Harvard-trained economist and former governor of old Anambra State, Okwadike Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of waging another war against the people of the South East geopolitical zone.
He described the President’s ill-treatment of the region as a continuation of the 1967-1970 Nigerian civil war, which Buhari was a key actor.
The elder statesman however warned South Easterners, especially, pro-Biafra agitators against resorting to self-defence against the country’s security forces.
Ezeife, in a position statement on pro-Biafra agitation said that indulging in self-defence, as advocated by some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) is not only senseless, but also an invitation to the military and police to decimate Ndigbo’s youth population.
He said: “At this stage, it does not make any sense to talk about self-defence. If (armed) self-defence is attempted, it can only lead to more depopulation of South East youths.
“Buhari will continue fighting Biafra or now, Ndigbo – for as long as God gives him breath. Let us not give him any semblance of excuse or justification; let us not give him the opportunity to further slaughter our youths. Thinking persons should, in the circumstance, see any effort at self-defence as suicidal!”
Reacting to a recent statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigeria/Biafra war continues, Ezeife said such utterance removed “doubts about the President’s disposition to the South East,” adding that what this implies to the President and “others like him” is that depopulating the South East remains a legitimate strategy.
He said: “This means that reducing the population of the South-East remains a legitimate strategy. The war continues for as long as those like him, who fought in the war, remain alive. Thus, we must take, as war dead, the casualties at the Aba School Compound, days ago, where unarmed members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), were gathered and were dealt with: 50 persons in all, with 10 dead on the spot.
“We have no way to know yet how many of the wounded have died. One wonders whether, even in wars, there are no rules of engagement.
“Armed policemen and soldiers, shooting-to-death innocent or, at least, unarmed individuals, can only be seen, properly, as crime against humanity, even worse than pogrom!!! Body language may be more commanding than express orders or commands!!!”
While commending IPOB leaders for doing the right thing by taking the Biafran cause to the United Nations (UN), Ezeife enumerated the circumstances which gave birth to the agitation for Biafra as the absence of South Easterners in the President’s first 40 appointments.
He named other sins Buhari had committed against the South East as the removal of the appointment of an Igbo in NIMASA three days after announcement; failure to appoint a South East person to even the sixth and least protocol position in government in a six geopolitical zone structure like the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF); absence of any Igbo person in the National Security Council and dumping other dangerous Boko Haram prisoners in Ekwulobia Prison, in Anambra State despite massive protests from the people.
Others, according to him, are Buhari’s failure to give key ministries to the South East persons; spilling the blood of Eastern youths, the most recent in Aba; imputatively disrespecting the rule of law by the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu after a court of competent jurisdiction had ordered his release on bail; the body language of undisguised hatred for Igbo demonstrated through the recent handcuffing of Olisa Metuh, while other accused persons, whose cases were more heinous, were swaggering into the court.
He added: “These are the ingredients of injustice, marginalisation and humiliation which can make life not worth living for an Igbo man in Nigeria. They are signs of the Igbo being rejected in Nigeria.
“These are the reason why I said that Buhari is stoking the fire of MASSOB and Biafra and pushing the South East out of Nigeria. For as long as they persist, Biafra is inevitable. No two ways about it!!!