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Independence Day: Ignore IPOB’s threats, police tell South-East

The Indigenous People of Biafra, on Friday, said it will shut down every nook and crannies of the South-East geo-political zone on October 1 (Independence Day), vowing the event will not be held in the region.

The group said events in the country as ‘spearheaded’ by its leadership in the past 63 years did not show South-East was part of Nigeria, stressing, “Anyone seen celebrating the Nigeria flag Independence in Biafraland will regret his or her life.

It further called on the governors of the region and other political leaders to shun the exercise, saying no “Nigerian flag will be hoisted in the zone”, in the zone on October 1.

The group’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, said this in a statement on Friday, a copy of which was made available to Saturday PUNCH.

The statement read, “The global family and movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), ably led by the Supreme leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu hereby call on Biafrans both home and in diaspora to shun participation in the Nigeria Independence Day Celebration on 1st October 2023.

“Every sensible Biafra citizen must understand that Nigeria detests Biafrans, particularly Ndigbo. Nigeria has rejected all our efforts to be treated as equal citizens. Nigeria has marginalized Biafrans politically and economically.

“Since Nigeria has rejected us, we have also rejected Nigeria and her celebrations. The Nigeria Government and Nigeria citizens have time after time demonstrated that we are not part of them; and therefore, we must do everything possible to liberate ourselves from the bondage of Nigeria.

“As Nigeria’s government plans to celebrate her flag Independence from Britain, we advise eastern region governors and political leaders to shun the October 1st Independence celebration in our region.

“Moreso, we advise Biafrans not to attend any Independence celebration anywhere within Biafra territory or outside of it. Hence, IPOB has banned the Independence Day celebration and flying of Nigeria flags in any part of Biafraland on October 1st, 2023.

“After 63 years of flag independence of Nigeria from Britain, there is nothing to show for it. Ordinary electricity, security, or good roads Nigeria can’t provide for her citizens.

“As little as conducting free and fair election has been impossible in the most fantastically corrupt nation in the world called Nigeria. Every institution in Nigeria has been polluted and corrupted by bribery and stealing.”

It further maintained the leaders of the country were paying lip-service towards protection of lives and property, adding, “Nigeria is a destiny destroyer for all nations inside it and every citizen therein.”

“Other smaller African nations can boast of providing a safe, secure, and productive country for their citizens, but Nigeria keeps going from bad to worse.”

But when contacted, the Ebonyi State Police Command said operatives of the police force will ensure round-the-clock security surveillance in all the nooks and crannies of the state.

The spokesperson further said, “Residents should go about their lawful businesses without fear of threat or intimidation, and report any suspicious person or thing to the nearest police station.”

Tinubu may release Kanu  

Meanwhile, a former governor of the old Anambra State and Chairman, Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has said there is likelihood that President Bola Tinubu will release the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, as special gift to the South-East for the celebration of the country’s 63rd Independence anniversary.

Kanu was arrested in June 2021, by operatives of the Department of State Services.

He has also spent three years in their custody but his continued detention has been greeted with several reactions as people clamoured and pleaded with the federal government for his release.

Several groups and leaders in the Southeastern part of the country had urged the Federal Government to release the IPOB leader, saying it was the only way peace could be restored in the region.

Speaking in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, Ezeife said while former President Muhammadu Buhari was still in office, some leaders from the South-East region met with him to solicit Kanu’s release.

He added that Buhari gave them the impression that Kanu would be released after the meeting but he still remained in the custody of the DSS under the instruction of the federal government.

According to him, their expectation was that when President Bola Tinubu officially resumed his presidential duties, one of the things expected to be pronounced by him was the release of the IPOB leader, noting that other concerned leaders met with him (Tinubu) on Kanu’s matter.

He further urged that the Federal Government should pronounce Kanu’s release to surprise the region, especially as the country celebrates its 63rd Independence Day on Sunday, October 1, 2023.

Meanwhile, the Igboezue International Association Nigeria and the Diaspora, also urged the South East governors to make the release of the leader of IPOB, top on their agenda during the South-East Security and Economic Summit starting on Friday in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

He further urged that the Federal Government should pronounce Kanu’s release to surprise the region, especially as the country celebrates its 63rd Independence Day on Sunday, October 1, 2023.

The group, through its National President, Chief Pius Okoye, insisted that the release of Kanu would return the needed peace and meaningful security back to the South-East, urging the governors to ensure that Ohanaeze Ndigbo did not only participate in the summit but their views should be accepted and implemented to the letters for peace to return to South-East.