Worried by the continued killing of pro-Biafra agitators by security agents, the Anglican Bishop of Amichi Diocese, Nnewi, Anambra State, Rt. Rev. Ephraim Ikeakor, has counselled President Muhammadu Buhari to send them for further training on the management of civil protests and conflict resolution.
Bishop Ikeakor’s caution followed the recent killings of unarmed protesting members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) by security agents in the South East zone.
Bearing his mind on the development, Bishop Ikeakor told The AUTHORITY that, clearly the security agents need to be retrained on how to handle protest situations by unarmed youths.
His words: “I think some of our security outfits need to be trained on how to handle situations of protests. You don’t just shoot guns at the slightest provocation if there is any at all.
“That’s my take on it and I know a lot of persons may not be comfortable with it but the truth must be told. The South Easterners need to be given their right place in our country, if not, let us go for a referendum; let’s decide if we still want to remain one Nigeria.
“The time to say the blatant truth has come. Now we’re talking about IPOB; you can also see another demonstration coming up from the Christian community. I’m just pre-empting it.
“How can you just go and enlist us as a member of Arab League and tell us that we should now join our brother Arab nations to fight ISIS. Nigeria is not an Arab nation.
“We’re not a Muslim nation. We should not pretend any longer. The time to tell the leadership of this country that things need to be done right has come.
“Concerning the IPOB and MASSOB demonstration, I want to make it clear to Nigerians beginning from our leaders. You can hold a people to ransom for a long time but not all the time. Let’s be frank. I am a religious leader and we must tell the truth.”
His warning came as the IPOB leadership denied media reports that it had threatened to begin to bear weapons from tomorrow.
In a statement on Sunday in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, a purported spokesman of IPOB, Emma Nmezu said: “Now, we have come to the painful but irreversible conclusion and determination to take our fate and destiny in our own hands. Starting from Wednesday, February 17, 2016, Biafrans will now be in the mode of self-defence as enshrined by the relevant acts and declarations of the United Nations.
“Let no country or world leader attempt to tag us as terrorists because we are not terrorists, rather we are fighting for our survival and from being exterminated from the surface of the earth.”
“We shall defend ourselves with everything and anything necessary to avoid the continual killing of our mothers, fathers, and children. This is the time for all Biafrans to rise and defend themselves. We cannot fold our arms and watch them kill us the second time after killing over two million of us in 1968.”
But in a swift reaction, IPOB stoutly refuted the reports trending in the social media that its members, as well as other Biafran agitators will begin to bear weapons in self-defence from tomorrow.
IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, Emma Powerful, dissociated the group from such statement, maintaining that it remains non-violent in its struggle for Biafran autonomy.
He urged members of the public to discountenance the report, saying the enemies of Biafra want to use it as excuses for military invasion of the South East region.
According to Powerful, detractors of the Biafran struggle are behind such report with a motive to discredit the agitators as terrorists and ultimately pitch them against world leaders.
He warned all those behind such reports to retrace their steps or have themselves to blame should anything happen to Biafran agitators as a result of the malicious report.
Powerful said IPOB and other pro- Biafra groups were committed to their non-violent stance in their efforts to actualise Biafra Independence.
However, Bishop Ikeakor further said: “If we tell you that the Igbo race are not fully relegated to the background as far as the issue of Nigeria is concerned, we are deceiving ourselves. We’re not carried along in this nation. We’re being treated as 3rd class citizens.
“I want to make that clear so we don’t deceive ourselves. People are protesting subjugation, humiliation; it’s not marginalisation again; it’s complete abandonment. But the only place I have problem is that you can have the right view but the approach is the problem.
“The pattern of the approach is what I say let us look into it. You can’t achieve these things by violence, destruction and confronting the government in existence. That is not the right approach” he said.
Culled from Authorityngr.com