The ongoing agitation for Biafra Republic by IPOB has resulted in the following:
Since February 2021, hundreds of police officers had been killed and more than 50 stations set to fire in the South-East during the period.
Similarly, at least 41 offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices in the South-East had been attacked by non-state agents since February 2019 and May 2021 with Imo State among the worst hit.
Some of the major victims of the crisis are former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak, who was shot dead by gunmen in Owerri, Imo State, on May 30, 2021 and the widower to the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, former Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Chike Akunyili, was murdered by criminals in Anambra in September of the same year.
Since 2022, 555 people had killed and thousands others injured by non-state actors in the region.
IPOB in September 2021 ordered a sit-at-home in the South-East every Monday in its bid to force the federal government to release its detained leader.
The sit-at-home order paralysed commercial activities in the region for several weeks in the South-East with the region becoming a shadow of its former self on days Kanu appeared in court as residents stay at home over fear of attack by criminals hiding under the IPOB’s directive to wreak havoc.
The group, however, suspended the directive in October 2021 after South-East leaders intervened to enable the people of Anambra to vote in the state governorship election held in November 16 of the same year.
While IPOB has since suspended the sit-at-home and distanced itself from activities of “unknown gunmen”
Roles of politicians
Many have however blamed desperate politicians who were desperate to settle old scores through the bullet rather than the ballot for the escalating violence in the region.
For instance, gunmen on January 2 attacked the convoy of a former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim and killed four police officers attached to his security details.
The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, had last year accused politicians who lost out in the 2019 general election of sponsoring criminals to unleash mayhem in the state.
The battle for the soul of the state will intensify in the coming weeks as preparations for the November 11 governorship election in the state gather momentum.
Already Uzodinma has its work cut with two former governors of the state, Rocha Okorocha and Emeka Ihedioha, throwing their weight behind the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the state, Samuel Anyanwu.
The South-East leaders in May last year appealed to former President Muhammadu Buhari to grant unconditional pardon to the IPOB leader in a bid to fast-track the peace process in the South-East.
However, the refusal the former president to release the activist before he let on May 29 not only escalated tension but also questioned the federal government’s readiness to address the group’s Biafra agitation.
A political solution to the Kanu’s impasse will ultimately quell the tension and stop the region from convulsing further.