The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), has told the ex-Niger Delta war lord, Ateke Tom, and Delta State governor, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, that Rivers and Anioma people would decide through a referendum, if they are part of Biafra or not.
IPOB was reacting to a media remark credited to the ex-militant leader where he warned Biafra agitators to steer clear of Rivers State, arguing that Rivers State is not part of Biafra.
Tom led the defunct Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV) known for attacking oil installations alongside Asari Dokubo’s Niger Delta People Volunteer Force (NDPVF) before the late President Umaru Yar’Adua granted presidential amnesty to the militants.
Similarly, prominent sons of Anioma in Delta State led by Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, and Chief Ogbueshi Paul Oliko have asked Biafra agitators to count Anioma out of Biafra.
They insisted that Anioma was never part of the defunct Biafra Republic but belonged to Old Bendel State in the defunct Mid-West Region.
Okowa and Ogbueshi whose fathers were reportedly killed by the federal troops during the Asaba massacre, warned Biafra agitators not to include Anioma in the map of the proposed new Republic.
But in a swift reaction, IPOB told all those claiming to be speaking for the Rivers and Anioma people to hold their peace and allow the masses to decide through a referendum that would soon be conducted, to determine whether they are part of Biafra.
A statement issued yesterday by IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, Emma Powerful, asked the “self-appointed spokesmen of the Rivers and Anioma people” to stop parading themselves as such.
IPOB lambasted them for their utterances which it said, never reflected the opinions of the people “who will decide at the appointed time”.
The pro-Biafra group further said that those distancing themselves from the new Republic are ignorant of history.
The statement read in part: “We want to inform those government-paid Anioma people who don’t know the history of Anioma that they don’t know that Gen. Murtala Muhammed killed all the men in Asaba Delta State because of Biafra.
“They don’t also remember that Gen. Conrad Nwawo, Gen. Achuzie and the late Col. Chukwuma Nzeogwu who was the leader of 1966 coup that the Hausas and the Yorubas tagged as Igbo coup, all came from Anioma.
“One person or few people cannot speak for Anioma and Rivers people until the time of referendum. The people of Rivers State and Anioma of Delta State will decide where they belong.”