The Indigenous People of Biafra has said it will vote on whether to continue with its non-violent approach in relation with the Nigerian state or to take up arms. Leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, who said this in a statement on Wednesday, also backed out of the planned talks between the group and the South-East Governors Forum scheduled for Friday September 15th.
The clashes between IPOB and security agencies have escalated in recent days following the show of force by the Nigerian Army through the Operation Python Dance 2.
Kanu said there is a “concerted effort by the oppressive Nigerian state to shatter the peace and tranquillity of the South-East and the rest of Biafraland through military intimidation.” He said his decision not to attend the meeting with the governors is due to three reasons:
- To attend to his followers: “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 in my house and those stationed along motorways leading into Umuahia, my hometown.”
- An alleged assassination plot: “I have been reliably informed also that a detachment of this same 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.”
- An IPOB meeting scheduled for same day: “On that same Friday, the 15th of September, 2017, the leadership of IPOB, through the instrumentality of the Directorate of State, 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.”
Kanu had met with the governors at the Enugu State Government House on August 30, with both parties agreeing to meet again on September 15.
Kanu’s statement also contained threats against those he termed as “anti-Biafra Igbo”. He described them as “collaborators and agents of the oppressor” and advised them to immediately go into self-imposed exile.