October 1st Seat At Home: Should The People Listen To IPOB, Or The Nigerian Police?

The Independent People of Biafra, IPOB has declared October 1st 2020 as another stay-at-home day for everyone in the South-Eastern Nigeria.

The  South-East for the first time in history, has gained massive support from people, including the Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo but there is a dilemma, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) says no to the seat at home order.

This argument is plainly like a state governor or traditional ruler saying to ‘her’ people to stay home for one day for so so and so and then the police come to defile it.

The dilemma – One has lips, authority and respect while the other has guns.

The “October 1st” is the day Nigeria gained her Independence, according to history but the people of Biafra argue otherwise. For the Ohaneze its basically about lack of respect for Ndigbo and Marginal segregation in both allocation and development.

The Police may also argue that the IPOB is a proscribed group but these people ask “so what do you call Boko-Haram?” Even at that, all the Ohanaeze Ndigbo see is their brothers and sisters whom they still celebrate the new yam festival with yearly.

Note that the IPOB is on top headlines and rada because of reasons best known to the ‘government’. Other groups who are set for October 1st are the Yoruba or Oduduwa Republic, Revolution Now and so on.

In a statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB said its members would join its Yoruba counterparts agitating for the Oduduwa Republic, in public protests, to mark the day.

The pro-Biafran group stressed that a complete and total lockdown of ‘Biafraland’ and other terror ravaged areas of the Middle Belt come October 2020 was sacrosanct, irreversible and non-negotiable.

It enjoined all Biafrans and every conscious Nigerian to boycott every government organised ceremony designed to eulogise Nigeria.

The statement partly reads: “We the global movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to announce to all Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom all over the world that Biafrans across the globe shall observe a sit-at-home in Biafraland and were permissible in the diaspora, join our Yoruba brethren agitating for the Oduduwa Republic, in public protests to mark October 1, 2020.

“We, therefore, enjoin all Biafrans and every conscious Nigerian, especially those ethnic nationalities reeling from the triple-double blow of state-sponsored terrorism, bad governance and economic annihilation, to boycott every government organised ceremony designed to eulogise the failure that Nigeria has become.

“This is the time to let the world know how disastrously intolerable human existence is in Nigeria today.

This order immediately gained unexpected support from the apex Igbo Socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Wednesday, saying that it was in total support of the sit-at-home order issued by IPOB to all Biafrans in the country and in the diaspora.

In a telephone chat with the Organisation’s National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Uche Achi Okpaga, the group explained that there was nothing wrong for people to sit at home provided they violating the law of the land.

According to him, such practice was obtainable even outside the country.

“If IPOB said so, we are supporting it. They are our children. We are supporting it since it is not against the law and so far as it is not a violent act. it is obtainable anywhere in the world. So, we are totally in support of it.”

But the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), led by its Commissioner in Ebonyi, Philip Maku, warned IPOB to steer clear of the state.

Maku said the proscribed group does not have the right to tell people to sit at home.

“People have the fundamental right to movement. If you try to restrict their right to move about and transact their lawful business activities, you are crossing the red line.

“If anyone tries to force people to sit at home, the Police will not fail to deal decisively with such persons,” he said.

The Anambra State Police Command also urged residents to ignore the call.

The spokesman, Mohammed Haruna, says that IPOB remained banned and had no right to make the call.

Also spoiling it for Barrister Uche Achi Okpaga of Ohanaeze is the Anambra State President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, who said that the socio-cultural organisation has nothing to do with the directive.

Besides, he said Ohaneze had no control over IPOB. “They have their Modus Operandi and we have ours. That means, we have no control over them and they also don’t have over us.”

Another Igbo man, who doubles as an activist-lawyer, Emperor Ogbonna said IPOB lacked the right to compel non-members to stay at home.

He told TheNation that the banned group would be infringing on others rights by stopping anyone from exercising their right to movement.

Ogbonna said: “IPOB members and their sympathisers have the right to stay-at-home and to go out.

“IPOB doesn’t have the powers to tell everybody in the Southeast not to go out because not everybody belongs to IPOB.

“They cannot compel non-members to comply with their order. If they do so, they will be infringing on the rights of those who are not members.”



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