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Saturday 7 August 2021

Ghost Town In Biafra, A Trial Referendum?

Ghost Town In Biafra, A Trial Referendum?

August 7, 2021

By David Umahi | Biafra Writers 

A non-violent, freedom movement in Nigeria; the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, fronting the liberation of the Biafran people seems to have upped its stride to realising a sovereign state. 

IPOB said it would stage a passive protest, tagged 'ghost town'. That is, holding aloof from every form of social and economic activities until their demands are met. 

Could this be a litmus test to their sought-after referendum? 

This piece is a summation of the view of many Biafrans that discussed the recent declaration of “Ghost Town” by the Indigenous People of Biafra.

The Directorate of State of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, had given a deadline to the federal government of Nigeria towards the release of its detained leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

On Thursday, July 29, 2021, Chika Edoziem, Head of IPOB's Directorate of State issued an ultimatum that, "Nigeria failing to release Kanu on or before August 8 would be faced with a weekly 'ghost town' action every Monday".

In that case, ghost town means an out and out desertion of roads, streets; including abstinence from socio-economic, and political activities that on such a day, Biafrans will desert the streets, which would completely cripple every economic, and social functions.

Edoziem was unapologetic in the declaration: “The Directorate of the Indigenous People of Biafra, demand herewith an unconditional release of our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on or before the 8th of August, 2021, failing which we shall commence a weekly lockdown of Biafra land starting on Monday 9th of August.”

“For the avoidance of doubt’ he continued, ‘the total lockdown of Biafra land will take place every Monday until our leader is released unconditionally.

“We are now into freedom struggle proper and everybody must understand that before the arrest of our leader, he raised the dragon flag, which was never brought down even at this moment. You know what that means.”

It is pertinent to note that Nnamdi Kanu's abduction, which appeared conspiratorial, was effectuated in Kenya by the country’s authorities, then rendered to Nigeria. It was a grave international crime known as "extraordinary rendition," and Nigeria has been berated globally for its action, called out as a display of international "gangsterism" (sic).

It is very clear; Nigerian government, being dangled by streaks of criticism by the people, has become confused, and crippled to front the trial of the Biafran leader. For instance, on June 29, he was brought to court hooded, and without prior notification to his lawyers that he was to be in court - after which the case was adjourned to July 26.

In the same light, Nigeria's Department of Security Services (DSS), on the latter date, failed to bring the accused [Kanu] to court, claiming they had logistics problems. As a result, the case suffered another adjournment until October 21, 2021.

It was a development the Biafrans were not ready to accept. It showed in the declaration of Edoziem: “It is completely unacceptable to IPOB to allow our leader remain in the hands of the enemy up to October, 2021.” For this reason, "ghost town in Biafra" was activated.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of camaraderie and solidarity, IPOB's counterpart - Ambazonia - in Central African Cameroon has declared full support for the “ghost town” in the Eastern region of Nigeria. The Ambazonians are a people in the South-western tip of Cameroon that has also been in a quest to exit from Republic of Cameroon. They share common boundary with Biafra, and had been seeking to severe ties with Cameroon, which it joined six decades ago.  The leadership entered into alliance with the Biafran leadership in April this year.

The leader of Ambazonia, Ayaba, made his declaration of support less than 24 hours after the Biafran declaration. His words: “The people of Ambazonia have declared their unalloyed support for the planned weekly lock down in Biafra code named 'ghost town'”.

Many observers believe Ambazonia's support would worsen the situation for Nigeria as it said their land borders would remain closed. The people of Ambazonia have had records of successful sit-in (ghost town) protests which completely crippled economic activities in Cameroon.

Apart from the effects, believers in one-Nigeria think “Ghost Town Biafra” pose for the countries unity and the economy of Biafra, many Biafran activists think they were not seeing well. The Biafrans wonder why those they call the one-Nigerianists were not seeing Biafran referendum in the Ghost Town declaration.

Chidi Emeka, a Biafran who resides at Ngbuka Onitsha area has put up his view, that:, “Nigerian leadership of this current dispensation is not wise at all. They continue to follow this issue to their own detriment. Don’t they know that they giving referendum indirectly?”

He claims as Biafrans desert the streets, they world would be left in no doubt that Biafrans want out of Nigeria.

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