The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, backed out of planned talks between the secessionist group and the South-East Governors Forum on Wednesday.
The IPOB leader had met with the governors at the Enugu State Government House on August 30, and both parties agreed to hold further talks to seek an amicable resolution of issues raised by the pro-Biafra group.
Another meeting was scheduled to hold between Kanu and the governors on Friday, September 15, but, in a statement he personally signed, which was made available to journalists, the IPOB leader said he would no longer continue with the talks.
He blamed the development on an alleged plot by soldiers to assassinate him while on his way to the meeting with the governors.
He also disclosed that he was currently attending to his injured and bereaved followers, who had fallen victim to attacks by the military in the course of the ongoing ‘Operation Python Dance 2’, launched by the Nigerian Army in the South-East.
Mr. Kanu, in the statement, hinted that the leaders of the IPOB intended to meet to vote on whether to drop their non-violent approach and instead, use force to confront the Nigerian army.
Part of the statement read, “Before now, prominent leaders and groups had insisted that I tow the line of peaceful dialogue and meet with the governors to find a lasting solution to our grievances."
“I conceded to that request which led to the 30th of August 2017 meeting with the South-East Governors Forum at the Government House in Enugu, in the company of the very eminent Professor. Ben Nwabueze and Evangelist Elliott Ugochukwu-Ukoh."
“In view of the concerted effort by the oppressive Nigerian state to shatter the peace and tranquility of the South-East and the rest of Biafraland through military intimidation, it has become necessary for me to clarify why, regrettably, I may not be able to attend Friday’s meeting with the South-East governors as earlier agreed, for three main reasons.
“1.) We are currently busy attending to our dead and injured from this latest round of unprovoked military onslaught against innocent civilians in our own land. All the casualties so far were shot by men of the Nigerian Army deployed to my house and those stationed along motor ways leading into Umuahia my hometown."
“2.) I have been reliably informed also, that a detachment of … soldiers responsible for the murder of innocent unarmed IPOB family members have now been stationed near Enugu to ambush and assassinate me on my way to the meeting with the governors on Friday."
“3.) On that same Friday the 15th of September 2017, the leadership of IPOB through the instrumentality of the Directorate of State (DOS) headquartered in Germany, will be meeting to vote on the viability or otherwise of continuing our struggle in this non-violent manner. There is urgent need to begin the process of defending ourselves in the face of relentless murderous attacks from the Nigerian state.”