IPOB members storm church, protest to Obiano

…Biafra is not possible now–Orji Kalu
…Warns Fayose against hate speech
…Arewa youths goading Nigeria into another civil war —Groups

By Emeka Mamah, Vincent Ujumadu & Boluwaji Obahopo

AWKA—The insistence by members of IPOB, that there would be no election in Anambra State in November this year, allegedly took a dangerous dimension with some youths suspected to be members of IPOB storming St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State where Governor Willie Obiano was worshipping and tried to disrupt the service.

IPOB members on solidarity march

This came as former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, said the agitation for the Republic of Biafra by Igbo cannot be possible now, calling on them to channel their energy to agitating for Igbo to become President of Nigeria.

This is even as Igbo Civil Society Coalition, ICSCO, made up of Igbo activists, civil society organisations, professional bodies, faith-based organisations and town unions, has accused Arewa youths of allegedly goading Nigerians into another civil war through hate speech, and urged the Federal Government to avert the ugly situation.

ICSCO also expressed dismay over the inability of the National Assembly to align itself with the wishes of Nigerians cutting across partisan, ethno-religious and socio-economic lines, that the country should be restructured into six federating units to ensure justice and equity in the country.

It also appealed to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to withdraw  its threat to scuttle the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State.

IPOB storms Church

An eye witness told Vanguard that the governor had hardly settled down in the church when some youths, including women, who adorned Biafra dresses and waving Biafra flags, besieged the gate of the church, chanting Biafra songs and shouting: “No election in Anambra State “, “We want referendum”, and “No referendum, no election.”

It was gathered that as they forced their way through the gate, the governor’s security men promptly locked up the entrance.

However, a member of the governor’s press crew said the governor was not disturbed in any way, adding that despite the presence of the IPOB youths outside the church, he still addressed the congregation towards the end of the service and stayed till the end.

Meanwhile,  Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr. Garba Umar, who confirmed the incident, warned that the police would no longer tolerate such impunity. He, however, said the intention of the protesters was not to attack the governor.

“ The police had to stop them at the gate. If they had dared my men; it would have been a different story. We can’t watch anybody breach public peace in this state. They should be warned to desist from this impunity.”

Biafra, not possible—Kalu

Kalu said rather than dissipate energy agitating for  secession, they should up their political ante and play politics of inclusion, which can earn the Igbo the nation’s president sooner.

He also took a swipe at Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State over his comment in a recent interview that he (Kalu) was misleading the Igbo to embrace the All Progressives Congress, and also on his (Fayose) comments on President Muhammedu Buhari.

Kalu spoke in Lokoja, weekend, while delivering a lecture at  an Igbo gathering for the inauguration of Igbo Support Group for Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, which he entitled: “Mainstreaming Igbo into Nigeria Politics.”

He said: “We must fix Nigeria to work. We, Igbo have made progress but it is not yet  uhuru for us. This is not the time to pop champagne but a time for conscious reflection on the road we have passed, where we are and where we intend to be in the years ahead.

“We must stop listening to people who say Biafra is possible. If we want Biafra, we must first ensure that referendum is included in the constitution review.

“Nigeria should be thinking of annexing other African countries rather than dividing them. China has two billion people but is  not talking about secession.  Nigeria with less than 200 million populace is talking about secession.”

On quit notice to Igbo

On the recent quit notice given to Igbo by the Arewa youths, Kalu said: “Recently, we have witnessed a rise in ethnic activism. A lot of people have expressed fears that Nigeria may be coming to an end. Well in politics, you have to entertain all manner of fears while working on possibilities.

“However, the issues raised have caused some to wonder if the Igbo have leaders. Of course, Igbo leaders are talking and dialoguing. In politics, you often dialogue more than you talk. So, in managing a diverse country like Nigeria, you need to dialogue and communicate rightly. That way, you will be able to manage tension.

“In this regard, I want to specially thank the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Chief John Nnia Nwodo for the mature way it handles the quit notice.”

Warns Fayose against hate speech

On Governor Fayose, he said: “I call on my friend, Governor Ayodele Fayose, to focus his criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari on his performance rather than his health or family issues.

“When I was a governor, I was at loggerheads with former President Olusegun Obasanjo but it was purely on government activities. I never went personal. Fayose should take a cue too.

“His  recent interview in the Interview magazine where he said I was deceiving the Igbo into joining APC is uncalled for. I’m taking the Igbo to the central stage of politics and decision taking.”

“I advise Fayose to stop hate speeches. It is distractive, bad, not brotherly and against the spirit of brotherhood. We must not allow our country just like the Rwanda genocide to tread the path of hate speeches.”

IPOB storms church, attacks Obiano

The insistence by members of IPOB, that there would be no election in Anambra State in November this year, allegedly took a dangerous dimension with some youths suspected to be members of IPOB storming St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, where Governor Willie Obiano was worshipping and tried to disrupt the service.

An eye witness told Vanguard that the governor had hardly settled down in the church when some youths, including women, who adorned Biafra dresses and waving Biafra flags, besieged the gate of the church, chanting Biafra songs and shouting: “No election in Anambra State “, “We want referendum”, and “No referendum, no election.”

It was gathered that as they forced their way through the gate, the governor’s security men promptly locked up the entrance.

However, a member of the governor’s press crew said the governor was not disturbed in any way, adding that despite the presence of the IPOB youths outside the church, he still addressed the congregation towards the end of the service and stayed till the end.

Meanwhile,  Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr. Garba Umar, who confirmed the incident, warned that the police would no longer tolerate such impunity. He, however, said the intention of the protesters was not to attack the governor.

Nigerian activist set for London lecture

Meantime, Human Rights Consortium, HRC, School of Advanced Study, University of London has invited a Nigerian rights activist, Mr Ugochukwu Osuagwu, to take part in series of activities to mark the 10th anniversary of the United Nations, UN, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In an invite dated July 26, 2017, the Nigerian lawyer is also expected to deliver a paper entitled, “Biafra Agitation in Nigeria and Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Self-Autonomy: A Global Re-awakening.”

Signed by the Academic Support Officer Human Rights Consortium, Mr. Yesim Yaprak Yildiz, the invite stated that the  conference would present a platform to systematically appraise the progress and challenges of the UN Declaration of rights of indigenous people, with a view to proffering recommendations on the way forward

In a chat with journalists in Abuja, Osuagwu said his London lecture will centre on remedial measures and a moral suasion to the separatist groups to give peace a chance having succeeded in awakening the Nigerian state to past and present injustices.

The post IPOB members storm church, protest to Obiano appeared first on Vanguard News.

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