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Monday 29 May 2023

Biafra Remembrance Day: How May 30 frightens Nigeria government


Written By Eluwa Chidiebere Chinazu | Biafra Writers

May 29, 2023.

In Nigeria, West Africa, there has been an intense battle between the people and the government of the day, over an important ritual slated every 30th of May - "Biafra Remembrance Day".

In 2015, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) - the present movement championing the restoration of the defunct State of Biafra, initiated the idea of solemnizing the fallen heroes of Biafra, who were decimated in a genocidal war by Nigeria between May 30, 1967 to January 12, 1970.

Since this exercise was nurtured in the minds of the people of the region, it has recorded tremendous compliance; alas! The government of Nigeria would by all means not let the people decide how they want to mourn their dead, by using the militarily to clamp down on the people.

Prior to the failed 'Aburi Accord' between the then Nigerian head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, and the military governor of the Eastern region, Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, which was meant to foster peace by restructuring the country's military and constitution, there was a military coup, a counter-coup followed by the different anti-Igbo pogroms in the country which extinguished thousands of Igbo lives  and lastly the Nigeria-Biafra war.

An implausible theory - that masking the memories of the genocidal war and its aftermath - would catalyze the complete erosion of the Biafra ideology, and dissuade the likelihood of the one-time war, is what makes the Nigeria government hellbent on inhibiting the pattern Biafrans want to remember their dead.

In effect, lobbying world diplomats, buying weapons from the United States, carrying out excessive military drilling on the Biafra territories, sidelining the region politically, et cetera; are areas the Nigerian government shows their power.

In their bid to bury the Biafra ideology, the then MASSOB (Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra) group championed by Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, was surmounted through the use of force. Okuzu SARS massacre, Ezu River massacre of MASSOB members, and the taking into confinement of the leader etc trimmed the glorious wings of MASSOB. From that moment the Nigerian government breathed in fresh air.

When it seemed to the government that the task of burying Biafra ideology had successfully been achieved, then came Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's IPOB out of the blue. A more formidable Biafra liberation movement that succeeded in rejuvenating the spirit of Biafra beyond comprehension.

In the light of this new development, the Nigerian government still adopted the same method used in quelling MASSOB to bring Kanu's IPOB to a halt. But instead of yielding the required result, it fueled the movement and skyrocketed the groups zealousness to the brim.

Against Kanu's IPOB, the government has shown how desperate they are in halting the group by not minding both local and international laws binding self determination movements. There has been a series of massacres against the group. For example: Nkpor massacre on May 30, 2016, Igwuocha (Port Harcourt) massacre during Donald Trump presidential campaign rally, Onitsha headbridge massacre, Emene massacre, Afara Ibeku massacre, Igwuocha express  road Aba massacre (IPOB members were made to drink dirty mud water), National High School Aba, massacre et cetera.

Amidst all these, IPOB stands tall. The 30th May solemnization, "Biafra Remembrance Day,'' birthed by the movement still records unimaginable compliance as the whole Biafran territory is already embarking upon the annual ritual at their various homes. It has always been a (sit-at-home) ghost town every May 30. This year's solemnization would not be different.

EDITOR: Comrade Lawson

PUBLISHER: Comrade Ofor Princewill

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