The Indigenous Folks of Biafra (IPOB) and its Japanese Safety Community (ESN) are understandably essentially the most talked about teams within the nation right now, owing to controversies surrounding its true standing as a peaceable unarmed group and the terrorist organisation the Nigerian Authorities dubbed it when it utilized to a Federal Excessive Court docket in Abuja for it to be proscribed.
A as soon as little recognized IPOB, led by the controversial Nnamdi Kanu, who is predicated in the UK, grew to become the sing track on the month of Nigerians, within the run as much as the 2015 common elections, with scathing commentaries by its chief, reeling out causes the then President Muhammadu Buhari should not be elected, and even after when Kanu, in his a number of outbursts, nicknamed Nigeria a Zoo!
Throughout this era, Kanu and IPOB members lower an unusual image of simply Igbo nationalists combating for a Biafra nation, and upping the agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra, in mould of what members of the Motion for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Chief Ralph Uwazuruike have been doing for years. For the Nigerian authorities beneath President Buhari, Kanu and IPOB members had been simply one other set of irritants inflicting distractions.
Nonetheless, the narratives modified when Kanu was arrested instantly he arrived on the Murtala Muhammed Worldwide Airport, Lagos and was slammed into detention, adopted up by his now stalled prosecution on expenses bordering on treasonable felony. That singular act modified the complexion of IPOB and its actions, as its members continually clashed with regulation enforcement businesses, with claims of massacres by the group on a number of events.
Issues have, nonetheless, taken a flip for the more serious for the reason that worsening insecurity within the nation, particularly alleged brutality by the Fulani herdsmen in elements of the nation, particularly the South, prompting the establishing of the ESN, supposedly to defend ‘Biafraland’ in opposition to the murderous actions of the herdsmen, who IPOB sees as being on an expansionist agenda to annex Igboland and others within the South.
The complexion of the faceoff between IPOB and the Nigerian authorities additional modified after the navy moved in opposition to operatives of the ESN within the Orlu space of Imo State, dislodging them from their camps deep within the forest, as what regarded like a effectively coordinated and systemic decimation of safety businesses, particularly the police within the South-East, begun in earnest.
Because the navy bombardment of ESN camps, hardly any day passes with out studies of an assault, lots of them lethal, on police services within the South-East and the South-South.
The assaults had been initially believed to be the handiwork of IPOB/ESN however the group put up extremely spirited defence, claiming that it was certainly a peaceable self willpower group and never violent, neither are they terrorists.
The spokesman for the group Emma Highly effective has little doubt grow to be one of many busiest picture makers within the nation, beating even Garba Shehu, the untiring Senior Particular Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari. Highly effective has the unenviable job of fixing the narration and convincing Nigerians that IPOB is certainly not a terrorist group.
Highly effective’s incapability to get the job finished efficiently is basically because of latest occasions and revelations that are inclined to current his group in any other case.
Apart Mr. Powerfull’s efforts, different Igbo leaders, together with Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and the President Basic of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor, have at completely different occasions tried to exonerate IPOB from having hand within the alarmingly rising assaults.
For Umahi, IPOB can’t be concerned within the assaults as he sees it as alien to their targets, which is safety and advancing Igbo pursuits, whereas Professor Obiozor reasoned that the assaults had been being orchestrated by enemies of the South-East, who’ve invaded the area in different to disclaim it of the 2023 presidency.
Additionally, it might be recalled that Governor Hope Uzodinma, who IPOB have a lot axe to grind with, after initially blaming the group for the daring assaults within the state on the police headquarters and Correctional Centre each in Owerri, rapidly recanted, as a substitute blaming politicians for the assaults.
These efforts, at exonerating IPOB, however, the narratives appear largely to be in opposition to it, as each media studies regarding assaults within the South-East now comes with ‘gunmen suspected to be IPOB members’, from merely gunmen.
What has modified? Why are Nigerians now cock positive that IPOB/ESN are probably answerable for the assaults within the South-East and elements of the South-South states like Rivers and Akwa Ibom states? At what level did a supposedly self willpower group grow to be a terrorist organisation?
