The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has threatened to impose a one-month sit-at-home order on the southeast region if its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is not produced in court next month.
IPOB threatens to lock down southeast for 1 month for Kanu
IPOB says Kanu commands the unflinching loyalty of over 60 million Biafrans.
The Federal Government in June 2021 re-arrested the separatist to face charges bordering on treasonable felony in connection to his agitation for an independent nation of Biafra.
He was immediately remanded to the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) but the secret police failed to produce him in court for his scheduled July 26 hearing, prompting adjournment to October 21.
IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, said in a statement on Wednesday, September 22 the group is aware of a plot to repeat the same failure to produce Kanu at next month's hearing.
He alleged that the plan is to help further the government's decision to keep him behind bars and demoralise the agitation for Biafra.
Powerful said IPOB will lock down the southeast region for an entire month if Kanu is not produced in court for resumption of his trial.
He said, "Our peaceful disposition as a people should not be misconstrued as weakness.
"Nigeria cannot incarcerate our leader illegally and expect things to be normal again.
"If by October 21, Kanu is not brought to court, Nigeria will know that Kanu commands the unflinching loyalty of over 60 million Biafrans home and in diaspora.
"By keeping our leader out of circulation, his health will be in jeopardy and we won't allow this."
IPOB's sit-at-home directives have been controversially imposed in the region for varying reasons for years.
Powerful had in July announced a sit-at-home order every Monday in protest of Kanu's detention, an order that led to bloodshed as enforcers moved to make some resistant residents obey.
The lockdown has caused biting economic losses, but has become almost impossible to end despite pleas by the government, and despite the fact IPOB itself cancelled it in August.
Many citizens have decided to simply err on the side of caution to avoid enforcers that IPOB has condemned as disobeying Kanu’s direct orders to suspend the sit-at-home.
Powerful said last week such enforcers will have their ears cut if caught flouting the suspension.
Kanu's troubles with the Nigerian government started when he was arrested by the DSS in 2015.
He spent two years in custody until he was granted bail on health grounds in April 2017.
The fiery agitator then disappeared from the public space after an alleged attack by military troops on his father's compound in Abia State in September 2017.
He missed numerous court dates, leading to a revocation of his bail, and an order for his arrest.
IPOB was declared a terrorist organisation in the wake of his 2017 disappearance, but the group carried on with its agitation and went further to launch a paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), which has repeatedly been linked by authorities to a spate of attacks on security agents and infrastructure.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: