Ethnic Crisis

NSA: IPOB Must Not Test Our Will to Guarantee Peaceful Poll in Anambra

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno, yesterday, warned that nobody or group should test the resolve by the federal government to guarantee the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.

The NSA, who spoke at a meeting of inter-security agencies for the elections, where the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also said the commission was determined to ensure that the Anambra election takes place as scheduled, because according to him, 12 out of 14 items had already taken place.

Also, a coalition of civil society organisations based in the South-east has waded into alleged plans by separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to disrupt the forthcoming Anambra governorship election slated for November 6.

Monguno, who was the co-chairman of election security in Nigeria, spoke against the backdrop of threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to disrupt the exercise and warned that, “For those of us in security, we have already done what we are supposed to do.

“All security agencies have been asked to conduct themselves well in a professional manner and exhibit the highest level of professionalism and restraint and operate within the confines of the law, not in any way that will jeopardise the exercise.

“We are going to ensure that the people of Anambra undergo this exercise without any incident. We want to offer brotherly advice to our brothers, who want to destabilise the process to think again. We are all eager to achieve results that will be acceptable to everybody. I don’t think it will be right for anyone to ignite crisis. Please, think again.

“Yes, the law enforcement agencies will not sit by and allow people terrorise people, commit homicide. They have been told to watched out for these elements. I am appealing to you to stay in your wards and local governments and behave yourself. Anyone that wants to disrupt the process will be brought to book,” the NSA warned.

Reiterating the importance of the November 6 governorship election, Monguno said, “We all know how important it is for us. Election is number one legitimate right of every citizen and we must not deny them that right in an atmosphere devoid of rancour and violence. Just like the chairman said, we need to do better than what we did in Edo and Ondo,” he declared.

On the casualties so far suffered by security agencies and INEC staff in Anambra State, the NSA said, “I know you have gone through a lot of pains, but don’t allow that to dampen your spirit or get into lethargy. I wish you fruitful deliberations.”

The INEC chairman, speaking earlier, said, “Our deployment of non-sensitive materials and training of personnel for the election have virtually been concluded. The Commission has successfully accomplished 12 out of the 14 activities listed in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election released in January this year.

“The two outstanding activities are the last day of campaign, at midnight on Thursday 4th November 2021 and Election Day, which remains Saturday 6th November 2021. The REC for Anambra State is here to fully provide an update on the implementation of other activities and INEC’s general state of readiness for the election.

“INEC is determined to proceed with the Anambra State Governorship election as scheduled. The safety and protection of voters, our personnel, accredited observers, the media and materials are cardinal considerations in any election. We have been assured by the security agencies of a secure environment for the election.

“I am sure the Commissioner Police, Anambra State, in his briefing, will provide more details regarding preparations on the ground. I wish to place on record the continued support of security agencies to the Commission during elections. Particularly noteworthy is the high level of professional conduct of the agencies in the last two major elections in Edo and Ondo States. Indeed, Edo and Ondo have become the standard for securing elections in Nigeria.

“The professionalism and neutrality exhibited by the security agencies in the two elections have been widely praised nationally and internationally. We are confident that this will be replicated in Anambra State,” Yakubu said.

He, therefore, commended the security agencies for the support INEC had received from religious, traditional and community leaders for peaceful elections.

He said the commission was also working with the National Peace Committee under the leadership of a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to bring all political parties and candidates for the Anambra State Governorship election to commit to peace before, during and after the election.

Yakubu later introduced two national commissioners sworn in yesterday. They are Kunle Cornelius Ajayi, a Professor of Political Science at the Ekiti State University and Muhammad Sani Kallah, a retired Professor of Ecology and Range Management at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. They are the new national commissioners representing the South West and North West geo-political zones respectively.

But the civil society groups in the South-east, under the umbrella of Coalition of Southeast Democracy and Human Rights Organisations (CSBDHROs) said the action of the separatist group was targeted at the Anambra election.

