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Special Report: Buhari and Onitsha Navy Shooting of Pro-Biafrans

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*Palpable tension in Onitsha as IPOB vows to revenge *Buhari’s non-Igbo appointment unsettle Ndigbo*

To the people of the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria otherwise known and called the Igbo people, this is not the best time to talk about one Nigeria as events in recent time have turned out to work in the opposite direction for them.  

[Photo: One of those alleged to have died consequent upon the Navy shooting in Onitsha]

 Ndigbo most especially the elites, the political class and the youth are angry, frustrated, disillusioned and hopeless about Nigeria under President Muhamadu Buhari at the moment. 

The situation is consequent upon the non-appointment of an Igbo man into the Federal government setting by President Muhammadu Buhari who has continued to overlook Ndigbo following all the appointments he has made so far.

Also worrisome is the recent shooting of gun shots against members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by Men of the Nigeria Navy working in the commercial city of Onitsha which allegedly sent many able-bodied young men to their early grave.

Shortly after announcing the latest batch of appointments without including the Igbo again particularly given the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF ) to another zone contrary to expectations that the southeast zone will get it, the youth wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo in a statement issued in Enugu and singed by the National president Okechukwu Isiguzoro and Secretary General Obinna Amadi condemned the appointments so far made by President Buhari describing Buhari as purely anti Igbo.  Former Governor of Anambra state Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife in an interview wondered why Buhari denied the southeast the chance to produce the SGF. 

“I do not know the reason why he refused to concede the SGF to the southeast,” Ezeife said repeatedly in the Interview. 

Like Ezeife nobody except Buhari can explain the reason why he denied the Igbo the SGF office. The annoying thing is that as Ezeife puts it, “there is no other office left with which the President could use to placate Ndigbo for denying the SGF. Absolutely none” 

Not even Buhari or his aides or his loyalists in the southeast has been seen to come up with an explanation on where Ndigbo get it wrong and why they should not be given opportunity to serve in Buhari’s administration. 

During his acceptance speech shortly after he was issued Certificate of Return as winner of the Presidential election, Buhari said that, he would work for everybody including those who voted for him, those who did not vote him and those who did not vote at all. 

Again during, his inauguration at Eagle square, he said that he is for everybody and he is for nobody. Under these statements, the issue of whether Ndigbo voted for him or not should not come up at all. 

But it appears to have come up as appointments after appointment he has so far made shows contradiction or even hypocrite in the sense that clearly, he is for the North and not for the south particularly the southeast. This has explained the reason why some section of Nigerians label him as the King of the North and the Northerners Presidents. 

The truth of the matter is that Buhari has starved Ndigbo of a well-deserved federal appointment; He has really pushed Ndigbo to the wall. And it is not acceptable to Ndigbo because of the fact that Ndigbo have done so much for the development of Nigeria as a country and so they deserve to be part of what is happening at the center. 

As it stands now, the Igbo is absent in the scheme of things as it concerns federal appointments. He cannot be part of many discussions about Nigeria till God knows when and the situation has really unsettled the people in the southeast. 

Another issue that is bothering the Igbo man seriously is the incident of Navy shooting which allegedly sent about 30 able bodied young men to early grave. 

Observers are of the view that palpable tension is however building up in Onitsha, following the incident especially as eyewitnesses confirmed that the attack was unprovoked and unwarranted. 

The leaders of IPOB led by one Nnamdi Kalu in broadcast through Radio Biafra have vowed to avenge the shooting at their members which left many dead.

Notable groups like Ohaneze Ndigbo and Civil Societies like Human Right Watch (HURIWA) as well as eminent individuals across board have continued to question the shooting. 

Speaking from London the leaders of the IPOB led by one Nnamdi Kalu described the shooting as “a terrorist attack” on Ndigbo vowing that the IPOB must avenge the attack very soon. 

In a statement issued in Awka, the Anambra state the Vice Chairman of Ohaneze youth wing Anambra state chapter, Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Chigbo gave the Nigeria Navy a 14 day ultimatum to arrest and prosecute those Naval men who carried out the shooting, saying the incident cannot just be swept under the carpet, 

Members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) whose members were said to have been shot and killed on that faithful Sunday afternoon were still licking their wounds. 

There were conflicting figures about the casualties following the opening of fire on the IPOB members who were said to be evangelising to the people about the actualisation of Biafra.

Some sources said that as many as 30 persons were shot dead, while other sources said no fewer than 10 were allegedly killed when the naval team from the Odekpe Naval Post posted to Uga junction opened fire on the members of IPOB near Premier Breweries Onitsha along the Expressway.

A member of IPOB who was an eyewitness but pleaded anonymity said that several other members were injured following the attack on them by the Navy, saying that the dead bodies of their colleagues and the injured were taken to the Borromeo Hospital in Nkpor, near Onitsha.

The source said that they started the match from Mgbuka Obosi through Owerri Road to Nkpor, then back to Upper Iweka and was heading to Bridgehead, when a detachment of Navy personnel at Uga, Junction opened fire on them, killing and injuring several numbers of their members. He said the IPOB members numbering about 3,000 remained calm in the face of obvious provocation, insisting that nothing warranted the unprovoked attack on the innocent people.

However, a top official of the group Daniel Nzekwe said that he so far about five of their members were killed in the attack, but stated that he was still visiting the hospitals where injured ones were taken to ascertain the actual figure of their dead members.

However in a statement credited to the Commander of Odekpe Naval Post Dika kwabe, and published in national dailies the commander was quoted as saying that no life was lost, adding that his men shot sporadically on the air to scare away the pro-Biafrans who had already overwhelmed the Policemen on duty that day.

By Toby Chuks 

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