Former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwudi Ezeife has said that the Amnesty International report that painted a gory picture of how the Nigerian military killed in cold blood about 150 unarmed people agitating for the sovereignty of Biafra, was an open truth.
According to him, the Federal Government is using the detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the separatist group, Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) as a bait to kill more Igbo, and called for his immediate release.
A former Commissioner of Police Abubakar Tsav however disagreed with him saying those killed in the Biafra struggle deserved to die because they must have committed treasonable felony. Describing Amnesty International’s claims as being unfair to the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, Tsav said if IPOB members were not armed, the security agents would not have opened fire on them.
Ezeife however said: “The report is true. The people wanted to have a ceremony, so they carried their Bibles to church in Onitsha, but armed soldiers and armed policemen opened fire on them; killing them at random and threw them into the river. What is more important is that the court had freed the leader of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, but the Federal Government refused to let him go. What is the purpose of detaining him further?
“One, this is to show disdain for the Igbo people, and second by keeping him in detention, some people will get annoyed and while protesting they are mowed down. My advice to our people, young and old is to understand that Kanu is a bait used by government to kill our people. There is no need to keep on holding him. Even those who committed more serious offences known to Nigerians have been set free.
“He is being held as bait to kill more Igbos. We know that about 50 people were killed in Owerri, and now Amnesty International has told us also that more than 150 persons were killed in Onitsha. These people didn’t go to the church with machetes or any weapon, it was only the Bible and yet they were mowed down in that manner, tell me how you feel, even if they were not from your side? It is just like mowing down the psyche of the Igbo. These were human beings, and there is nowhere in the Koran or the Holy Bible that justifies the killing of innocent people; nothing in common sense justifies it. The government should release Kanu immediately, and not to use him as a trap to kill more Igbo.”
He condemned a statement allegedly made by President Buhari that as long as those who fought the Nigeria-Biafra war are still alive, that anybody who raises the issue of Biafra must be unserious is heart rendering.
“Our people should know that they are targets, and Kanu is the trap for mowing them down if they move. We pray the Almighty God, who created Nigeria and designed a path for an unmatched greatness for the country to get into the leadership of the nation and the mind of Buhari and change his thinking to the direction of survival and to the direction of the governed.
“We pray God to make Hausa/Fulani appreciate the great gift Nigeria is to the world; to make Yoruba appreciates the same; to make Igbo appreciate the same and every Nigerian appreciates the same and to understand the greatness of their country, which is the largest congregation of black people on earth. The country that has no earthquake, no volcano – don’t mind the landslide that happened in Kaduna, it was the blood of the innocent people being killed there that was crying, it was not an earthquake. The person who has the best food sometimes doesn’t know what he has until it is taken away from him. We have Nigeria as the best country created by God and we are toying with it.
Igbo can endure and make friends with non-Igbo Nigerians, but Fulanis are endangered because if they continue to do this kind of thing, Nigerians will tell them to go back to their Futa Jallon Mountian; Hausa will answer their father’s name, and all core groups will desert Nigeria. Nigeria has failed woefully. It has failed God and man.
“God created us as the largest concentration of black people on earth, endowed and gave us talented people from different tribes, but instead of exploring them, we engage in stealing from every dimension from primary school, to secondary school to university, to police, to army, judiciary, executive, legislature; we have corrupted Nigeria, we have generated shame in the face of black people, therefore a change is a must. We must forget APC; we must forget PDP, and all those institutions of corruption and bribery and create a befitting country”, he stressed.
Responding, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav dismissed the Amnesty International’s report as unfair to the Nigerian Army and other security agencies. Tsav said if IPOB members were not armed, the Army and other security agencies would not have shot at them.
“I don’t think Amnesty International has been fair at all. What do you expect the Army, Police and other security agencies to do when they are confronted with armed protesters? Do you expect them to fold their hands when they come under fire? If these demonstrators are not armed and violent, nobody would use force against them’’, he declared.
While describing IPOB’s activities as amounting to an act of treason, Tsav said no responsible government would fold its arms while some elements are engaged in acts capable of leading to break down of law and order.
Insisting that the Army and other security agencies should be given fair hearing, Tsav added ‘’If the force used by security agencies against Biafra agitators is proportionate to the force threatened by the Biafra agitators, the security agencies will be justified in the deaths of Biafran agitators. However if it is the other way round then security agencies can be accused of unlawful killings.”
Tsav who commended the way the Federal Government has been handling IPOB’s issue accused IPOB and MASSOB members of engaging in illegal acts.
“All these agitations and demonstrations are needless. There are other legitimate channels through which these people can express their grievances. They can get to the National Assembly through their elected representatives who in turn will table their case before the appropriate authorities. Taking to the streets, embarking on violent demonstrations, and disrupting commercial activities at their own will is not acceptable. Enough is enough”, he declared.
Urging the Federal Government not to release IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu who is being detained, Tsav said Kanu should not be released but rather should be made to continue with his on-going trial.
‘’Why should Kanu be released? He has committed an offence. He has committed treason. If Kalu is released, his release will encourage others to take to crime. His trial by the Federal Government should be pursued to a logical conclusion. Where was Kanu and his co-travellers during the Nigerian civil war? It is likely some of them were not yet born. Nigeria can’t afford any war again, and this is why Kanu and his followers must be checkmated’’, he declared