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Sunday 3 November 2019

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


Mrs Patience Orji, 75, from Anambra State, is a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra. She tells EDWARD NNACHI why she has not given up on the Biafra dream

Why are you a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra, an organisation that has been proscribed by the government?

I have lived in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, with my late husband for over 20 years. I’m a member of IPOB and I’m happy to identify with the group. This is because I have seen what the Nigerian government has done to us in the South-East, most especially women.

What have been done to women?

Recently, there have been reported cases of Fulani herdsmen raping and killing our women. This is barbaric. I am in IPOB because of what Nnamdi Kanu is doing.

At your age, what if there is an issue that requires you to run, how would you cope?

I can’t run because of anything or from anything. It is better for the person chasing me to come and kill me; I won’t run. I can’t run while I’m on this Biafra land.  I’m not into this struggle for myself; I’m doing this for my children and grandchildren. We must be free because they have enslaved us enough. And I don’t think it is proper for a normal human being to be a slave to another.

What do your children and husband think about your engagement with IPOB?

For your information, they all support this cause. How many of them are graduates? Do they have jobs? Aren’t many of them jobless? And why won’t they support anything that will bring joy to them in future? Go to the streets of South-East and tell me what you see. Our graduates and best brains, many of them, are riding Okada (commercial motorcycles) and Keke (commercial tricycles).

But in the North, if you have finished secondary education, you will be on the payroll of the local government. They are using us. All the resources are from Biafra land; they still use our resources for their development while we are suffering here. And if we talk, AK47 would be directed at you.

It appears that you are unhappy with the situation in the country.

Yes, if you are a woman and you go to farm, they will rape and kill you. Their cattle are destroying our farmlands with impunity because their intention is to put us in abject poverty and perpetual suffering. My happiness and confidence come from the assurance that Nnamdi Kanu has given us that we will be free. People call me Mummy Biafra but I don’t care.

Are your husband and children not afraid for you?

They are not afraid. Mind you, my husband is dead and my children don’t bother about how involved I am with the struggle because the actualisation of Biafra someday will benefit them and their unborn children. My son is in Part Harcourt, Rivers State and my daughter is in Enugu. I have a child who is also a journalist. So, they are not afraid for me.

And even if the Biafra dream becomes a reality eventually, you may not be alive to enjoy the expected benefits considering your age, how does that make you feel?

Even if I don’t live to see the expected benefits, I don’t care. However, I’m sure my children will enjoy those benefits and I’m sure they will all get nice jobs. In my grave, I shall be happy. I will beat my chest and say I did it and that Biafra happened because of the sole reason that we believed in it. If those alive at the time would be able to see and enjoy the benefits, then don’t worry about me. That is enough for me.


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Publisher: Charles Opanwa

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