NNAMDI KANU, A HERO OR VILLAIN - Sabi Tips

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NNAMDI KANU, A HERO OR VILLAIN





                "The apple does not fall far from its tree..."The rude awakening of the Biafran roots ( Ndi Igbo ) thrusts its sensation from the past to our modern day Nigeria. Since the amalgamation of the Northern and southern protectorates in 1914 by Lord Fredrick Lugard , the then Colonial Governor, the country after her independence in 1960 had gone through phases of national crisis ranging from military coup to riots, political crisis and the list goes on.
                Nigeria, the giant of Africa having two hundred and fifty ethnic groups had Biafra, officially The republic of Biafra as a secessionist state in the then southern-eastern Nigeria. Biafra as a territory existed long before the amalgamation and independence but in January 1967, regional military leaders and senior officials met in Aburi, Ghana to agree to be on a loose confederation of regions.
                However, the agitation to become a sovereign state emanated from issues arising in relation to January 1966 military coup which was tagged as "Ethnical" which thirty political leaders including Nigeria's  Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Northern Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello were killed leaving Nnamdi Azikiwe, the President of Igbo extraction and the premier of the southern-eastern part  of the country free of death. It was alleged that the coup was master minded by the "Igbo ethnic group of Nigeria" which Major Kaduna Nzeogu lead. Subsequently,  a counter-coup in July 1966 by the Northern officers and army units which conveyed General Yakubu "Jack "Guwon as the Head of the Federal Military Government (F.M.G). These military coups further deepened Nigeria's ethnic tensions.

                "Now, Therefore, I , Lieutenant - Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojokwu, Military Governor of Eastern Nigeria, by virtue of the authority and pursuant to the principles recited above, do hereby solemnly proclaim thath the territiry and region known as and called EASTERN NIGERIA together with her continental shelf and territorial waters shall henceforth be an independent sovereign state of the name and title of 'THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA' Ojukwu said"
                Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who was born on the 4th day of November 1933 in Zungeru, Niger, Nigeria rose to the rank of a Lt. Colonel in the Nigerian army, proclaimed himself to be the President of Biafra on the 30th day of May, 1967. Furthermore, this action led to the Nigerian Civil war which lasted from the 6th day of July 1967 - 15th day of January 1970 ( 2years, 6 months, 1 week and 2days).
                Biafra represented nationalist aspiration of the Igbo people whose leadership felt they could no longer co-exist with the Northern-dominated Federal Government.  In the aspect of the war, within a year, the Federal military government surrounded Biafra capturing coastal oil facilities and major cities in which several blockades were mounted . This blockades further imposed hardship in the Biafran territory. One major weapon the Federal military government equip itself with was with the advice of the then Minister of Finance, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He advised and gave the policy of the change of currency. He further advised the Gowon cabinet to block all food supply to Biafra so as to end the war quickly. According to him, "starvation is a legitimate instrument of war" This single policy led to the starvation of over one million Biafra child.
                The Policy of the change of currency frustrated Biafra's ability to import food and arms. The major reason for this policy was aware of stolen money by Ojukwu and his soldiers. To make the money useless, the change of currency was a massive weapon at hand.
Moving on, from 1968 onward, the war fell into a stalemate form. The Nigerian forces were unable to make advances into the remaining areas of Biafra due to major defeats in some cities like Agbana, Oguta, Ikot , Epkene etc. The Blockade strategy fostered a humanitarian disaster when there was a widespread of civilian hunger and starvation. The Biafran government aired that Nigeria used hunger and genocide to win the war and seek aid abroad.
               
