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Saturday, 7 November 2015

Biafrans kick off "Millions man march"


Biafrans kick off "Million man march"
By Tim Tochukwu Chimaobi

In spite of threats from Nigerian political authorities and the Police, the long awaited Biafran mega rally and March tagged “Biafrans’ millions march” was successfully kicked-off yesterday, Friday, November 6. The March, which was the brainchild of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), took off across Biafraland with millions of Biafrans participating in it. The protest was against the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, who is also the Director of Radio Biafra. The effect of the protest march, in the form of traffic gridlock, was felt all over Biafraland from Delta State to Akwa Ibom State; from Bayelsa State to Enugu State; and from Anambra State to Rivers State. The protesters took off from two major Biafran towns – Agbor in Delta State, and Otueke in Bayelsa State. The protest is planned to last for days, the number of days is not yet made known by IPOB leadership. However, marchers from Agbor reached Asaba, the Delta State capital and destination point for the first day of the march. On the other hand, marchers from Otueke, reached Mbiama, the destination point for the first day of struggle. Enquiries revealed that the demonstrators from Agbor would be hitting Onitsha, the Anambra State business hub in the early hours of Saturday, November 7, while those from Otueke will be hitting Igweocha (Port Harcourt), Rivers State capital about the same time. In the thick of the demonstrations were the leadership of IPOB, both in Biafraland and Nigeria (the Zoo).

All the state coordinators, as well as all the local coordinators were also in attendance. The march which was a very a peaceful and joyous one with freedom and solidarity songs had placards with different inscriptions. Some of the inscriptions had written on them, “Release Nnamdi Kanu, he is a prisoner of conscience; Biafra must be free; No Biafra, no peace; and Biafra or death! Others had in them, “Free all Biafra prisoners in Nigerian detention centres; Free Henry Orkah; Free Benjamin Onwuka; Why did Nigeria kill Depriye Alamieryeseigha?; Why did Nigeria jail James Ibori?; why did Nigeria kill Isaac Boro?; why did Nigeria kill Saro Wiwa?; and several others. Hiccups: The protesters where challenged in various locations as the protest continued.  Very early in the day, as they people travelled from such states as Enugu, Anambra, and all other parts of Delta State, the Police was arresting them with the aim of breaking the March. Such was the case also with groups travelling up from Abia State, Rivers State, Ebonyi State, Cross River State and other places to Bayelsa State. Earlier in the day, before the March took off from Agbor, the people were accosted by a detachment of the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Police at the Agbor end of Benin/Asaba Express Road. Blocking their part, Dike AU, who claimed to be the Police officer in control of the Agbor area, told the protesters to go home as the Police would let them.

IPOB PEACEFUL PROTEST
He said they organized the protest without obtaining a Police permit.  Leaders of the group then wanted to know from him why they should go back home when they had not accomplished their mission for the day. They told him that they did not need a permission to protest a wrong. They accused him of playing an oppression agent who would not want people to express their grievances. “Will you beat you child and still demand that your child obtain to permission to cry?” one of the leaders asked. When the people eventually commenced their March, the Police had no choice than to make way for them, and then followed behind in about seven Hilux Vehicles. Successful the March was a successful one by all standards. Nothing less than five million people participated in the March, both from the Agbor axis and Otueke axis. There were huge traffic gridlocks in Asaba and Onitsha, especially along the Benin/Asaba Expressway. A random sampling of people interviewed along the line showed that the March was popular with them. Many of them said that the time had come to show those who considered themselves as owners of Nigeria that enough was enough. Some in vehicles, who suffered under the traffic gridlock, still showed their solidarity with the protest. Some of them, who were coming in from none Biafran states, promised that they would join in the protest if it would continue the next day after they had dropped their vehicles at home. Nigerian military showed maturity so much so that they chased away the Police men who wanted to stop Nkpor protesters as they were heading towards the bridge-head to join the main body along Benin/Onitsha Expressway.

One of the soldiers who pleaded anonymity explained that they had seen that the people were not armed and not destructive, but engaged in a highly peaceful and decent protest. He said also that they were conscious of what developed in the Northeastern part of the country and how it all started. According to him, the Nigerian military did not want the Police to drag the country into such situation again. Obiano put to shame The day before the March, Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano made a radio/television broadcast ordering the people to make sure that they did not heed to IPOB appeal for them to show solidarity with the protest march by closing their shops. He informed them that he had dispatched Police, Navy and Airforce, even the states uniformed and none-uniformed vigilante bodies to make sure that everyone participating in the protest was arrested and dealt with. But the people shunned him as they closed shops and joined the protest.

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