Addressing newsmen yesterday in Enugu at an International Press Conference, the organisations said disrupting the Anambra election would not be of any benefit to their struggle, rather, it would aid emergency rule, that would not be to the advantage of Anambra people.

Chairman Board of Trustees of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi, who addressed journalists on behalf of other rights organisations, called on IPOB to rescind their decision, while also calling for the release of Nnamdi Kanu.

“We are calling on our brothers (IPOB) not to toe that line (disrupting election). When a group tells you that they will lockdown the South East from November 4 to November 10, and we know that Anambra has election on November 6 and November 7, what does that tell you? The election is the target.

“We want to tell the IPOB people that nobody knows it all. We have been fighting their cause for a long time, because we know that what they are doing is within their fundamental human right. But we want to tell them that once in a while, they should make consultations.

“They should sometimes reach out to people like us. The people you see here are leaders of CSOs, and seminal thinkers in the South east, ideas are our currency. We implore them to come to us and exchange ideas once in a while, because no one knows it all.”

The groups said to disrupt the election by announcing a sit-at-home exercise on that day would mean calling for emergency rule in the state, which they said would ultimately give the state to the federal government and allow them to impose anyone on her, and that would not be fair.

“That would allow the election to be massively and scientifically rigged or to be stopped will be disastrously calamitous and place the state under ‘Khaki or Agbada Caliphate’ and ‘a nomadic rainforest state’,” Umeagbalasi appealed to the secessionists.

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Ethnic Crisis

IPOB sit-at-home: Anambra adopts Saturday as school day

The Anambra State Government has adopted Saturday as a school day to replace Monday, which has been marked as the sit-at-home day by the Indigenous People of Biafra.

This was made known in a recent memo by the government titled, ‘Anambra State Government Approves Saturday as School Day’, adding that Saturday classes commence on October 30, 2021.

The statement read, “I am directed by the Executive Secretary to inform you that the Anambra State Govt. has approved Saturdays as school days in place of Mondays.

“All HMs are to notify teachers, pupils as well as parents about the new development. Quality Assurance supervision and every other supervision henceforth will hold on Saturdays.

“Every game permission for absent from classes on Saturdays must be addressed to the Executive Chairman ASUBBEB through the Executive Secretary following due process. Saturday classes will commence on 30/10/21 ie next week.”
The State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, confirmed the statement.

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Sit-at-home: Seal any shop closed in solidarity with IPOB, Arewa Group tells Northern Governors

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum has rejected the recent call by the Indigenous People Of Biafra on the Middle Belt people to join its sit-at-home campaign, warning that no section of the north should be a party to “a deliberate, politically-motivated plan to undermine or worsen the nation’s current security challenges.”

In a statement by the group’s National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, in Kaduna on Monday, the AYCF said, “The North has come a long way in understanding the use of constitutional and democratic means of channelling legitimate grievances, and cannot, therefore, be a party to any undemocratic move”.

The AYCF further noted that it appears that the governors of the South-East are satisfied with the activities of IPOB.

The group stated, “We hope they will continue with the sit-at-home for another ten years and we wish them the very best of luck. We know the southeast is IPOB’s home but exporting their activities to the north will be faced with massive resistance from all lovers of peace in the north.”

“We call on Northern Governors to step up action in order to ensure this outlawed terror gang called IPOB does not infiltrate the region. We also expect the governors to ensure that any northerner who shuts down his shop in solidarity with IPOB, that shop should be sealed forever.

“And for the avoidance of doubt, we will not fold our arms and watch the north get further destabilized by a violent strategy, whether in Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Niger or any state in northern Nigeria because our hands are already full with challenges of insecurity and we are praying fervently day and night to find lasting peace”.

AYCF, in the statement, took a swipe at what it described as the use of killings and arson to press home a demand that the democratic process in existence would have taken care of.

“We call on northerners of good conscience to avoid any undemocratic means, including the burning of government-owned structures, where fellow Nigerians legitimately work to feed their families,” the statement added.

