Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Anambra-born Emeka Okafor who is currently taking refuge in Ghana has advised the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other agitators across Nigeria to embrace peaceful dialogue rather than incessant killings and wanton destruction of properties.
Okafor, who gave the admonition via a statement he circulated on the social media, said the agitators might be right in their own estimations but their modus operandi might contravene the fundamental human rights of Nigerian citizens.
He said there was need to jaw-jaw to placate every group so that Nigerians could co-exist peacefully without fear of ethno-religious crisis and all forms of uprising to enable citizens who had eloped to other countries for safety to return home.
According to him, “IPOB must be mindful and understand that it is not all Igbos that believe in their cause or agitation, especially their mode of operation.
“I am of the opinion that extreme activities cannot yield desired result except dialogue hence my refusal to accept the ‘let the end justify the means’ approach of IPOB.
“I have at different fora, though unofficial, accented to dialogue as a better and result oriented alternative to armed struggle, the Igbo nation has not been able to itemise the obvious discrimination we face and confront head-on the Nigerian state with it, our politicians have all been rent seeking and bother less about the plight of the governed.
“IPOB should also remember the number of human rights abuses their members have committed against individuals, journalists, businessmen, civil servants, and those with dissenting views against their activities in Nigeria.They should embrace peace and let Nigeria stand firm.
“My IPOB ordeal started in May 30th 2017 after IPOB and MASSOB gave a sit-at-home order to mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the defunct Republic of Biafra and to honor the heroes and heroines of the struggle.
“The order was highly complied with in the five states of the South East, and by IPOB members in Port Harcourt, Kano, Asaba, Lagos, Bayelsa etc. Most markets, banks and schools in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states, including those in the rural areas, were closed and the roads were totally deserted in the early hours of the morning.
“Some of my business colleagues and I went on with our daily business activities on the said day in Enugu because we believe in Biafra but found the sit-at-home order as being uncalled for. We were attacked by IPOB members who claimed that we disrespected the sit-at-home order given by their leader.
“We had no option but to fight back in self-defense because that seems to be the only means of our escape from their attack, after which we were labeled as saboteurs and we started receiving several life-threatening phone calls and attacks from them. We became so frightened and the alarm of fear took over our lives which made us to move into hiding.
“I relocated with my family to Kano in October 2017 and changed my mobile number, believing that I had started breathing a fresh air of freedom without knowing that IPOB network is widely spread in Nigeria. I have been on the run ever since. I left Nigeria with my family to a West African country where we now find peace and leaving as humans that we are.”
He however queried why the fear of IPOB has suddenly become the beginning of wisdom. He therefore insisted that all should return to the round table and jaw-jaw instead of war-war!
He said, “There are faulty lines and the earlier a steep change is applied the better for us all, and we would have achieved so much without the loss of lives and a bullet shot.
“Someday when this happens then I will return and that to me will be the real Biafra which has long been denied us as a people.”