By Phil Okose, Onitsha
Leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), also known as the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has explained the reason his group chose May 22 as Biafra commemoration day as against May 30.
Uwazuruike argued in a statement signed by the Biafra Director of Information and his Personal Assistant on Media Matters, Mazi Chris Anierobi Mocha, that although “in the history of Biafra, May 30 cannot be erased from the Biafran calendar” what MASSOB re-declared at Aba in Abia state on May 22, 2000, was the new Biafra.
According to Uwazuruike, although he derived the name ‘New Biafra’ from the fact that the defunct Biafra was characterised by violence that led to the death of about two million people, the fledging struggle for an independent Biafra state being championed by BIM-MASSOB was built on non-violence and non-exodus principle.
He insisted that the former Biafra of 1967-1970 led by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was a resistance against genocide and not a struggle for independence and the former was discontinued after January 12, 1970.
The BIM/MASSOB boss stressed that the new Biafra which he re-declared on May 22, 2000, was a continuation of the old Biafra with a new method, new ideology as you can find in New York, New Delhi, New Zealand and New Jersey, among others.
He, however, cautioned that BIM-MASSOB members should refrain from making negative statements about Biafra because as the leading separatist organization, whatever they said matters to the international community.
Meanwhile, the pro-Biafran organisation on Monday, laid the foundation stone for its Awka South Regional Secretariat in honour of the late Biafran warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. The group said the building of the edifice named the ‘Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Freedom Center, Awka’ was in consolidation of its struggle for the actualisation of an Independent Republic of Biafra.
Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, represented by the MASSOB-BIM leader in Awka South Region, Chief Joseph Odikpo, seized the moment to urge federal government to make haste in granting their wishes for an independent Biafran state.
According to him, the escalating security crisis around the country, especially Boko Haram insurgency, herdsmen attacks, armed bandits, kidnapping etc are manifestation of Ojukwu’s statement after the Nigerian government allegedly betrayed Biafra.
The group warned Anambra state government and its agents against disturbing its members and reminded Governor Willie Obiano of its efforts that foiled the plan by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) from disrupting the November, 2017, governorship election in the state.