From year 2015 when the agitation for the restoration of the sovereignty of the Republic of Biafra by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) protesters started through 2017 when it came to a head, a total of 80 members of the pro-Biafran group spear headed by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu have been killed.
In September 2017, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria returned from his medical trip abroad and ordered the military to quash the separatist group which comprises of artisans, businessmen, market women, all from the eastern part of Nigeria.
Pronto the Nigerian army code – named Python Dance 2 stormed the east precisely Abia state and the clash began.
In the clashes, IPOB members were at the receiving end as they confronted well-armed troops with a mission to stamp out what the federal authorities considered violent separatist agitations.
Journalists were not also spared of the military exercise as the military invaded the Press Centre of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abia State Council on their way to the troubled spots. 10 journalists at the centre were dealt with.
According to source, the military exercise was targeted at the five Igbo speaking states of the South-east part of Nigeria, Abia became the focal point because of the activities of IPOB. The state, is the home state of the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who hails from Umuahia, the capital city. His father’s palace became the headquarters of IPOB as thousands of IPOB supporters and sympathisers daily crowded the palace.
The clash at Afaraukwu, the village of Kanu was something else. Soldiers reportedly surrounded the home of the IPOB leader and there were sporadic gunshots and some IPOB members sustained bullet wounds. However, in the melee that ensued, some of the brave security details of Nnamdi Kanu allegedly shot two soldiers. Many of the security personnel were felled. The remaining few narrowly escaped with various degree of injuries. They were thereafter declared wanted and one of them Chibuike Ikechukwu Chinaka took off and made his way out of the country.
While these were ongoing, there was an alleged accusation that the military were hounding members of IPOB and as a result, a lot of them abandoned their homes, businesses and scampered out of town by different means. Some were not lucky as they were caught and beaten, tortured and even killed As Umuahia was seething,
Aba was roasting the governor imposed a curfew that lasted for days.
The internet was filled with video clips of many of the IPOB members at the receiving end of the brutality of the military.
Even the Amnesty International recorded that the shooting of February 9 2016 at Aba National High School which bystanders and pro-Biafra activists filmed from the beginning to the end, shows total disrespect for human rights on the part of the military. The video footage reviewed and verified by Amnesty International shows that soldiers ran into the field and surrounded the pro-Biafra activists who were unarmed and not violent -just singing and dancing. The military acted as they were in combat and took up a couched aiming position and fired live ammunition when the police withdrew.
On February 13, 2016 corpses were discovered in a pit along the Aba – Port Harcourt expressway. And according to local human rights defenders, these were men who were taken away by the military on February 9. Two weeks later theur bodies were burned.
Even till this day, the dust is yet to settle as the government has proscribed the non- violent IPOB declaring it as a terrorist group. A group that is agitating for freedom which is their fundamental human right to do.
Though Mazi Nnamdi Kanu somehow escaped with his parents, he is still agitating for the sovereign state of Biafra from his base in the United Kingdom.