By Sam Asoluka
It is amazing that 45 years after the Biafra-Nigeria civil war, Biafra came back alive ‘big time’ without a gun shot. In this second coming of Biafra there were no war fronts. Nobody heard war commentaries from Ikot Ekpene, Owerri, Asaba or Abagana sectors. Soldiers were not given order to capture Awuri (Owerri) ‘double pay’. More important too, no body heard news like Port Harcourt had fallen into the hands of the enemies. However, the sad news is the arrest and detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu the Director of Radio Biafra and the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra for broadcasting the plight of the Biafrans which is in the public domain anyway and demanding the restoration of the Republic of Biafra.
No doubt, the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu on the 18 October, 2015 hitherto triggered the upsurge in the agitation for the Republic of Biafra and that shows that there is something wrong with the structure of Nigeria and now is the time to do something about it or right the wrongs that were mercilessly inflicted on the ‘Biafrans’ by some individuals or groups in Nigeria for their own benefit using the deceptive slogan ‘To Keep Nigeria One Is A Task That Must Be Done’.
As at today, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is still locked up somewhere in Nigeria by the Department of Security Services (DSS) for committing some ‘wrongs’ which they have not told the world. For the ‘wrongs’ the DSS has taken Nnamdi to a competent court in Nigeria and bail was granted to him but they are yet to release him. And instead of the government coming out to address the issue, some of those who benefited from the ‘wrongs’ meted to the Biafrans stepped forward to call the protesters miscreants, irresponsible and other unprintable names to cover up their genocidal actions in the past and justify their present fake virtuous personality. For a peaceful co-existence in Nigeria, Nnamdi Kanu should be released immediately as his arrest and detention are unlawful and unconstitutional.
The unfortunate thing for those holding Nnamdi is that they have knowingly or unknowingly made him a global Icon for all Indigenous Peoples of the world who are fighting for freedom and for Human Right Campaigners. He is now known all over the world for the excellent work he has done to unearth the hidden but unresolved ISSUES of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war. Today Biafra is back on the agenda whether Nigeria likes it or not. And if the issue is not resolved now, it’s only a matter of time, Biafra will surely come back to haunt Nigeria again and again until it is resolved in one way or another.
For the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), this is a beautiful time to harvest as more and more people are joining the group hoping to restore the Republic of Biafra. Bad news for Nigeria. And the Nigerian Government should understand that their high-handedness, torture and the killing of unarmed Biafra agitators could set the cities there on fire and quicken the dissolution of Nigeria.
Nnamdi Kanu did not just wake one morning and began the campaign for Biafra. Like other people from the former Eastern Region (Biafra), he saw injustice, marginalisation, poverty and iniquitous distribution of resources and many other ‘wrongs’ visited on his people by successive governments in Nigeria since the end of the civil war. That is in part the history, the story and the reason why the Biafrans want out. What calls for concern now is that the majority of the people agitating for the Republic of Biafra were born after the Biafra-Nigeria civil war. And if this situation does not worry the Nigerian government they should continue to detain Nnamdi Kanu. Nigeria should also worry because, unlike the old Biafra, members of IPOB have worked hard and established more than 88 branches all over the world as the robust demonstrations across the globe confirmed. The arrest and detention of Nnamdi Kanu to say the least is huge disaster for Nigeria and a recruitment campaign for the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The arrest and incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu is definitely not the solution. It can only exacerbate the issue. Former Presidents of Nigeria knew about Radio Biafra but looked the other way as if it does not exist and it did not hurt anyone. But as soon as President Buhari came into power Biafra became an issue. Nigeria should rethink her policy, attitude toward the former Eastern Region and Igbo people in particular. Even fellow Nigerians see them as Biafrans. These same people they see as Biafrans have worked very hard, done everything possible to be accepted in Nigeria but they remain excluded in the scheme of things. That some of them got invited to diner in Abuja or Lagos with does not mean inclusion.
The world and other Biafrans are keenly watching and waiting what President Muhammadu Buhari and his Government will do with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Biafra is not the problem with Nigeria. The problem with Nigeria is the faulty structure, injustice, iniquitous distribution of the resources and the engrained mentality and believe of some people that they alone own Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu now unconditionally.
(Asoluka can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org)