The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has urged people in the South East, South South and Middle Belt to observe a sit-at-home on October 1, a day Nigeria marks its 60th independence anniversary.
This comes even as Yoruba One Voice (YOV), a diaspora coalition, vowed to go ahead with its proposed rally for the self-determination of O’odua nation slated for October 1.
A statement by IPOB’s spokesperson, Emma Powerful, in Owerri, on Wednesday, called on Igbo and other Nigerians to boycott all ceremonies organised by the Federal Government for the anniversary. It also ordered the closure of businesses, schools and markets.
The Igbo separatists group also indicated its interest to join the Yoruba in their rally for an independent O’odua Republic.
“We the global movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to announce to all Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom all over the world that Biafrans across the globe shall observe a sit-at-home in Biafraland and where permissible in the diaspora and will join our Yoruba brethren agitating for Oduduwa Republic in public protests to mark the October 1, 2020 anniversary. Complete and total lockdown of Biafraland and other terror ravaged areas of the Middle Belt come October 1 is sacrosanct, irreversible and non-negotiable,” Powerful said.
The group warned it would not be responsible for any harm that befalls anyone as a result of the disobedience to the order.
Meanwhile, YOV has said the rally tagged “O’odua Republic” was designed to create awareness for self-determination and to draw global attention to happenings in Nigeria.
YOV’s Director of Communications, Zacheaus Somorin, in a statement, said the group was in 176 countries across six continents and was the umbrella body for over 300 Yoruba organisations in the world.
“The rally is to sensitise the world on the need to liberate the Yoruba from the shackles of bondage. We have made our position known to our people in Nigeria. The reason for seeking self-determination as the best means and alternative is to save the nation from impending implosion. The country is failing by the day.
“In Nigeria today, life is of no value. There is raging insecurity, electoral rigging, corruption, nepotism and cruel mis-governance. Nigerians at home are mostly affected.There is need for us to rise against political enslavement by a section of the country,” Somorin said.
The YOV spokesman added: “It is all about our image, it is all about our identity as member of a nation. This ‘forced marriage’ has not been working. Nigeria will be 60 by October and truth is there is nothing to show for it. Nothing except bad leadership. So, we need to change the narrative. We need to fight against these lawlessness and huge misappropriation of national fortune,” he said.
However, President-General of Yoruba World Congress (YWC), Prof Banji Akintoye, has said over 55 million people in Yorubaland would have a Yoruba nation of their own lawfully and without violence.
He made the disclosure in the keynote address he presented at Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State, during the celebration of the treaty that ended Kiriji war signed many years ago under the supervision of the colonial masters.
“We have been saying we will have a Yoruba nation of our own. Yoruba World Congress is committed to helping Yoruba nation to secure its position in the comity of nations,” he said, adding that the YWC had 45 organisations when the struggle for the liberation of Yoruba race began, and that the YWC now comprises 107 organisations.
“They do say I don’t compromise. It’s not every time. But once we say, we will take a common stance, I don’t know how to betray. We will get Yoruba nation free without violence, we will not break the laws of Nigeria. If there is anyone who wants to be violent, we will tell them, ‘no.’
“If you are violent and there are dead bodies on the streets, you are circumventing our purpose. We are telling the world that we want our own country. We have the rights to demand for our rights. When we launched Amotekun, was there any arrest, violence? If you want to stage a rally, do so. It’s your rights, but no violence. We don’t force our will on people. Explain to those organisations that don’t understand what you want. Yoruba will not suffer. We are the most populous in Africa. We want to take our own country and begin to build it. Nothing more.”