Separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech to Igbo corpers who visited him in his home town earlier in the week, where he called on them to ask their brothers to perish the thought of attaining an independent state, Biafra.
The group in a press release sent to journalists in Awka and signed by the spokespersons of the group Mr. Emma Nmezu and Dr. Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya said President Buhari could not be ‘running to the north’ each time he wanted to speak to Igbos, and questioned why he was not coming to Biafraland to preach unity to them.
IPOB also faulted Buhari’s claim that the reason for the 30 months war between Nigeria and Biafran forces was not oil or money, but the quest to remain a united country.
In the release titled: The Muhammadu Buhari speech to youth corpers: setting the records straight stated that, “The first question is: why can’t Buhari come to Biafraland to lecture Biafrans on unity rather than mouthing it every time he visits Daura or someplace in Northern Nigeria? Is Northern Nigeria the only place that a President travels to?
“Can anyone point us to a single visit that Buhari has made to Biafraland from May 29, 2015 till date? Buhari has made 30 foreign trips as at the end of May 2016 as well as countless trips to the Northern part of Nigeria including Boko Haram controlled regions but he has not set his feet on Biafran soil since he was sworn in on the 29th of May 2015”.
IPOB insisted that the reason for the war was not unity as stated by the president, saying, “Because Buhari was a junior officer in the Nigerian Army, it is understandable that he was not privy to the motive behind the war of genocide on Biafra which had the backing of our colonial masters.
“It may interest Buhari to know that in August 1967, the British Commonwealth Minister George Thomas informed the British Parliament that: ‘The sole immediate British interest in Nigeria is that the Nigerian economy should be brought back to a condition in which our substantial trade and investment in the country can be further developed, and particularly so we can regain access to important oil installations’. Buhari should now understand that oil is the main reason why they got the support of Britain.”
The group added that it was because of the control of oil in Biafraland that Britain in 1968 alone supplied hundreds of armoured personnel carriers (APCs), 10,000 machine guns, 20 million rounds of ammunition, 3,000 bayonets, 10,000 rifles with grenade launchers, 15,000 pounds of explosives, 21,000 mortar bombs, 42,500 Howitzer rounds, 5,000 submachine guns and other weapons of mass destruction deployed which aided the Nigeria side during the war.
It said that the excuse that Nigeria was big enough and therefore Biafrans were bound by the sheer size of Nigeria to be part of it, was not logical. They reminded the president that Soviet Union was big and a super power but they broke up. Yugoslavia went their separate ways with the active support of Britain.
“Those familiar with the history of British politics will know that it was Paddy Ashdown, MP the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party that sought and gained the backing of the British Government of the day to support the independence of the Muslim enclave of Bosnia Herzegovina away from Yugoslavia.
“There are nations that are significantly smaller than Biafra both in size and in population. For Buhari’s information, Biafra has a population of over 70 million. The total area of Biafra is over 29,400 square miles. Thus Biafra is almost as big as Gambia and Sierra Leone put together, and is bigger than Togo or Rwanda and Burundi combined, and is four times the size of the Republic of Israel,” it wrote.
Finally, the group urged President Buhari to shelve the idea of always retelling stories of Biafra genocide as it would not shake the resolve and determination of Biafrans on the restoration of their God-given nation of Biafra.