Editor’s note: Biafra agitation and Nnamdi Kanu’s disappearance have continued to be on the front burner of discourse among Nigerians in the last few weeks.
In an article sent to NAIJ.com, a social commentator, Itaobong Etim, writes about how hates speeches triggered crisis in the southeastern part of Nigeria.
Call it separatist, secessionist, self-determination or pressure group, what would readily fit IPOB’s description is a group, whose stock-trade-in-trade is the use of fear factor to hector and whip everybody into line.
Its use of expletives, profanity, vulgarity, contumelies, generous dissemination of hates and plethora use of abusive language is legendary. Never has any organization in Nigeria, used so much hate-filled expressions to propagate its ideals. Boko Haram is a faceless murderous group that we know, they hardly talk, they simply kill.
IPOB which prides itself as non-violent, has not realized the degree of violence, it has meted to Nigerians by its consistent and unrelenting verbal assault. It is also worrisome, as some Nigerians from Igbo extraction and some expiring politicians hope to remain relevant in the national discourse through implacable use of vitriolic criticism against the government.
They unwittingly ridicule themselves by criticizing the same policies of government, which they profusely praised few years ago, when the immediate past government did the same. For instance, deployment of military to restive areas, that they now vehemently condemn.
IPOB has frequently threatened to deal with some leaders, who criticized the method adopted in their agitation, thus forcing many to recant their earlier position or remain silent. Ohanaze Ndigbo for instance, is in a dilemma of speaking from both sides of the mouth.
Some politicians have also refused to condemn this movement, because of the demotic appeal they seem to enjoy and their potential electoral value. So, the fear of losing their support is the wisdom of silence.
Massive deployment of abuses and insults on social media platforms against anybody with a divergent view, also informed hypocrisy of silence in some quarters. Gov. Rochas Okorocha, who has been unambiguous on his stance against that agitation, has received not a little dose of mordancy and virulence from this lot.
Others played hide and seek game, until symptoms of evolving hydra-headed monster began to manifest and they suddenly found their voices.
Governor Willie Obiano was purportedly chased out of a church service for his stance on Anambra gubernatorial election. The southeast governors were rebuffed by Kanu Nnamdi, when they appealed to him not to disrupt the scheduled election but the presence of Operation Python Dance emboldened them to proscribe IPOB, a decision they should have taken earlier on.
No doubt, some people have benefitted while the rage of that insanity subsisted, as hard currencies continued to ginger its gait and tempo. It was a lucrative venture that assuaged the present biting economic realities. Even lawyers, in spite of the glaring atrocities and illegalities, allegedly perpetrated by these miscreants, looked the other way and refused to give legal direction to the group.
It is shocking as they mustered such temerity to float security outfit in an attempt to denigrate the federal authority. While this festered, their lawyers never advised against this arrant show of nonsense to our common law because of the expected money they hope to get upon prosecution.
Today, there are still arguments in some quarters, denying that IPOB is a terrorist group, on the grounds of not brandishing of guns. But are guns the only lethal weapons? In any case, when a deserter from Nigerian Army was arrested while training members of Biafra Security Service on how to use guns, was he playing or joking?
Also, police station was allegedly set ablaze in Aba, road blocks were illegally mounted, money extorted from hapless citizens, police men were killed and injured, riffles forcefully seized from security operatives, army on patrol were stopped and chased away by a group, some still believe was non-violent.
‘Haba’ Nigerians, to what extent should people stretch their adamantine hatred against a government, or is about 2019 election? Even in the face of a blatant display of felony, many are not willing to withdraw their support from the group, whose sole purpose was to create anarchy in the polity.
But not for the unprecedented show of maturity by Northerners, in refusing to retaliate, when attacks were meted on few of them in the East, many people would have lost both lives and livelihoods.
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Any group, whose indiscretion constitutes security risk, should henceforth be promptly proscribed. This is why; one commends efforts of the South East governors and the federal government for that apt response.
The failure of previous government, to promptly deal with the insurgency of the northeast because of undue sentiments is the reason, many are still paying the supreme price.
Never again should our safety be politicized, it should rather be prioritized, for this is the essence for the existence of government.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that members of the southeast caucus in the Senate on Tuesday, September 26 met with President Muhammadu Buhari over pressing issues facing the zone which included Biafra agitation and marginalization.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of NAIJ.com.
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Watch the activities that was daily happening in Nnamdi Kanu's home before IPOB was proscribed: