I Hawk Biafra Paraphernalia to Earn Income to Feed My 11 Children – Says IPOB Female Member
The recent visit of Nnamdi Kanu and his many IPOB supporters to Aguata LG headquarters, Ekwulobia, is a clear indication that a turning point may have been reached in the tactics for handling pro-Biafra agitation and hopefully, the official reaction toward self-determination quest of indigenous peoples of the Lower Niger (a. k. a. Greater Biafra). Nigeria’s central government, which used to have zero tolerance toward pro-Biafra agitation, particularly via public demonstrations and rallies, may have soft-pedaled since release of Nnamdi Kanu from 19-month extrajudicial incarceration in the Kuje Prison, Abuja.
The killings of pro-Biafra agitators by Nigeria’s security agencies used to happen when IPOB supporters and other self-determination activists took to the streets or assembled in other public places to press their demands. Perhaps, the futility of using summary killings as deterrent for pro-Biafra agitation has finally sunk into the heads of minders of the status quo at Aso Rock Villa. The international uproar against the Buhari administration as well as the subsisting lawsuits filed in the international courts coupled with damning reports by Amnesty International (AI) and others may have finally combined to send a firm message to the Commander-in-chief that the Nigerian government must change course or else.
The recent Ekwulobia outing was massive and arguably the most audacious thus far. The Police, units of the Nigeria Army and other state security agencies were aware of the intended gathering and they mobilized properly beforehand. This video was made to spotlight an occasion that took place close to the town center at the LG headquarters before the arrival of Mr. Kanu and his IPOB supporters. Based on the account, the security agencies were deployed early in the day in vicinity of the Roundabout which also serves as the commercial hub. But all they could do was to harass those who had arrived early for the planned demonstration, particularly those who were making brisk business transactions by hawking Biafra paraphernalia at the rally venue. As the lady in the video narrated, she was roughed up, disrobed and her goods severely damaged because they depict the Biafra that official Nigeria has learnt to loathe with so much passion. But soon, the crowd size got much bigger to the extent that all the security agencies on hand could do was to stay on the sidelines and watch. Pro-Biafra agitators swarmed the Ekwulobia Roundabout and adjacent business stalls and shops decked out in black, green, red and gold colors of the Biafra flag.
While the demonstrators choked up the town center, Nnamdi Kanu and his entourage had a special private meeting nearby with community elders and some Christian priests who gathered to receive the visiting group. The security agencies must have found their presence in Ekwulobia redundant since the noisy demonstrations were, as usual, conducted in atmosphere of calm and order.
The Biafra paraphernalia hawker, who was earlier rough-handled by the state security, made very important points which can help some to better understand the intensity of passion driving pro-Biafra agitators and to appreciate the true underpinnings of the “Give-us-Biafra-or-death” dogma. According to the mother of 11 children who spoke in the video, the symbolism of actualized Biafra for her is the only hope she has today that her lot and children’s can be bettered sooner than later. She took the opportunity offered her to lambaste the Anambra state governor, Mr. Willie Obiano, who she accused of having cheated her by refusing to pay for the job she had already done working for the state. More important, the state governor was blamed for authorizing the extrajudicial killing of pro-Biafra sympathizers some of whom were dumped into the Ezu River after their executions by government troops.
The articulate woman vowed that she would rather be dead than to continue to live under the status quo which would leave no stone unturned to deny her freedom of speech, movement and worship. The attraction of self-determination activism for this woman and millions like her is evident and palpable. Economic hard times throughout Nigeria is the main driver. When economic hardship has the deprivation of rights superimposed on it, a sense of desperation supervenes. Nigeria could not have dreamed for a worse time for the ongoing pro-Biafra agitation than NOW!