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Ethnic Crisis

Nobody can push Igbo out of Nigeria –Ohanaeze

Ohanaeze Ndigbo has assured President Buhari that nobody can push the Igbo out of Nigeria despite several threats from self-determination agitators.

The assurance was contained in a speech delivered by Ohanaeze President General, Prof. George Obiozor during his visit to Imo State.

While appealing for the release of Igbo youths detained in all parts of the country, Obiozor said the South East was in dire need of security just as he called for zonal and state security apparatus to compliment the efforts of the federal government.

He said the president’s visit would form a new foundation for dialogue on critical issues concerning the Igbo.

“Ndigbo are committed to Nigerian unity and there is news for those trying to push us out of Nigeria. Ndigbo in Nigeria are like fish in the ocean, no matter how rough the storm is, it cannot drive the fish out of the ocean. Mr. President, it is in this context that we see a new dawn in your  distinguished presence in Igboland. We believe that on your return to  Abuja, the significance and substance of this visit will form a new  foundation of a platform for meaningful dialogue on critical issues of  concern to the Igbo nation.

“In spite of all the threats of secessionism or separatism facing the country, there is no doubt that no secessionist element can succeed in Nigeria provided there is good governance based on  equity, justice and fairness to all the citizens.

“Your Excellency, the most urgent and imperative need of Ndigbo today is security. The security of Ndigbo in Nigeria and beyond has become a compelling primary responsibility of serious concern for Ndigbo. Regrettably our South East Zone has recently become a theatre of conflict, negating the peace-loving nature of our people.

“In this context Ohanaeze Ndigbo calls for the establishment of a zonal  and state police apparatus to support and complement the existing Federal Security architecture. It is in this same vein that Ohanaeze Ndigbo, appeals to you, Mr. President, to see to the release of Igbo  youths detained by various security agencies across the country.” Ohanaeze has canvassed for more infrastructural development in Igbo land besides the Niger bridge.”

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Operation Python Dance memorial: IPOB declares Sept 14 sit-at-home

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has announced another sit-at-home on September 14, in remembrance of the dastard killing of Igbo youth during the ill-fated military exercise, codenamed “Operation Python Dance II”, three years ago.

A statement by its Head, Directorate of State, Chika Edoziem, on Tuesday, directed its members and supporters, as well as South East residents to boycott commercial and social activities.

Edoziem explained that the order was in memorial of the massacre carried out by the military during the invasion of the Afara-Ukwu country home of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.

“We recall very vividly the carnage of September 12, 2018 by the Nigerian Army which, through its ‘Operation Python Dance II’, without any provocation,  whatsoever, invaded and occupied Biafra land humiliating, maiming and massacring our people.

“It is still fresh in our minds when on the 14th of September, the murderers and terrorists in army uniform went further to desecrate the traditional stool of the Afaraukwu Kingdom in Umuahia, shooting and killing everything in sight, resulting in the cold blooded murder of more than 38 Biafran youths, and the arrest of an unspecified number of Biafran men and women.

“Recall that the IPOB worldwide has, since 2018, set aside September 14 of every year as a day of civil disobedience in the whole of Biafraland.

“In accordance with the well established custom, September 14, 2021 is declared a sit-at-home in Biafraland,” the group stated.

IPOB further urged its members not to relent in making efforts that will guarantee the release of its detained leader, Kanu.

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HURIWA to FG: Declare bandits as terrorists, leave IPOB, Yoruba Nation

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, has asked the Federal Government to declare as terrorists, bandits downing Nigerian Air Force jets, killing and maiming citizens all over the country.

The group also urged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to leave separatists alone and ensure the prosecution of suspected bandits and Boko Haram members in the custody of security agencies.

National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the group’s Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, made this known in a statement on Sunday, titled, ‘HURIWA Cautions AGF On Yoruba Nation/IPOB’.

The group was reacting to a statement by the AGF Office that the government might proscribe Yoruba Nation group just like it outlawed the Indigenous People of Biafra in 2017.

