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Tuesday 5 November 2019

Biafra: I will die agitating for Biafra – 76-year-old agitator


Chief Ngbabu James, 76, an elderly member of the Indigenous People of Biafra in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, tells EDWARD NNACHI why even in his old age, he has been involved in the struggle for an independent Biafran state.

What was your experience during a military operation codenamed ‘Operation Python Dance II’ in the South-East in 2017, which led to the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra?

The experience was bad and very ugly because of the way we were treated by the military and other security forces. We were badly treated and not allowed to exercise some of our fundamental human rights. Our freedom of movement was curtailed and there were a lot of other infringements of our rights, but not just the members as the same ill-treatment was meted out to our leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

All of us had dehumanising and excruciating experience in the hands of the military. They treated us like animals and it was as if they knew what was planned against us at the Federal Government level. It hasn’t even stopped yet; even after the said Operation Python Dance was over, they still treated us as like animals. It wasn’t a funny experience. Right from the period of the military operation till date, our members throughout the South-East have been top targets for punishment and different kinds of ill-treatment.

In Ebonyi State, for instance, if they see you as an IPOB member, the army or police will arrest you. Many of our members are victims of that already.

At your age, why are you still agitating for Biafra?

I’m still supporting and agitating for Biafra because of what I have seen in the past and what I see happening in this country now. The Fulani people treat us like nobodies; they treat us as though we don’t mean anything to Nigeria. They see themselves as first-class citizens and see the Igbo and others as second-class citizens. This is wrong. If you consider the situation critically, you will realise that our culture and that of the Fulani people are not the same. The way they think and reason isn’t different from the way we do.

They are only after the development of their region and people, while others suffer. Go to the North, there are good roads and there is electricity; but here in the South-East, or other areas, what do you see? They should allow us to have our country and we believe it will happen one day.

READ ALSO: Biafra: I’m in Biafra struggle for my children, grandchildren - 75-year-old agitator

Why have you not given up on the struggle despite your age?

I can’t give up on the agitation for the actualisation of Biafra. I will only give up on that struggle when I’m dead. And maybe before that happens, the current struggle would have brought into fruition the country called Biafra. I have not even started and equally not done anything yet as my contributions to the struggle despite my services. I will not give up. I will only stop agitating for it when the Biafra dream becomes a reality.

I’m very sure that Biafra will soon become a reality. This is because of what Maazi Nnamdi Kanu has done and still does which has never been done by anyone who calls themselves a Biafran agitator. Our leader, Kanu, had promised us that Biafra would become a reality and as a man of integrity that he is, we know we will have Biafra.

IPOB has been proscribed. Why do you still believe in it?

Why I still believe in IPOB is because it is not a terrorist group. One, a terrorist group doesn’t have an address but IPOB does. Two, terrorist groups bear arms and other dangerous weapons, but IPOB does not have a single gun and its members don’t wield arms. It is a peaceful organisation, which is pursuing a genuine agenda. If they describe IPOB as a terrorist group, that means its members are terrorists too. I don’t think so. I’m not a terrorist; I live and relate with people peacefully and do my business genuinely. So am I a terrorist? No, I’m not. The proscription of IPOB was wrong in the first place.

By being a member of a proscribed group, are you not afraid for your life?

I’m not afraid to be part of IPOB in my old age. One, I’m fighting for my rights and anyone who is fighting for their rights has not committed any crime in my land. Two, I have been part of the struggle for over 15 years now, so why should I get cold feet in the struggle, all of a sudden? My old age has never been a limitation and won’t be


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Publisher: Charles Opanwa

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