Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), the apex youth organization in Igboland, has appealed to the federal government to drop the fresh terrorist charges it has brought against the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and settle the case out of court.
OYC is is equally demanding that the federal government to free all pro-Biafra activisits clamped into detention for many years now and opt for negotiations for amicable resolution of all issues between the federal government and the separatist agitators to save Nigeria from eventual disintegration.
Recall that the federal government, ahead of the commencement of Kanu’s trial in an Abuja Federal High Court Thursday, has pressed six new treason and terrorism charges against the IPOB leader.
The Council in a statement, said its National President, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, made its position known Tuesday in Umuahia, during a “Peace and Conflict Resolution” meeting of the Council.
OYC noted that “Nigeria government is moving close to gun-powder with fire,” adding that “Kanu’s and Sunday Igboho’s cases could lead Nigeria to the path of peace,” if handled diplomatically and tactically or “lead Nigeria to destruction if the FG insists on heating the polity through quelling the quest for secession in Nigeria through legal means.”
Comrade Igboayaka attributed the sudden escalation of issues between Nigeria government and Pro-Biafra groups to the poor treatment meted out to the latter by the former, beginning from the time of Ralph Uwazurike, who founded the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), till date.
According to the OYC President, “The demand for self-determination among Igbos is an evidence of how Igbos are being treated in Nigeria since the end of the Nigeria- Biafra civil war. The colossal failure of leaders from Governors, Senators, House of Representatives, Ministers, House of Assembly members and all sorts of political leaders in southeast contributed to the economic decay which raised the demand of young generation to seek the actualization of State of Biafra, started by Dim Ikemba Odimegwu Ojukwu in 1967.”
Comrade Igboayaka therefore urged federal government to follow the path of dialogue and negotiation to discuss with the leadership of all pro-Biafra groups, majority of whom, he noted, were found in Igboland, stressing “that all the prisoners of conscience of Biafra activism, starting from Nnamdi Kanu and Benjamin Onwuka, and others, should be released.”
“Since the year 2000, many members of MASSOB have remained in Nigerian prisons in Anambra; and in Awka prisons, about 15 members of MASSOB are still in the prison since 13 years, including a pregnant woman, Mrs. Onyedika Orji, who has given birth in the prison,” Igboayaka revealed.
He listed those in the prisons to include “one Miss Okwudili Bassey, aged 18 years when her unjust arrest took place; Uche Idikaigbo, Micheal Okezie, Uchenna Nicholas, Peter Igbokwe, Ikechukwu Aghara, Chima Asor, and Chinweike Irondi.
“Others, according to OYC, are Sabastine Amadi, Casmir Odakara, Ojemba Anyanwu, Eni Kalu, Ndubuisi Okam, Ikechukwu Chinwem, Emmanuel Orji, Chukwuma Kalu, Chidiebere Chikwem and Mmaduabuchi Asika.”
Igboayaka said: “Nigeria government should follow path of dialogue and negotiation in dealing with pro-Biafrans and save Nigeria from disintegration,” stressing that there are more than 10 thousand Igbo young men more controversial on the issue of Biafra restoration than Nnamdi Kanu.