Leaving no stone un-turn , the media and public relations played a vital role in the war due to their influence in terms of morale at home and the dynamics of international involvement because both sides relied heavily on external support. Media campaigns focused on the plight of Biafrans which intensified internationally in the summer of 1968. As a result of these, the Biafran Republic got sympathy as famine/ starvation were classified as  genocide and humanitarian appeals popped up from place to place.
                 On the 29th day of May, 1969, Bruce Mayrock, a student at the Columbia University, set himself ablaze at the premises of the United nations Headquarters in New York just to protest the genocide against the nation and people of Biafra.
                Concluding the war chapter, the Nigerian Federal Forces launched their final offend=sive against the Biafrans on the 23rd day of December, 1969 with a major thrust by the 3rd Marine Commando  Division headed by Col. Olusegun Obasanjo.  This strike succeeded in splitting Biafran into two by the end of the year . The final offensive "Operation Tail - Wind"   launched on the 7th day of January 1970 fell the Owerri Biafran town on January 9 and Uli town respectively on January 11. Amidst of the foreseen defeat, Ojukwu fled into exile via air to Ivory Coast, leaving his deputy, Philip Effiong to handle the details of  surrender to the Federal military government on the 13th day of January 1970 .
                The war ended and Gowon said "The tragic chapter of violence is just ended. Ww are at a dawn of national reconciliation. Once again we have an opportunity to build a new nation. My dear compatriots, we must pay homage to the fallen heroes who made the supreme sacrifice that we may be able to  build a nation great in justice , fair trade and industry"."
                Hence, all these fracas need not to occur only if the agitators could see the reason and importance to use the plebiscite method. "PLEBISCITE" according to the online free dictionary 'is a direct vote by eligible voters to decide an important public question, such as a change to the constitution, secession or a similar issue of national or regional importance'. In the light of the above, the plebiscite method had surfaced in various word wide issues, the second French empire in the regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870 between the second and third republic in France in a great example. Napoleon III who conferred all powers to his title "Emperor" as he instituted a new constitution on January 14, 1852 sequel to the French constitution of 1852 which was a largely a repetition of 1848 constitution. With this new constitution, the people of the Empire lacked democratic rights also they were rely on the benevolence of the emperor rather on the benevolence of politicians. For seven years, France had no democratic life. The Empire governed by a series of plebiscites up to 1857 the opposition, did not exist from then till 1860. Thereafter in 1853, a combination of the legitimist and orleanists, to re-create a living monarchy out of the ruin of the past governance came to being.
                Radio Biafra also known as 'Voice of Biafra" is a radio station that was originally founded by the government of the republic of Biafra but is currently operated by Mazi Nnamdi kanu. The radio station was instrumental in the broadcast of speeches and propaganda by Late Chukwemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to the people. The  radio station's slogan is  "In defence of Freedom" and the broadcast frequency is 102.1mhz with English and igbo language as their communicating language.
During the war, the radio programmes preached hate messages which was similar to the Rwanda genocide of April 7 - July 1994 between the Tutsi and the Hutu. The Hutu who were the majority in Rwanda referred to Tutsi's as cockroaches , this led to mass slaughter and genocide war.
                On the 14th day of July 2015, it was reported in the media that the radio station had been banned because it did not have a broadcast license from the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission. The aftermath of the civil war brought about a Sub-group "Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB)" and the recent group of  "Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)". MASSOB a secessionist movement with the aim of securing the resurgence of the defunct state of Biafra from Nigeria. Its leader is an Indian-trained lawyer, Ralph Uwazuruike heads this movement with their headquarters in OKwe district of Imo State. The profile of the secessionist movement highlights the Nigerian government accusing the group of violence , Ralph Uwazuruike, the leader was arrested in
2005 and detained on treason charges, he was later released in 2007. The movement also initiated the release of oil militant Mujahid Dokubo- Asari who faced similar charges. In 2009, the movement launched Biafran International Passport in response to the persistent demand by Biafrans in Diaspora.
                Respectively, IPOB, the running story in the media, has its leader Nwannekaenyi "Nnamdi" Kenny Okwu Kanu detained by the Department of the State Security Service (DSS). Nnamdi Kanu a political activist based in the United Kingdom and director of the London-based radio station, Radio Biafra. Abia state born Kanu, whose father HRM Eze Israel Okwu Knau (JP) and mother Ugoeze Nnenne Kanu attended Library Avenue primary school as a young lad and went to Government  College for his secondary education. He then gained admission to the University of Nigeria Nsuka (UNN)  where he could not complete his studies due to consistent strikes before he made way to London to complete his education.
                Furthermore, on October 18 2015, Mr. Kanu was reportedly arrested in Lagos state by the DSS. Kanu Stress through his solicitors that he was on the 14th of October arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) in his hotel room (Golden Tulip Essential Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State). His solicitors stated that their clients whereabouts were unknown until 18th of October when the media brokr the news of his arrest by SSS in Abuja which generated mass protest across the country. He was charged with terrorism and terrorism financing. Following the charges laid against him, he was further release on the 17th of December 2015 by Magistrate of the Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, Shuaibu Usman, discharging and acquitting Kanu of charges on all counts of criminal conspiracy and ownership of an unlawful society brought against him  by the Federal Government. His followers saw this as a triumph over forces of injustice, suppression, oppression and subjection against them, the agitators. In spite of the court's order and a bail from the lower court, the DSS continued his detention which they had unlawfully  detained him for  at least ninety days which the law frowns at.
                Recently, on the 22nd day of December, 2015, the Federal Government through the DSS filed a six count fresh charges including treason against the founder of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja. The fresh case was filed and signed by the Director, Public Prosecution Mohammed Saidu Diri, for the Attorney- General of the Federation. This is coming barely a week after Justice Adeniyi Ademola ordered the immediate and unconditional release of the accused since there was no pending charges against him two months after his detention in October. The DSS after the court ruling had kept him in their custody and decided to file fresh charges against him. The new case is to be heard on December 22nd, kanu alongside  two others, Benjamin Madabugwu  and David Nwawuisi. The charges read "That you Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown persons, now at large at London, United Kingdom, between 2014 and September 2015 with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order to force the President to change his measures of being the President of the  Federation, Head of State and Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation as defined in section 3 of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by doing an act to broadcast on Radio Biafra your preparations for the states in the South-East geo-political zone, South-South geo-political zone, the Igala community of Kogi State and the Idoma/Igede community of Benue state of secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria and from themselves into a Republic Of Biafra and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 41(c) of the criminal code act, CAP C38 Laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004".
                In this current dispensation, agitating for a sovereign state should not be the pressing matter on the table because other high priority matters are to be tackled. Nonetheless, the Federal Government has erred in the aspect of throwing the order of the court to the wind as the Judiciary arm of government is supposed to be independent and issues tabled and concluded by the Judiciary should be held in high esteem. The agitation of the secessionist had taken a wrong turn and hopefully the nation anticipates a right sense of mind from the group so as to build a great nation in love and unity other than in diversity and disarray. God bless our beloved country NIGERIA because there is no place like home.

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