Bianca Ojukwu, the wife of late Biafra warlord, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, has said that there is no justification for the categorization of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a terrorist organization by the Nigerian army as well as its proscription by the south-east governors.
The Nigerian army, few days ago, termed IPOB as a terrorist organization after the group clashed with Nigerian military personnel in Abia. Nigerian army had launched an exercise termed Operation Python Dance II in the south-eastern states to tame kidnapping, violent agitations and to protect the territorial intergrity of Nigeria, the army had said.
Similarly, the south-east governor had equally proscribed the activities of IPOB in the region following army’s categorization of the group as a terrorist organization.
Many, including the President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, have condemned such categorization of IPOB as terrorist organization, saying it is unconstitutional.
Lending her voice also, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu said every Igbo son and daughter ought to condemn the categorization of IPOB as a terrorist organization because it is, according to her, an armless group. She said, dialogue remains a better way of calming the agitation of especially the Igbo youths whom she said have continued to become disillusioned with the Nigerian collective existence, saying surely another spring shall rise, in God’s own time. She said the rise of the spring shall be to condemn the categorization of IPOB as a terrorist organization.
“The Federal Govt has just declared IPOB a terrorist Organisation after the Operation Python Dance 2 debacle with its attendant military occupation of our homeland. There is simply no justification for this categorization. The members of this movement do not bear arms. While I might have reservations about their sometimes provocative rhetoric as well as some of their tactics, this branding is to say the least, extreme. “Ndigbo bear a painful historical burden. We lost almost 3 million of our people, almost a quarter of our population at the time between 1966 and 1970 in our battle for survival.
Global and Regional Organisations did nothing; the world superpowers and most foreign governments looked the other way…and little has changed since then. “Otherwise the horrendous crimes against humanity would not have occurred in Rwanda, Darfur, Ethiopia, Somalia and the Congo, not to mention Syria.
“Someone once said that the world laments atrocities only in aftermath, but not in the lead up when something could have been done. We have travelled this road before. We are now walking the minefield. When the tanks roll in, and the casualties begin to mount, the world will yet again call it another ‘internal matter’ or ‘ ethnic conflict’. And tell us that we ought to be grateful that we were not exterminated upon surrender.
“We owe it to the memory of those who we loved and lost, who were let down by those who could have come to their rescue, and who paid the supreme price in our battle for survival to say NEVER AGAIN. OZOEMENA. “This is the time to apply the brakes. We must impress it upon our youth, who have become disillusioned and have lost hope in our collective existence in a union in which they feel increasingly excluded and isolated, the need to tread with caution.
There is need to explore other avenues, and the doors must never be shut against dialogue. “Surely another spring shall rise, in God’s own time , But what every onye Igbo must rise up against is this categorization of IPOB or any other pro Biafra movements which are not armed militias as terrorist organizations, and the increased military presence in the South East.”