The planned sit-at-home protests organized by the two major pro-Biafra separatist groups, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) is generating tension in the Southeast states of the country.
Both pro-Biafra groups ordered a sit-at-home of the major pro-Biafra exponents inhabiting the southeastern states of Nigeria, the Igbo ethnic/tribal nation and other minority ethnic/tribal nations inhabiting the south-south states of Nigeria, the Efik, Annang, Ibibio and Ijaw, all the tribal nations inhabiting the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, which metamorphosed into the former Republic of Biafra.
IPOB and MASSOB ordered a sit-at-home, the closure of all markets and restriction of all movements, to celebrate the birth of Biafra which was declared on May 30, 1967, and to honor Biafran war heroes and slain activists of separatist Biafra.
The late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (under authorization of the ‘Biafran Consultative Assembly’) declared the independence of the Republic of Biafra, activating secession from Nigeria on May 30, 1967 – which was unrecognized by the then Nigerian government of Major Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Rtd.).
A civil war raged in the aftermath of the May 30 declaration. The civil war started on July 6, 1967 when the then Head of State General Yakubu Gowon first declared a failed “Police Action” to stem an assumed ‘insurrection’ leading to a full declaration of war to end the secession. The 30-month-old civil war ended on January 15, 1970.
The Nigerian Police, not taking the IPOB and MASSOB sit-at-home order lightly, on Monday, deployed its officers and equipment in the Southeast, vowing to decisively deal with the pro-Biafra protesters. There was deployment of anti-riot policemen at strategic locations in Enugu (capital of Enugu state and the former capital of Biafra) on Monday evening at strategic locations such as major markets and the federal and state civil service secretariats.
The Enugu State Police Command on Monday said it would deal decisively with agitators that attempt to stop people from going about their normal activities. The Enugu state police spokesperson, Ebere Amaraizu, in a statement, said the police is working with other security agencies to forestall the breakdown of law and order.
Ahead of the planned sit-at-home order being circulated by IPOB and MASSOB, the Enugu State Command of the Nigeria Police Force advised members of the public to disregard such order and go about their normal lawful business.
Whether the other minority groupings in the south-south states of the former Biafra will obey the MASSOB and IPOB order is left to be seen today (May 30) as the sit-at-home order to remember the 50th year anniversary of the declaration of Biafra continues today – May 30, 2017.