Reacting, HURIWA said it was unjust that the government proscribed IPOB and might outlaw Yoruba Nation separatist group but failed to declare bandits ravaging parts of the country as terrorists.

The group accused the government of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of “being so sectional” and “carpeted the Federal Government for failing to declare as terrorists, the armed militia in the forests of Zamfara State who shot down a military jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.”

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Yoruba Nation agitator Sunday Igboho arrested in Cotonou

Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo also known as Sunday Igboho, has been arrested in Cotonou, Benin Republic, The PUNCH has learnt.

He was arrested at an airport in Cotonou on Monday night, a top source familiar with the matter told our correspondent.

Igboho was arrested by the security forces in Benin Republic about three weeks after the Department of State Services declared him wanted for allegedly stockpiling arms, an allegation he has since denied.

The source told The PUNCH that Igboho will be repatriated to Nigeria on Tuesday (today) from Benin Republic, one of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries in the West African sub region.

“He was arrested in Cotonou while he tried to travel out on Monday night. His destination was Germany. The security forces in Benin Republic should repatriate him to Nigeria on Tuesday,” the source said.

When contacted, a member of Igboho’s legal team, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said he would speak with the lead counsel, Yomi Aliyu (SAN), and revert later.

DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, did not respond to a text message seeking confirmation on the matter.

Afunanya, at a briefing on July 1, 2021, had vowed that “Igboho may run as far as he can. He may hide as long as he wants…But this will be the end of his shenanigans.”

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BIM-MASSOB to UN: There won’t be peace in Nigeria until you recognise Biafra

Leader of BIM-MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has told the United Nations that there would be no peace in Nigeria until the sovereign state of Biafra is duly recognised by the world body.

Uwazuruike also accused the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari of promoting the activities of armed Fulani herdsmen who he claimed have been attacking Nigerians.

The BIM-MASSOB leader stated this at the weekend during a virtual conference organized by the Harvard Law Students under the auspices of Unrepresented Nations and People’s  Organizations, (UNPO) and United Nations (UN)  International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, convened to determine the Land Use/Border Rights and Extra-Territorial Obligations of nations in  quest for self-determination.

The founder of MASSOB in a statement made available to newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State capital, by his Personal Assistant on Media Matters, Elder Chris Mocha, said that the main purpose of the conference was to gather members’ challenges to their lands, as well as share general perspectives, recommendations, and/or good practices regarding land rights.

Uwazuruike, who accused President Buhari of promoting the activities of armed Fulani herdsmen, pointed out that the president nullified the decision of the 17 Southern governors on anti-open grazing by insisting on reclaiming grazing routes across the country.

He claimed that the  “armed Fulani herdsmen came to our lands to graze their cattle, they came with their Ak-47 riffles and killed our people, raped our women and the Federal Government simply because they are promoting these people or feeling incapable of arresting or stopping the atrocities these people commit against our people.”

According to him, “as usual I represent the state of Biafra. In Nigeria right from time immemorial, lands belong to individuals and families. But in 1976, immediately after the Biafra-Nigeria civil war, the military government of Nigeria promulgated  the Decree of 1976 which invested  all lands in Nigeria to the state governors.

“There are 36 states in Nigeria and the federal capital territory, Abuja. So, all the 36 governors are owners of the lands in Nigeria and the Federal Government owns the capital territory, Abuja. But the Federal Government does not respect this Decree  of 1976.

“Just recently, the 17 Southern governors came together and banned open grazing in the entire Southern region, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari nullified the action of the 17 Southern governors and said that there was a grazing route that must be established to enable the armed Fulani herdsmen to come to our lands in the South to graze their cattle.

“This grazing route is against the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria  because it is not contained in the 1999 Constitution as amended. But because of his position as the president of Nigeria and a Hausa/Fulani man, he wants to enforce it against our will.

“In Biafra land, which is in the Southern Nigeria, our lands are blessed with crude oil deposits, and fertile. Because of the fertility of our lands, the Fulani forced themselves into our lands to graze their cattle.

