The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has threatened to shut down the entire South-East region for one week if the Federal Government refuses to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, by 4 November.
IPOB issued the threat in a statement by Emma Powerful, its Director of Media and Publicity, on Saturday.
According to the proscribed separatist group, the sit-at-home order will take effect from November 5-10, adding that is in honour of Kanu.
The group insisted that Kanu did not commit any crime to warrant his continual detention in the custody of the Department of States Services (DSS).
The statement read: “Following the adjournment of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court case to 10th of November 2021, by the Federal High Court Abuja, we the great movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), wish to inform Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that IPOB will lock down Biafra land from 5th of November to 10th of November except Sunday, November 7th, a day our people worship the Almighty God, Chukwu Okike Abiama, if the Nigeria Government fails to release our leader unconditionally before 4th of November 2021.
“Our leader, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi must be released unconditionally on or before November 4, 2021, because he has not committed any offence known to any law.
“Failure to release our leader Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on or before November 4, 2021, our one-week Sit-At-Home begins on November 5, 2021, till November 10.”
IPOB stated that although it knows its call for another sit-at-home may not be welcomed by all and sundry in the region, it explained that its latest decision is to send a message to the Federal Government that it would no longer tolerate the humiliation of its leader at the hands of state agents.
The statement read: “Although we quite understand the pains and adverse effects of this option on our people, we are compelled to take it to achieve a better purpose in the collective interest of Biafrans. We have taken time to analyse what transpired on October 21, when our Leader was arraigned in court and discovered that the Federal Government is not sincere and only wants to humiliate him and keep him perpetually in DSS custody to rot there.
“We all saw how lawyers, journalists, Igbo delegates and respected traditional rulers and other people, who came from all around the world to witness his court case were restricted and denied access into the court premises by security agents who kept them outside under the scorching heat of the sun. What a humiliation and wickedness!
“We cannot accept that anymore. We can never allow our leader Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to be tried secretly and we can never also allow him to be tried under Sharia law and under any guise. NIGERIA must follow International laws in handling our leader’s case.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is in DSS dungeon today because of his passion for Biafra independence, and we must sacrifice all we can to ensure that he regains his freedom. He has sacrificed so much for us all, so we must be prepared to sacrifice little for him.
“Unless the Federal Government releases him unconditionally before November 4, we shall sacrifice one week for him as a warning protest to convey to our oppressors that Nnamdi Kanu represents over 70 million Biafrans. He is innocent of all the charges preferred against him. As long as he is in detention, our individual businesses do not matter so much because he is suffering for us all and we can’t abandon him.
“We seriously regret the inconveniences this may cause our people but it’s a necessary sacrifice we need to make until we have our full independence. Nobody resident in Biafra land is expected to flout this directive as doing so amounts to challenging the will of the people on the Biafra Project.”
IPOB added that this is the time “for Biafrans must remain united” and called on them to understand the motive of the decision.
Kanu, who jumped bail in 2017, was re-arrested and subsequently repatriated to Nigeria from an undisclosed location on 27 June “through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services”, according to Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on 29 June and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS.
The trial was stalled after the DSS failed to produce Kanu in court on 26 July, the adjourned date for hearing.
Justice Binta Nyako, the trial judge, adjourned the case till October 21, 2021, when judges were expected to have resumed from their annual vacation.
The Federal Government had last week slammed an amended seven-count charge against Kanu.
Kanu was eventually produced in court on 21 October, and pleaded “not guilty” to an amended seven-charge bordering on treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms among others filed against him by the Federal Government.
Following the defendant’s plea, Justice Nyako adjourned the trial to 10 November.