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Friday, 3 June 2016

BLOOD OF BIAFRANS FLOWS ON HEROES DAY IN BIAFRALAND

BLOOD OF BIAFRANS FLOWS ON HEROES DAY IN BIAFRALAND

By Chima Onyekachi

For Family Writers

A man who cannot die for something is not fit to live. – Martin Luther



The 30th of May,2016 is a day that will never be forgotten in Biafraland. Every year, this particular day is set for the remembrance of Heroes and Heroines of the Biafra Genocide of 1967-1970. It is an event held in Biafraland and all across the world where Biafrans are domiciled. Even the State of Illinois, United States Of America gazetted a proclamation titled "Biafra Day Of Remembrance”, to be held every May 30th to remember and pay homage to victims of the Biafra Genocide of 1967-1970. On that day, Biafrans and lovers of freedom honor our heroes and heroines who died so we can live. In other parts of the world, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Biafra genocide was held peacefully with prayers, lectures, speeches and fanfare. But in Biafraland it was a day of arrests, shooting, maiming and killing of Biafrans by the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy, DSS and Nigeria Police.



Ignoring the fears of my siblings, I arrived Onitsha, Anambra State in the early evening on the eve of the Biafra Heroes Remembrance Day. The event was scheduled to be held in Eke-Nkpor, Idemili North local government area of Anambra state. The same evening, in company of Ifeanyi Chijioke of Family Writers and Mr Whitish; a hardcore Biafran and associate who also served as a helpful guide the next day, we went to a cozy restaurant/bar to unwind and discuss about the Biafra Heroes Day. In premonition, I dissuaded us from lodging anywhere in Nkpor, citing a possible invasion of such places by the Nigeria armed forces and Police. My companions agreed and we opted for a hotel in G.R.A, Onitsha. In nostalgia, I tried my best to enjoy the well prepared barbecue and chilled drink, we even jokingly agreed that it could be our last meal together.

Early the next day, confirmed reports filtered in that Nigeria armed forces and police have invaded the premises of St. Edmond Catholic Church, Nkpor Agu, opened fire on hundreds of Biafrans who had come from other parts of Biafraland for the Biafra Heroes day and had seeked refuge in the church and also to offer prayers for the remembrance day. Not deterred, I,Chima Onyekachi, Ifeanyi Chijioke, Mr Whitish and an IPOB security simply called "City" left the hotel lodge for Eke-Nkpor. En route Eke-Nkpor, there was a gradual build up and patrol of the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy, DSS and Nigeria Police, blaring their sirens, patrolling and searching pedestrians and vehicles. We arrived Eke-Nkpor and found out that the combined Nigeria armed forces have taken strategic position at every nooks and crannies of the venue of the Biafra Heroes Remembrance Day. Mr Whitish, our guide, advised we look for a safer location to park his car, recounting his experience when he took some journalist to the demonstration held at Head Bridge, Onitsha and the Nigeria armed forces opened fire on unarmed protesters. When he scampered for safety, his favorite car was damaged and impounded by the Nigeria Army.



As a journalist, I have covered most of the demonstrations by the Indigenous People Of Biafra,IPOB, calling for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB and Director of Radio Biafra/Biafra Television but what I witnessed on 30th of May 2016 was extreme and was clearly a declaration of war against innocent unarmed Biafrans. It was very clear that President Muhammadu Buhari in his paranoia for Biafra and her people gave directive to Lt. Gen. T.Y Burutai (Chief Of Army Staff), Rear Admiral Ibot-Ete Ekwe Ibe (Chief Of Naval Staff), Musa Daura (Director Of DSS) and Solomon Arase (IGP Nigeria Police) to shoot at sight at Biafrans celebrating the Biafra Heroes Day.



From Eke-Nkpor Junction, Oguruwambe street, Umuorji street, Ogidi and environs of Old Road Nkpor, Chima Onyekachi and Ifeanyi Chijioke of Family Writers monitored the gruesome assault on Biafrans. Heavy roadblocks were mounted by the Nigeria armed forces to cripple the movement of the large numbers of Biafrans who had turned up to pay homage to their heroes and heroines. Biafrans who had gathered together, singing and chanting freedom songs were dispersed with live bullets and tear gas, they were chased with military vehicles and those caught were assaulted and arrested. Dead bodies of innocent Biafrans were loaded into military vans like heaps of clothes, the vile Fulani soldiers were seen stepping on the bodies and smiling victoriously. Streets were invaded and tear gas canisters were shot into private residence, which almost resulted in fire outbreak of a building if not for the timely intervention of Biafrans who rallied and quenched the fire. Over 50 Biafrans were killed, hundreds were injured by bullets and tear gas canisters, and scores arrested and taken to an unknown destination. Prince Ugochukwu Olisakwe of Family Writers also confirmed the killing of Biafrans of Isoko, Izon, Itsekiri and Isobo origin at Head Bridge, Onitsha. They were denied access from entering Onitsha to join other Biafrans in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Biafra Genocide of 1967-1970. It was never planned to be a protest but a gathering of Biafrans and lovers of freedom to pay homage to the heroes and heroine of the Biafra Genocide of 1967-1970 but Buhari and his military chiefs escalated it to a protest.



In Enugu, Umuahia, Owerri, Abakiliki, Asaba and Ugwuocha (Port Harcourt), there were confirmed reports of killing, maiming and arrests of Biafrans by Nigeria armed forces and Police. Why is the rights of Biafrans been trampled on and the world is silent? Is Chapter 4, Sections 33 to 41 of the Constitution which centered on fundamental human rights no longer in existence? Is the United Nation Human Rights Charter no longer beneficial to Biafrans? The killings of Biafrans have continued unabated and has provoked peaceful Biafrans to seek to defend themselves against their extermination by Fulani soldiers. Cries, anger and lamentation have become trademark in the homes of Biafrans peacefully seeking the restoration of their fatherland - Biafra. The killing of innocent unarmed Biafrans will not stop the restoration of Biafra but will rather galvanize the struggle. The International community especially the United Nations, can continue to remain silent but the patience of Biafrans to continue to be peaceful is running out and it was exhibited when I, Chima Onyekachi and Ifeanyi Chijioke of Family Writers were almost harassed by some Biafrans who wanted to know our identity and allegiance while we were covering the gruesome activities on Biafrans, they felt we were from the Nigeria media whom they claimed will never report the true happenings in Biafraland. May the souls of the departed Biafrans killed by the Nigeria armed forces rest in peace, your sacrifices will not be in vain. I wish the injured Biafrans quick recovery and those arrested must be released unconditionally.

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