“As a matter of fact, the atrocities we are having today in Nigeria emanated from the Land Use Act of 1976.

Because these people came to our land to commit all these atrocities because they have the protection of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Uwazuruike pointed out that the Nigeria-Biafra war was as a result of the injustices perpetrated against the people of Biafra.

“And that is why it is very essential that Biafra must be given recognition by the United Nations. Because if Biafra is not given recognition as a sovereign state, these atrocities will not stop because our land is rich with mineral resources as against the North that is a desert area,” he claimed.

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Nigeria on brink of avoidable catastrophe –Afenifere

Afenifere, pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, has raised the alarm that Nigeria is at the brink of an avoidable catastrophe that requires urgent actions.

It called for immediate passing of state policing Act to save Nigeria from imminent apostrophe, insisting that governors would become true chief security officers only when they have a security outfit that takes orders from them.

The group made the calls in a communique after an emergency executive meeting at the residence of its leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo.

National Publicity Secretary of the body, Jare Ajayi, in a statement in Ibadan yesterday, stated that the most potent recipe to prevent the catastrophe is restructuring that would return the country to true federalism.

At the meeting, Afenifere reviewed recent developments in the country  and concluded that “the signs are ominous, requiring steps to prevent the country from apocalypse.”

It indicated that the meeting endorsed the recent resolutions of the governors of southern Nigeria with regards to placing a total ban on open grazing and having state police.

“Afenifere is in full support of the governors to have laws banning open grazing latest by September 1, this year. We notice that some states already have this law enacted. We urge the remaining states to enact the law expeditiously. Beyond the enactment, however, we call for immediate enforcement of the law so as to put an end to various vices that the act of open grazing is engendering.”

It frowned at the disapproval being expressed by some northern elements to the position of southern governors, prompting it to ask the questions:  “Of what intrinsic benefits has open grazing been in the recent past going by various studies that have been done?

“It is on record, for instance, that open grazing is one of the major causes of desertification that is occurring in the northern part of the country. It is also on record that cows reared in a ranch are far more productive, healthier and are less tasking for the rearer compared to the ones being driven from one place to another in search of food and water. And certainly, those in ranches constitute less risk to neighbouring communities compared to the ones migrating from one place to another.”

Afenifere maintained that the seeming intractable security challenges were due largely to the restraint put in the way of state governors.

“The governors are described as chief security officers of their respective states, yet they have no security agency that can be deployed to where crimes are being committed with arms; a security agency that can arrest, investigate and prosecute. Those of them who came up with some security apparatus like Amotekun are disempowered because they could not bear arms. And when they arrest suspected criminals, such suspects must be handed over to the police.

“As experiences have shown, once this is done, hardly do such cases go beyond the police. And the state security body has no control anymore since the police is a federal agency, who does not take order from the governor. This must change. State police, down to the level of local government,  must become operational immediately.”

The Afenifere executive council also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the national and state assemblies and all other concerned authorities to ensure that restructuring takes place before end of the year.

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BREAKING: Yoruba Nation Protesters shun Lagos rally amidst heavy security presence

Organisers of the Yoruba Nation rally have failed to show up at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Ojota, Lagos, the proposed venue as at the time of this report.

The rally which was billed to start around 9am, failed to commence with no protesters in sight, The Nation observed.

The Nation had previously reported that the umbrella body of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups, Ilana Omo Oodua, led by Second Republic Senator, Banji Akintoye, had said there was no going back, adding that “It is the duty of Police to ensure the rally is not hijacked by hoodlums”

But the agitators have failed to show up at the venue of the rally.

Meanwhile, there is a heavy security presence at the venue.

The Nation observed that about 23 vans of security operatives including Nigerian Army, RRS Attack, Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps, Lagos State Task Force, Cannon trucks were seen at strategic points and at the venue of the rally.

Efforts to reach Igboho’s spokesperson, Olayomi Koiki for an update about the rally proved abortive as his lines were not reachable.

The atmosphere at the venue is peaceful with commuters, motorists, residents going about their daily activities.

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