Biafran protest
Onyema Uche is a passionate Biafran who has shown it severally, by words and actions at different times and fora. On Friday, January 29, 2016, he was at Abuja, Nigeria's capital, to attend the court appearance of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra. He had an interesting discussion with a member of Nigerian Directorate of State Security (DSS). There, he made it clear to Nigerians that when it came to the issue of Biafra restoration that Biafrans were determined to go the distance with Nigeria.
His recollections:
It was about 8:45am and everyone was seated in the court room waiting for the arrival of the Judge. Nnamdi Kanu was already seated with two of his comrades. I went to greet him and assure him of the people’s support of his cause. I must say that the young man was in good spirit and very hospitable.
On my side was a Directorate of State Security (DSS) officer who engaged me in a long dialogue that, on his part, seemed friendly but filled with bitter anger towards Ndigbo and all that are agitating for Biafra nation. He started by asking me about a young man he spotted that looked very angry and agitated. Obviously he wanted to know about that young man. I said “no” because I didn’t know the young man. 

(The exchange)
DSS: Do you know that man?
My response: I don’t know him.
DSS: Are you a member of IPOB?
My response: No I am not a member of IPOB. I am a member of Biafra Foundation and we all work together for the same cause.
DSS: I can’t understand why the Igbos who are everywhere in Nigeria, who dominate all areas of commerce and have billions of investments all over Nigeria are the ones agitating to break away from Nigeria”.
My response: Sir, the Igbos in Nigeria seek independence because from the colonial time, our fathers never wanted to be part of Nigeria. Consult the history on the political development of Nigeria, Ndigbo (Biafra) never signed any treaty to be part of Nigeria unlike the North and the west. Our fathers were coerced into being part of Nigeria. Since independence nothing has worked in Nigeria except what was imposed. As for our business successes sir, we need to be free to actualize our potentials. We feel in Nigeria our potentials are buried. It is not about individual successes in business but the ability to become the president of this nation. The way Nigeria is structured I am afraid I may never become the president of this country no matter how hard I try and I fear my children may face the same situation and it is scary to pass such hopeless future to children yet unborn. Come to our states federal presence were only those built before 1966. All our federal roads are death traps. Though we are the strength of Nigerian economy yet we are the most improvised in terms of federal presence.
There are so many policies by the federal government that were meant to punish Ndigbo. The federal character, the quota system were aimed at unduly favouring one region against the other. It is to deliberately kill performance, professionalism and integrity. All we have achieved in terms of state development is by self-efforts. Most of our roads, pipe borne water, hospitals and even airports are self-efforts while other regions enjoy the same from the federal government. I was in primary school when I contributed one naira for the building of Imo state airport. I also contributed for Imo state blood bank. Now tell me which of my mates in other regions made such contributions?
DSS: So what do you people want?
My response: We want to be able to control our destiny away from the Nigeria occupation of our land. We do not want to be part of a country where we are hated, despised and treated as second class citizens. In Nigeria today an average Igbo man is hated. We are treated with mutual suspicion. We are not trusted. Since the war ended, Ndigbo have not been integrated into Nigeria mainstream. Everywhere in Nigeria, be it in the North or west there is Igbo phobia.
Kanu in court
DSS: This man looks innocent but what he has started might engulf the nation into another crisis worse than Boko Haram. Boko haram started like this before it was hijacked by people more powerful than the founder, Yusuf Mohammed. If we let him go his movement may fall into hands stronger than him.
My response: It looks like you put this man on trial based on what you think or fear he might be in future not that he has committed any crime. I can tell you that the only thing that could lead to this movement being hijacked is his continued illegal detention and the propped up charges against him. His freedom is paramount to him directing his group to the part of peaceful resolution of the agitation. Imprison him today and a million Kanus will emerge tomorrow.
As for your fear that there might be arms struggle, I can tell you we are not going to fight before we get what we want. No gun would be shot from our side. No bomb will be exploded by us. We have learnt from the mistake of our fathers and if we fail to actualize this idea, we will pass it on to our children and they will learn from our mistakes and continue the agitation.
DSS: Why are you guys including the South-south as part of Biafra when they do not want to be part of Biafra? Even Igbos in the North like those in Kano, Lagos who have billions of investments are not supporting your cause and your leaders are not even supporting you. This man is alone I can tell you.
My response: I wonder which state in Niger delta has boundary with the North. I am at a lost at your attempt to save the Niger delta from the Igbos who never had a history of constant violence with our neighbours as the Hausa/Fulani does with the minorities in the North. In all the middle belt states, there is constant struggle to survive. The people are being systematically erased by your cultural domination. You intimidate them, kill and rape their women, burn down their houses and villages yet you have the gut to act like the Igbos are oppressing the Niger deltans. By the way are you excluding the Igbos from your definition of Niger Delta? Or do you mean South-south region?
