Several members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra IPOB, the umbrella organization that fights to establish the Biafra nation out of South-South and South Eastern states of Nigeria have reportedly fled the proposed Biafran territories as a result of the violent clampdown on the organization by the Federal Government of Nigeria. From what Umuaka Times correspondent in the region gathered, over 500 members of IPOB and other pro- Biafran groups have so far been either declared missing by families or allegedly killed by the Nigerian forces. All the killings, detentions and other inhuman treatments suffered so far by IPOB members were done under extrajudicial circumstances according to several reports by observer and advocacy groups. This development has somehow attracted both local and international outcry and condemnations.
Human rights fighter and the founder of IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who was abducted from a Kenyan Airways flight in June 2021 by the Federal Government of Nigeria is still being detained till date, despite the Appeal Court judgment that set him free. The Punch Newspaper of 13th October 2022, writing under the title, Appeal Court frees Nnamdi Kanu, observes thus:
“The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday upheld the appeal of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. The court also discharged and acquitted the embattled leader of the proscribed group. Kanu had in his appeal dated April 29 and marked CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022 applied to be discharged and acquitted. Kanu was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, and was later granted bail on April 25, 2017. However, the Court of Appeal on Thursday declared as illegal and unlawful, the abduction of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria and quashed the entire terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government.”
Umuaka Times which as a pro-democracy and human rights advocacy newspaper has at different times done some stories on the current situation of IPOB and her members. From the findings made so far by the newspaper, the realities on the ground call for a serious intervention; several IPOB members are languishing in detention, some others have fled the country, many have been killed while others have been declared missing by family members. The Sahara Reporters newspaper of March 31, 2023 under the title, Nigerian Army, Police Shoot Dead Five Alleged IPOB Members In Abia During Protest Against Detention Of Nnamdi Kanu sadly reports about the killings of IPOB members. “There was pandemonium in Aba, the Abia State commercial nerve centre, as combined security agencies made up of army and police shot dead five members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, who were peacefully protesting against the detention of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”
One Osuala Tochukwu Benignus, an IPOB member who disclosed to Umuaka Times that he has taken part in several peaceful protests organized by IPOB is perhaps someone with the blessings of God. As his name, Tobechukwu (Praise God) implies, the poor IPOB boy has continued to praise God for having saved him from the shackles of death he had faced as a member of the group. Tobechukwu is among the lucky members of the group who were able to escape from the onslaught. He had reached out to Umuaka Times via a telephone call and appealed to the newspaper to join forces with other human rights bodies and individuals to continue the campaign to free Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB members who are still in detention.
Tochukwu also confirmed to Umuaka Times via a telephone interview that he was a part of some protests across the Southeastern states where the police and other security officers had trigger-happily opened fire on armless peaceful protesters and killed several IPOB members. “Do you know that if I was still around, I would have been killed by now because I have the suspicion that my name may be among the names of those IPOB members on the wanted list of Nigerian Police Force and DSS.”
Tochukwu thanked the newspaper for standing out to fight for the enthronement of human rights and democracy in Nigeria and West Africa.