Biafra Security Services (BSS) , saying the secret police was set up to gather intelligence and not to bear arms contrary to some media reports.
According to him, BSS was basically inaugurated to gather intelligence about the October 1 quit notice to Igbo living in the North; and to also defend communities in Biafra land against herdsmen invasion.
He vehemently denied setting up any army contrary to speculations, dismissing it as a fabrication of media outfits to attract readership and wider patronage.
Kanu also said it was a ploy by the enemies to justify their plot to use crude force against peaceful agitators.
“No army was set up. Forget the distortions you see in the media. They only do so to attract traffic. What we have is only BSS set up to give us intelligence regarding the October 1 quit notice to Ndigbo living in the North.
“We are students of history. The same thing happened in 1966. No adequate arrangements were made to cater for the safe return of our people from the North and as a result, hundreds of thousands of people were massacred.
“All that IPOB is trying to do is to avoid the reoccurrence of the 1966 genocidal massacre of innocent Igbo men, women and children in the North. It is to prevent the menace of Fulani herdsmen which Buhari cleverly avoided to mention during his broadcast because they are his kinsmen. This means that he supports the killings of innocent people by herdsmen as a way of expanding their Islamic domination agenda
“The majority of our people across South-South and South East support what IPOB is doing. They also support the formation of BSS that will take care of this land in terms of its security needs. Attacks by the rampaging Hausa/ Fulani herdsmen will be a thing of the past. We can no longer allow it to go on.”
“People talk about BSS as if it is something new. They have the Shariah police in the North. They also have the Hisbah police in the North answerable to Islamic courts. In the West they have OPC but here in the South East we have nothing. Why is it that when I want to safeguard the interest of Biafra, they begin to kick against it?
Asked how BSS would confront the rampaging herdsmen since the former is not armed, Kanu said “we don’t need arms to disarm people who are carrying guns; we know the terrains of our villages better than they”.
“We are fighting a lopsided, fundamentally corrupt system that has held people down in abject poverty for decades, leading to premature deaths, high scale of unemployment, and complete decimation of the economic landscape. We are fighting a system which has made the rest of us slaves to people who are not qualified to hold public office.
“Do you think that if things were working very well that anybody would want to leave Nigeria? I am a pan Africanist. I want to establish good governance that will extend to the ends of Africa. The way Nigeria was formed and handed over to a band of scavengers can no longer be tolerated.
“The agitation is not against anybody. We are pursuing an ideal nation where hospitals and schools can function. IPOB is building roads but the media will not report that. We don’t molest people because we are under oath to defend those that cannot defend themselves. We cannot bring one to our people but we must agitate.
“I want the world to understand why we are canvassing ceaselessly for our freedom. It is because of the divergent value system in Nigeria. To Buhari as a Fulani man, the only way he can solve a problem is via brute force. But we are not cows that can be beaten into submission. We are not cattle. You must appeal to our sense of reasoning.”
He disagreed with the President on his claims that he agreed with the late Biafran warlord, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, that Nigeria would remain one indivisible country, stating “Biafra agitation preceded Ojukwu. We are agitating for the Biafra that existed before the white man came. We fought to keep Arochukwu standing. We Formed Ekumeku in Anioma and Ahaba which the white man could not defeat.
“Our late Leader Ojukwu and Buhari could not considerably sit in a room to decide the fate of 180 million people. They said Ojukwu said there will be no Biafra which is a lie any way, can two people decide for millions of others?
“No matter how small a clan is, everybody deserves to be heard. I want Buhari to defeat me with the superiority of his argument and not threats.”
On allegations by critics that IPOB members lack intellectual depth, Kanu asked “What have those with enormous amount of intelligentsia achieved in the last 50 years after the civil war?
“What have the so called elite elicited for us? A palm wine tapper can be an intellectual. It is not by accumulation of degrees. Look at the Emirs and Northern leaders defending herdsmen and Northern youths but no Igbo leader is defending us.
“Are they more intelligent than I am? I am a political economist and I started in England. I run nine consultancy firms but I don’t want to advertise that. I listen to carpenters and they make more sense than those in Abuja.”
Insisting on the boycott of November 18 Anambra governorship elections Kanu said “only the beneficiaries of the crumbs from Aso Rock will support those calling on me to rescind the boycott order.”
Kanu decried the ordeals of Nigerians as a result of the prevailing economic hardship, saying that people are now committing suicide out of frustration.
“We have up to 10 dead bodies in our village now. People are secretly committing suicide because they are frustrated and are tired of living. They want freedom.
“Knowing who we are, we don’t dominate people. We are the only people that their value system is underpinned by the principles of live and let live.”
On the reports that the fiery Anambra priest, Rev. Father Ebube Muonso warned Kanu against calling for Nigerian disintegration, he said the cleric was quoted out of context by the enemies of Biafra.
“People are trying to divide us by fabricating all sorts of lies. There is a deliberate plot to distort facts to cause confusion within us. They said I am against Obiano, how can I be against him? He has even apologized for what happened. How can I be against any Niger Delta Governor?
“We fight against decades of oppression subjugating everybody in Nigeria. Everybody must sit around the table to say if this marriage is working or not. ”
“With the intelligence, we will disarm the Fulani herdsmen and stop them from the mayhem they inflict on Igbo people. We are not armed and we can never be armed”.
Kanu also warned Federal Government not to send soldiers in disguise as Fulani herdsmen to Igbo land to clamp down IPOB members, saying the move would be resisted, stressing that he was not afraid of being re-arrested but cautioned it might be counterproductive.