Any way I am sure you are mixing it up. There are many ethnic groups in the so-called South-south region which also include Igbos. There are also Igbos (Biafrans) in the middle-belt states. The creation of Cross River state by Yakubu Gowon was to weaken the unity and strength of the then Eastern Region. Till date the North has been afraid of our unity but I tell you we are closer today than ever. The Niger-deltans are beginning to ask questions on who and why Adaka Boro was murdered. They are also aware that Ken Saro Wiwa who believed in the friendship with the North was mercilessly murdered by the same Northern people he fought for. Odi was wiped out in the worst genocide in our time and no one said a damn thing yet you claim you love those people? Hard love I must say.
DSS: I like this man. He is very calm and I am sure if he maintains this posture the judge might free him though I still consider him a threat to national security.
My response: Now let’s look at it this way, those we love; we set them free. How can you put someone you love on trial for propped up charges? If you love this man you would respect his constitutional rights and set him free. I don’t think he is a threat in anyway. All he has is his microphone.
Kanu during broadcast
He has no gun. His followers have never killed anyone. His group has never detonated bomb anywhere. They respect the sanctity of human life and no Igbo person will blow himself/herself up to make a point. All Nnamdi Kanu has is his mouth and brain. He is screaming at those oppressing him, those holding his generation captive to set him free; is that a threat to peace?
DSS: You might not see him as a threat but from the security point of view he is very dangerous.
My response: Let me tell you who is a threat to peace and national security. The Fulani herdsman, who carries AK47, invades peoples’ lands, kill and rape women are the real dangers to life and threat to national security.
Fulani herdsman with AK47
How many of them have you arrested and put on trial before? How could you accuse somebody who has no weapon, no battalion as threat to lives while you let a Fulani man walk with assault rifle? The Igbo businesses you are saying are worth billions would you allow them to carry assault rifles to protect them?
DSS: Igbos have conquered every market in Nigeria and as such should be contented. They get 13% allocation from their resources. What else do they want?
My response: We get 13% and who is keeping the 87% and for what? Take for example, Bayelsa state has 8 local governments while Kano state has 44 local governments and national monthly allocation is based on this unequal and unjust figure. What is the contribution of Kano state to national treasury?
DSS: Look at the contracts in the government Igbos occupy everywhere. In the North the best estates are owned by Igbos. They own the best hotels, private schools and the most expensive shops in the north. These people are not will to support your agitation.
My response: I tell you sir, it is not our properties and investments in the North or West that you care about rather the investments of the rich Northerners that worth trillions in the so-called South-south and South-east that you care about. Yes my people have invested billions across Nigeria; but your people have investments worth trillions in our region. The oil blocks in our region are owned and controlled 90% by the Northern and Western Generals and business men and women.
We do not have such investment and control of the natural resources in either of these regions. Who owns and runs the oil merchant ships in the Niger-delta? Who controls the oil allocation in our region?
Let me also say it to you here. Our desire to leave Nigeria goes beyond businesses and material considerations. We are republicans in nature and we cherish our divergent opinion in life. We strongly believe that we will fare better if we have our own country. Take as an example that during the last Biafra/Nigeria war; and under heavy bombardment and blockade, Biafrans manufactured their aircraft, built roads, broadcasted to the world, and built one of the strongest bunkers in the world within 9 months.
Biafran Bunker in Umuahia
Under heavy bombardment and starvation Biafra built their airport, drilled and refined their oil. This is a feat Nigeria has not been able to achieve since independence, even with huge oil revenues under a long stretch of peace time. Take away the oil and give us our independence and we will emerge a stronger country with booming economy in ten years.
The insistence of President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians want to stay as one nation can only be proved in the court of the people through a referendum. On this agitation we are not in a hurry to stop.
Biafra stands for the freedom of all the ethnic nationalities that have been oppressed in Nigeria. The middle belt ethnic group has been consumed by the North. The minorities in the west have long disappeared, Biafra is the voice of freedom for all. Biafra is peace to all, equality and justice that is what Biafra stands for and that is what we want but cannot get in Nigeria.
Now sir, let us take a look at the land graze decree of 1968. Gowon signed our land to the Fulanis for support to prosecute unjust war against the former eastern region. Today the herdsmen kill our people and rape our women and no one is arraigned before any court. Is that freedom and security? In the North at the slightest provocation Bifrans are killed with impunity. There is no record where a Hausa/Fulani person has been arrested, tried and jailed for killing an Igbo man. There in the North and elsewhere in Nigeria the life of an Igboman is worth nothing. Over 200 bodies slaughtered and dumped in Ezu River and no panel of investigation was set. No one was brought to justice for that atrocity, yet you want us to stay in Nigeria so that our children will inherit a country of death from us? No! God forbid!
Ndigbo is majority group in Nigeria but today we are politically endangered species. We have the least states; the least representation is the government; and we receive the least allocation from the federal government. Our population has been doctored to reduce our true population. We are the minority now. Can't you see that Nigeria has nothing good for us?

Just take a look at all the security men here. Those guiding Nnamdi Kanu, all of them are Northerners guiding an Igbo man accused of treason? Where are the Igbos in DSS? How would you convince me that a man surrounded by enemies will receive fair treatment? It was at this point that the DSS man laughed.
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