As Nigeria went about celebrating their 61st Independence Day on October 1, the majority of the population in the Southeastern part of the country were at home observing a sit-at-home protest called by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The October 1, sit at home order is one of several called to protest the incarceration of IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested in June from Kenya and taken to Nigeria where he has been kept in jail on charges of treason.
In a statement, Mazi Chika Edoziem from the Directorate of State said the Biafran people would stay at home, to showcase their rejection of Nigeria’s green, white, green flag and all it represents.
“We say no more Nigerian Independence Day celebrations in the hallowed land of the rising sun. October 1, which is our oppressors Independence Day is declared a sit at home in Biafraland,” wrote Chika in a statement.
Reports coming out of Nigeria suggest the October 1, sit-at-home protest was observed by a large part of the population in the Southeastern part of the country.
Some supporters of the Nigerian government, however, say the population in the Southeast observed the sit at home not because of their belief in IPOB, but due to fear.
There had also been reports of waning support for the sit-at-home protests which were first called in August to show that people in the Southeast were unhappy with the Nigerian government that had arrested Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Those who say support for IPOB was waning highlight the case of Cyril Akunyili who accused the organization of killing his brother Dr. Chike Akunyili. Dr. Chike Akunyili, husband to Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili was killed Wednesday, September 29, 2021.
Cyril Akunyili raised the alarm a few hours after his brother’s death. He blamed IPOB for the death. This prompted the leadership IPOB to deny the group’s involvement in the murder of the medical doctor.
Another incident highlighted to support the narrative that IPOB support was ebbing in the Southeast is the lynching of Obinwanne Iwu in Imo State. According to the Police Commander in Imo State, the 34-year-old was lynched by angry youth, after he and his gang attempted to coerce traders at Ahiara Market into closing shops to obey the sit-at-home order called by IPOB.
Iwu who was lynched on September 20, was according to Police attempting to loot from shop owners at Ahiara market in the guise of enforcing IPOB’s stay-at-home order.
Iwu with his gang is alleged to have shouted thus at traders working at Ahiara market; “Today is Monday and everybody must obey the sit at home order.”
Until mid-September, Mondays had been designated for the sit-at-home protest by IPOB. But the weekly protests were called off by, Emma Powerful the Spokesperson for IPOB. According to Mr. Powerful, the Monday sit-downs had been ended on September 14th following the realization IPOB supporters were suffering losses when they stayed at home.
“IPOB is a responsible organization with reasoning and empathy. We cannot be part of the problem we are trying to solve. We cannot join the enemies to compound the woes of people we are fighting to liberate.
“That is why we suspended the ghost Mondays that we earlier declared because of the economic implications to our people. We listened to appeals by the people and reviewed our stance on the matter then. That was why we reduced the sit-at-home protests to the days our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will be making appearances in court. That is enough for now and we stand by it,” says Powerful in a statement.
The remaining days of sit-at-home protests are, according to Mazi Chika Edozeim, a sacrifice that the people are making to end the forceful inclusion of the indigenous people of Biafra in the evil construct that is Nigeria.
“This evil construct has brought nothing but suffering, tears, and death to our people and this generation has decided to make whatever sacrifices necessary to emancipate our land,” says Chika.