Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to come up with a better argument in the 'debate for freedom'.
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to defeat the agitation for secession by his group with superior argument rather than the barrel of the gun.
He threw down the gauntlet on the issue during a chat with journalists at his country home in Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia in Abia State, following the order by Buhari to the service chiefs on Tuesday to deal decisively with Boko Haram terrorists, IPOB agitators, marauding herdsmen and other criminal elements, saying that they constitute a security threat to the country and its unity.
In his reaction, however, the Biafra leader faulted the president, saying that the penchant by Buhari for recourse to brute force to solving burning national problems would never work, adding that he (Kanu) would not succumb to intimidation.
“In this debate for freedom everybody has to be heard. Buhari should defeat me with the superiority of his argument, not AK47,” he said, adding that “those that quickly resort to violence, hate and intimidation do so because they have lost the force of argument”.
Kanu argued that it was very wrong for the president to compare and lump IPOB, a peaceful mass movement, with Boko Haram, an internationally recognised terrorist organisation.
He pointed out that the decision by Buhari to unleash Nigeria’s security forces on IPOB had further demonstrated his dictatorial traits and his determination to enforce national unity on his own terms and those of his people.
“It is the continuation of the Buhari regime’s dictatorial and unwholesomely undemocratic approach to governance. I find it unacceptable, abhorrent and insulting that somebody elected by the people can turn around and dictate to them how he wants them to behave,” the IPOB leader said.
Kanu reminded Buhari that he was elected to govern Nigeria and he should therefore face the business of governance “and not to instigate another war”.
He advised the Nigerian president to borrow a leaf from former US President Dwight Eisenhower who was an army commander, fought in a war and later became president because he was a democrat at heart.
Nonetheless, Kanu insisted that no matter how menacingly Buhari intends to bare his fangs, his action would in no way diminish the quest for Biafra’s self-determination, saying: “We are not afraid because IPOB is a peaceful mass movement, not a violent armed group.”
Kanu stated that no matter how anybody intends to characterise IPOB, there must be a distinction between a non-violent, peaceful mass movement as represented by IPOB and any other group whose activities pose a threat to national security.
According to him, “Most Nigerians live in denial, they know the truth but have chosen to ignore it,” adding that the records are there to prove that IPOB has remained a peaceful, non-violent organisation since its formation.
He said: “There is no record of injury being sustained, people fighting or having any altercation in any of the numerous IPOB gatherings where people converged in their millions to listen to this gospel of the restoration of Biafra. Not one single incident.
“We are the most disciplined, most well behaved mass movement anywhere on the face of this planet. Despite the genocidal killings, despite the arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions without trial, we can never be provoked into any armed conflict.
“We have refused to be provoked to armed rebellion; that is what Buhari is looking for. Buhari wants a war but we won’t oblige him because we are civilised people.”