Today, the Nigerian Armed Forces officially labeled the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu a terrorist organization. This was after the violent secessionist group attacked soldiers on duty with dangerous instruments like stones and broken bottles, killed a police officer, burnt down a police station, destroyed Mosque, blocked roads, harassed road users. and searched for non-Igbos to kill. Before these, the IPOB leader launched a Secret Security Service, Standing Army, Lion Squad, and even inspected what he described as Biafran Guard.
This unrepentant secessionist group leader launched those outfits despite the fact that he is being tried for treason and is also currently on an unmerited conditional bail granted to him due to his alleged bad health condition. He has also threatened that his group will burn down the country if the government rearrest him for violating his bail conditions.
While every patriotic citizen lauds the government’s efforts in maintaining law and order by acting promptly to curtail the violent and satanic activities of IPOB and its leader Nnamdi Kanu, it is unfortunate and in fact stupid that some of our Igbo brothers who should know better are already exercising their baseless hate for the person of Muhammadu Buhari by accusing him of tribalism in handling the IPOB saga.
Some of these folks claimed that Fulani herdsmen who have been killing people, were not labeled terrorists but the government was quick in labeling “defenseless agitators” terrorists. While the activities of some Fulani herdsmen are evil and condemnable, there is a wide distinction between them and IPOB.
IPOB like Boko Haram is hiding under some unrealistic demands to set the nation ablaze. How can you describe a group that declares itself superior to the existing constitutional institutions and even a sovereign state? How can you describe an organization that delights in blackmailing the state, brainwashing the young minds, and radicalizing them to the extent that most of them now take the organization’s leader as their god and thus, is ready to carry out ANY instruction he gives?
How can you describe an association that mocks the ruling of a court and threatened to kill any security officer that attempts to compel its leader to abide by the ruling of the court? Anybody that is conversant with the birth of Boko Haram will understand that there is no difference between it and IPOB.
Those who claim that IPOB is defenseless must be either ignorant of the group’s activities or are being controlled by baseless sentiments. How can you describe a group that circulates various pictures of ammunition and weapons as they're online as defenseless? How can you describe a group that constantly boasts of being in possession of dangerous weapons to destabilize a sovereign state as defenseless? How can you describe a group that with pose with matches, stones, heavy sticks and charms as defenseless?
Even if their claims of weapons possession are false, no responsible individual or government will take them as defenseless and keep silent after seeing such coupled with their activities.
Also, those who claim IPOB members are peaceful agitators should tell us how a group that sits on top of rights of others are peaceful agitators? How can one describe a group that uses threats to force innocent citizens to stay indoor as peaceful agitators? How can a group who block federal roads, harass innocent citizens who are going about their lawful businesses be described as peaceful agitators? How can a group who directed its members to attack any security officer who attempts to disperse them from blocking federal roads be described as peaceful agitators? How can a group that specializes in hate speech spread be described as peaceful agitators?
My fellow Igbo brothers should know that the deadly Boko Haram once operated with stones, broken bottles, sticks, and machetes. They should also know that brainwashing, hate speech, and radicalization which are tools of IPOB were also tools used by Boko Haram to recruit and advance.
Ndị Igbo should also avoid the mistakes of some Northern citizens who were sympathizing with Boko Haram due to their hate for former President Goodluck Jonathan and sentiments, but later realized that they were only promoting terrorism in their region. Ndị Igbo should not wait for a time when our elders will start pushing for the formation of civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in the South-East before believing that a young Boko Haram called IPOB is at our doorstep and should be eliminated.
They should also understand that no one loves the Igbo race more than IPOB critics and instead of labeling the critics of Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB as Efulefus (Saboteurs) or haters, they should allow wisdom to lead them instead of sentiments.
As for those who always become human rights activists any time their sentiments fail to prevail, they should know that human rights are meant to safeguard the interests of the general public and promote orderliness and not to cause anarchy or promote stupidity. They should always know that NO RIGHT is absolute and even the rule of law has its limitations.
We should always condemn acts that can cause anarchy in the state instead of defending them in the name of human rights activism or Political Correctness. We should know that lasting peace can’t be achieved under anarchy. The full respect of the state sovereignty and laws will automatically breed lasting peace.
Stop the baseless hate on the person of Muhammadu Buhari so that your reasoning can function properly. Nigeria is bigger than everybody and no individual or group should be allowed to put the nation into flames. May God bless the government and citizens of Nigeria and may he guide our security agencies as they make the supreme sacrifice to keep us safe. IPOB has proven itself as a terrorist group and should be treated as such.
• Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu writes from Awka, Anambra State.