•It ‘ll set S’East on fire —CAN •Focus on Kanu’s release, Biafra referendum — former Deputy Speaker
By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka; Steve Oko, Aba; Emmanuel Iheaka, Owerri & Chinonso Alozie
THE threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, that the Nigerian national anthem and consumption of cow meat should be banned in the Biafra territory from April this year has attracted reactions from some people, with the respondents urging the Biafra agitators to thread softly. Those who reacted said IPOB should realize that the people of the South East have been at the receiving end since the agitation began.
In his reaction, former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, cautioned that banning national anthem and consumption of Fulani cows in Biafra land might jeopardise the case of IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Wabara advised members of the group against taking any action that might worsen the already precarious situation in the region.
He urged the movement to be calm in the face of the current ordeals of Kanu instead of making utterances that could further aggravate the situation.
“The group shouldn’t further fuel the tension but should wait for other possible options. This might further jeopardize the situation on ground. They shouldn’t do that now”.
Similarly, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Abia State chapter, Apostle Emmanuel Agomuo, completely disagreed with IPOB leadership on the latest order. He said the group was taking laws into its hands as the order was not enforceable.
According to him, any attempt to enforce the order will result into serious confrontation with the federal authorities, a development he added, that would further worsen matters for people in the region.
He said the group should rather focus on efforts to secure release for its detained leader instead of dishing orders that are capable of setting the region on fire.
The CAN boss argued that even if President Muhamnadu Buhari had declined from considering political solution to Kanu, there could be other options of resolving the impasse.
“The order amounts to taking laws into their hands. We are talking of how to release Kanu. Pressure is on President Buhari to release Kanu, and they should not take any action that could truncate that effort.
These boys should not set South East on fire. We don’t support this style.”
Former Deputy Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe, who said the order ‘is very disturbing”, advised IPOB not to embark on projects that could further jeopardize Igbo interest in the scheme of things in Nigeria. He argued that 2022 is a very important year in the political history of Nigeria, and that anything capable of truncating the efforts for South East to produce the next president of Nigeria in 2023 should be avoided.
The former Commissioner for Environment and Chief of Staff to the Governor, advised IPOB to pursue the release of its leader, instead of issuing orders that could hurt the struggle for its cause.
“We are still in Nigeria. You must count one before counting two. Why don’t we pursue the release of Nnamdi Kanu because he is our son, and every Igbo man is concerned about his condition? Why not pursue referendum for Biafra to give people opportunity to vote Yes or No to Biafra agitation? If we stop reciting national anthem, how has it helped the agitation for Biafra?”
Mr. Ndudi Onyekachi, a community leader in Enugwu Agidi, Njikoka local government area observed that it was IPOB’s hardline position that brought the entire South East to its knees, resulting in the burning down of police stations in parts of the geopolitical zone.
“This threat is bound to heighten insecurity in the South East and it is coming at a time the people were recovering from the activities of the unknown gunmen and the effects of the Monday sit-at-home.
“This latest threat will pitch the Biafra agitators against the security operatives and the insecurity it would generate would result in another negative impact on the people,” Onyekachi said.
Another respondent, Kingsley Abadom who is resident in Awka urged IPOB members to stop toying will the lives of the people of the South East, adding that banning cow meat when there is no alternative did not make any sense. He advised the agitators to be reasonable in whatever decisions they take on behalf of the people, arguing that the economy of the South East has been on the decline since IPOB intensified its activities.
However, in his own reaction, the Rector, Alive Theological Seminary of Nigeria, Prof. Emmanuel Uzoma said his family stopped buying cow meat four years ago. According to him, his household could do without cow meat as long as there is goat meat, chicken and fish. Uzoma, Prelate of Christ Victorious Alive Revival Mission, Owerri, believes the Igbo can produce enough meat to feed themselves.
“When you slap a child, what do you expect him to do? Not to cry? How can you comfortably sing the national anthem in a country that does not recognize you? You can’t patronize your enemy who wants you to die. They should eat their cow; we have native cows, we have goats, we can do without it.
“The Igbo are good farmers, we don’t need their food, let them take their food. In my family, for the past four years, my wife has stopped buying cow meat. We don’t eat cow meat, except when we eat outside and they happen to cook with cow meat. We make soup with goat meat, chicken or fish. If every other Igbo man would stop eating cow, that will be better. We are good farmers, we won’t die of hunger. We can create something out of nothing. But I will advise against any form of violence. We don’t need violence”, he stated.
The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, on its part said the order would not benefit the people of the region. Speaking with Saturday Vanguard in Owerri, COSEYL President, Goodluck Ibem, said, “it is undemocratic to ban cow meat. It is not in the interest of the Igbo people that there should be no national anthem in the southeast schools. These things will not solve our problems, instead it will worsen the whole thing. Rather we should look inwards and resolve our problems.
“IPOB is chasing shadows when you say people should stop eating cow meat or there should not be any national anthem. It will not solve any of our problems, it will not enhance the future of the people of the South-East people and it is not in the interest of the economy of the Igbo people.”