PRESIDENT General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Thursday, replied the leader of Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. He said that Kanu’s latest allegation against him necessitated his response. Nwodo in an open letter to Kanu, reeled out his contributions, performances and quashed the claims that he colluded with the Nigerian Army to attack Kanu’s residence in Umuahia.
The letter reads thus: “My attention has been drawn to a recorded speech made by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, now streaming in the social media. The speech was ostensibly made in Germany ahead of a visit, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu and I were scheduled to make to Germany for a meeting of Ndigbo. In that video, Nnamdi peddled unprintable lies about me and rebuked Igbos in Germany for inviting me and threatened that I will not leave Germany alive.
I would have ignored this speech as I have ignored many of his previous abuses and deliberate falsehood previously broadcast against me. I had ignored them in the past not only because the distortions and falsehood were indirectly countered by the robust publicity of my activities and utterances which negated his representations but also because I thought it was indecent for a father and his son to be engaged in public disputations, especially when such disputations in our present circumstances will weaken our solidarity and portray us as a divided and unserious lot. It has however become necessary now to rebut his persistent falsehood because, not to do so will make them credible amongst those who may not have heard my side of the story.
The IPOB leader first of all accuses me of being an accomplice to the invasion of his homestead in Umuahia by the Nigerian Army in Operation Python Dance. Secondly, he accuses me persistently of being a Fulani stooge who would always do the beckoning of the ruling Fulani elite in Nigeria. He also accuses my late father of being a Fulani stooge. He holds me and our South East Governors and Legislators responsible for the marginalization of the South East. He accuses me of being against the realization of Biafra and a saboteur to the Igbo cause. First of all, I am neither the Commander-in Chief of The Nigerian Armed Forces nor a member of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Secondly, I never participated in any meeting where operation python dance was ever recommended or ordered. Truth is that when the second operation python dance was ordered, I wrote against it and advised against it in the media. I saw no need for it I condemned the mayhem that followed it.
I wrote to the GOC 82 Division N.A on the violation of the UN rules of engagement by his troops. I listened to the brief of the Abia State Government on the clashes between the Nigerian Police and Nnamdi Kanu on the establishment of the Biafra Security Service without legislative approval or knowledge of the Nigerian Police. I called for caution. I confronted the Attorney General of the Federation on his move to obtain an interlocutory order to enable him classify IPOB as a terrorist organization. When the Federal Government finally proscribed IPOB, I criticized it. I wrote to the UN secretary General in these words. “It is a verifiable fact that, other than recourse to the use of intemperate language, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) campaign has been generally peaceful, non-violent and in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Their campaign has also been in conformity with the United Nations’ Instruments and Protocol on Human, Civil and Political Rights. It is for this reason that I, the undersigned, without endorsing some of the their methods of agitation, still make bold to observe that their protestations have remained at the level of verbal expressing, radio communications, peaceful street demonstrations, prayer sessions and lately, a sit-at-home event in memory of the millions of Igbo lives lost during the civil war. At no time has any of these groups resorted to the use of arms or violence. If their sit-at –home event of 30th May 2017 was an inconvenience, it was more so to the Igbo communities of the South-East and not to the people in the Northern States or the rest of Nigeria.
To therefore turn around to use it as a reason for mass ejection of the Igbo in Northern Nigeria is a mere ploy to isolate the Igbo for another round of massacre, dispossession and deprivation of their fundamental human and constitutional rights. This, Your Excellency, portends the danger of degenerating into another civil war in African’s most populous country, a breach of international peace and security, a messy break-up of Nigeria resulting in massive internal displacement of persons and high incidence of refugee flows.”
I took the IPOB case to the British Institute on International Affairs in Chatham House London and said the following words, “Let me seize this opportunity to once more thank the Royal Institute of International Affairs for inviting me as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to speak here today. In Nigeria, Ndigbo whose social cultural organization I lead, are, notwithstanding their historical experiences in Nigeria, the most loyal ethnic group to the concept of one Nigeria. We are the largest ethnic group other than the indigenous group in any part of Nigeria. We invest and contribute to the economic and social life of the communities wherever we live. We are proudly Christians but very accommodating of our brothers of other religious persuasions. We are grossly marginalized and still treated by the Federal government as second-class citizens. No Igboman, for instance, heads any security arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Our area is the most heavily policed as if there was a deliberate policy to intimidate us and hold us down. Our endurance has been stretched beyond Hooke’s gauge for elastic limit.
The deployment of the Nigerian Army under the guise of Operation Python dance to the South East was unconstitutional under S. 271 of the 1999Constitution. Deployment of the army in the constitution is only allowed in circumstances of insurrection, terrorism and external aggression not in killing of priests, or fighting kidnapping. And in those circumstances where they can be deployed, leave of the Senate must be sought. This brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concern the South East is provocative. The Arewa Youths Council by issuing a quit notice for Igbos to leave Northern Nigeria and declaring a Federal Republic of Nigeria without Igboland had committed serious infractions of the law. First by declaring a new Republic of Nigeria which excises the South East unilaterally, they were committing treason. By issuing a proclamation for Nigerians to leave any part of Nigeria forcibly they were infringing the fundamental rights of innocent Nigerians, as guaranteed by the Constitution to live and do business anywhere.
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