Biafra secessionists who tried to seize Enugu government house on May 30, weren't expecting what hit them next.
Time check: 7:30am.
On the day, the Biafra agitators had done enough to draw plenty of attention to themselves from Bissala Road to Independence Layout.
Leading the secessionists was Benjamin Onwuka—a self-acclaimed Biafra Zionist boss who failed in a previous attempt to take over Enugu government House on March 7, 2014.
On June 5, 2014, Onwuka stormed the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) in an attempt to seize the entire facility and broadcast his message of a new Biafra Republic to millions of Igbos.
He was doing just fine until security personnel swooped on him, bundled him into a truck and had him handcuffed.
20 other Biafra Zionists were arrested alongside Onwuka on the day.
May 30 is always declared a sit-at-home day in the Southeast by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) to commemorate the declaration of a Biafra Republic by Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu on May 30, 1967.
There was partial observation of Biafra Day across the Southeast on May 30, 2018.
Onwuka was wearing a Jewish attire as he led the procession to take over Enugu Government House.
When the secessionists arrived the gate of Government House, they asked to see Enugu Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a chat about taking over his office.
However, history repeated itself as security personnel encircled Onwuka and his men and handed them the beating of their lives.
One after the other, the BZF members were hauled into waiting police vans. Those who fled the scene were given chase by police officers on motor-bikes, arrested and handcuffed before being thrown into the van.
With Onwuka now in police custody, BZF Deputy Leader, Ambrose Ugwu addressed the press afterwards and vowed that the separatists won’t be deterred from their mission by a few arrests.
“What happened today is how God wants it, because you cannot extricate yourself from your enemy without quarrelling with him. Our leader, Benjamin Onwuka, has done all he can to liberate our people from bondage. But what baffles me is that our people have continued to sabotage his efforts”, Ugwu said.
Ugwu added that the clampdown on Biafra Zionists was the handiwork of State Governors in the Southeast who feel increasingly threatened.
“It is not the federal government that ordered today’s arrest or invited the policemen who rounded up our people at Enugu government house. Southeast governors and our political leaders invited them. They did it because they don’t want Onwuka to be the one that will take the glory. But they are wasting their time”, Ugwu said.
Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Dan Mallam Muhammed, told The Guardian that the secessionists were arrested for treason. “They attempted to take over Enugu government house”, he said.
Muhammed added that the Zionists were so brazen even though their activities have been outlawed by the federal government.
“They threatened to take over government even though their activities have been proscribed. This morning, they marched to Enugu government house to make good their threat. We arrested 21 of them alongside their Biafra ornaments. We will charged them for treason because they want to take over government”, the police chief said.
Muhammad also recounted the events of June 5, 2014. “Onwuka made a forcible attempt to declare Biafra some time ago using the facilities of a radio station. He did not have anybody’s authority to make such a demand.”
On September 15, 2017, the Nigerian military declared another Biafra group—IPOB—a terrorist organisation and outlawed activities of all Biafra agitators.
Days later, the nation’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami, obtained an order from the Federal High Court in Abuja which stated that “the activities of the respondent, IPOB, in any part of Nigeria especially in the Southeast and South-South region of Nigeria amount to acts of terrorism and illegality".
The order also “restrains any group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the respondent (IPOB) under any other name or platform however called or described as granted”.
On September 14, 2017, soldiers stormed the Afarauwku, Umuahia home of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu and ransacked the entire place.
Kanu and his parents haven’t been seen since the day their residence was blown apart by rampaging soldiers.
The declaration of a Biafra republic in 1967 sparked a bloody civil war that led to the deaths of millions of Igbos.
The war ended three years later. The Nigerian federal government declared that there were "no victors, no vanquished" from the hostilities.