A number of broadcasts, feedback and tweets from Kanu little doubt means that he has been one of many principal individuals making efforts to current his group in higher mild, a tough one. In his vociferous outbursts, the IPOB chief kind of presents the group as violent and terror inclined, threatening elected political workplace holders, safety businesses and even intending recruits into the South-East joint safety outfit, Ebubeagu.
“In case you’re commander of troops within the Nigerian military or police, hear this: That you just’re sporting a uniform and adorning a rank doesn’t make you invincible. If any #Biafran is killed in your orders, you can be hunted and punished, earlier than later. We’re taking inventory and bidding our time”, Kanu tweeted in one in all his many outbursts on his Twitter deal with @MaziNnamdiKanu.
He additionally tweeted “if you’re Efik, Ijaw, and so forth; and after studying this text with all these open info you might be nonetheless shouting One Nigeria or nonetheless screaming APC or PDP beneath the current 1999 Navy Decree then you’ll want to be shot at sight as a result of you’re a hazard to humanity and your race.”
As anticipated, Nigerians are nonetheless divided on what IPOB actually stands for, a freedom combating group for a Biafra nation or a terror group! Some, who’re sympathetic to its course, in chats with DAILY POST imagine that Kanu and his group are solely been demonized whereas others really feel in another way, insisting that although it began as a self willpower group, latest actions linked to the group, put it in the identical mould with Boko Haram, as they’re additionally spreading worry and terror within the land.
Chidiebere John, a Lagos primarily based spare elements vendor is of the opinion that IPOB has not finished something improper to be referred to as a terror group, as a substitute they need to be praised for defending and defending Igbos in opposition to the atrocities of killer herdsmen.
“Individuals are solely calling IPOB names due to their very own egocentric pursuits. How can a bunch that’s combating for the emancipation of its folks be the identical that shall be terrorising them? It doesn’t make any sense to me. IPOB is about freedom for the Igbos whereas ESN is for the safety and security of the Igbo man in Igboland, which is what all of us want in the meanwhile as a result of the federal government has failed to guard our folks.
“Nigerians needs to be extra broad minded in viewing IPOB and ESN as a result of what is occurring is a part of a written script to decimate IPOB. The easiest way to attain the federal government’s purpose is to demonize the group and make folks see the members as terrorists however we all know that’s not true”, John mentioned.
A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Joe Igbokwe, nonetheless, thinks in another way, as he expressly referred to IPOB as a terror group in a latest interview.
He mentioned: “I need to commend the whole Japanese Governors for rising to sentence the pointless assault launched in opposition to Hausa Fulani headers by the infamous proscribed terrorist group IPOB.
“Nnamdi Kanu has bitten greater than he can chew and should not be allowed to proceed insulting and abusing the elemental human proper of Nigerians to stay anyplace throughout the nation.
“With the creation of EBUBE AGU Safety outfit, it means change has come and I ponder if Kanu will ever step his foot right here in Nigeria once more as a result of these safety guards is not going to take it evenly with him and his terrorist group ESN.”
For Maxwell Agu, a Lagos primarily based lawyer, it will likely be exhausting for anybody to persuade him that IPOB has not or will not be tendering in direction of terrorism or terror associated actions with the latest assaults on police formations within the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones.
“These sympathetic to the course IPOB is combating will discover it tough to exonerate IPOB from all that’s taking place within the South-East and the South-South. It’ll actually be a troublesome activity as a result of if not IPOB, who else is doing it? Who else is embittered within the zones in opposition to authorities and safety businesses? Who else that organised to hold out these coordinated assaults? Who else has the numbers to have the sort of unfold they’ve in attacking safety brokers and their services? Your guess is pretty much as good as mine.
“For me, I feel IPOB really derailed and overlooked its unique imaginative and prescient in a bid for vengeance, which has at all times threatened. He allowed his quest to avenge no matter assault they declare in opposition to members of his group to derail him for his earlier set targets. This has made it tough for a lot of affordable individuals who really imagine Igbos are being marginalised in Nigeria from supporting their agitations. It’s not agitations however pure criminality and crimes in opposition to humanity.
“No fairly clever one who has adopted his threats over time in opposition to personalities and safety brokers will imagine his group doesn’t have a hand in what’s going on in the meanwhile in Igboland. It simply doesn’t make sense”, Agu mentioned.
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