The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has condemned attacks on vendors and journalists by security agents in Nigeria.
The secessionist group’s reaction followed after government forces arrested journalists and vendors in Imo State and other parts of the eastern region of the country for covering and distributing news about activities of the secessionist group and Biafra.
At least 12 vendors have disappeared in the ongoing crackdown that began on May 4, 2021.
“It’s a global embarrassment that the Nigeria security agents will be hunting for newspaper vendors and journalists in Imo State and other Biafran cities for committing no crime other than writing or distributing news contents that affect Biafra, IPOB or ESN,” said IPOB in a statement signed by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, on Tuesday.
“How many times have the security agents harrased any journalist or newspaper vendor in the North for writing about Boko Haram or Fulani bandits?
“The same hypocritical Nigeria security agents allow viral videos and audios from Boko Haram and other terrorists to circulate in the media but when IPOB Spokesman was featured on Channels Television, the federal government came on with N5 million fine against the station. Islamic cleric Sheikh Gunmi keeps meeting with terrorists and has turned into advocacy for them through the media, yet journalist or newspaper vendor has been questioned over such reports.
“The Fulani-controlled Nigeria security agencies cannot suppress Biafra no matter how hard they try. Not even their draconian policies and ant-press moves can stop their atrocities and unprovoked genocidal attacks in Biafra land from being reported. The world must read our story!
“We therefore, challenge the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Newspaper Publishers , civil society groups and democracy lovers to take up the fight. It’s not about Biafra, it’s all about free press and democracy. After all, the victims are not IPOB members but ordinary newspaper vendors and innocent journalists.
“The ultimate goal of the Fulani controlled federal government of Nigeria is to intimidate journalists into submission so they will be too afraid to report the extra-judicial killings and other crimes against humanity perpetrated by the security agents against Biafrans. We know their game plan: this is only a prelude so that when eventually they begin their proposed jihad in the Eastern region, no journalists and newspaper vendor will be courageous enough to report or circulate the story.
“But they must not be allowed to succeed or get away with this tyranny. The UN, US, EU, UK and lovers of democracy all over the world should ask Nigeria Government why it’s clamping down on free press.”
Health fears as killer DR Congo volcano spouts ash
The DR Congo’s Nyirangongo volcano has released large amounts of ash some two months after its eruption, sparking concerns for local residents’ health, experts said on Sunday.
The volcano in the far east of the vast central African country first erupted on May 22, claiming 32 lives and destroying hundreds of homes.
“The ash is the result of the collapse of part of the Nyirangongo’s central crater,” vulcanologist Muhindo Syavulisembo said in a statement.
Syavulisembo, who heads the Goma Vulcanology Observatory (OVG), however ruled out an imminent new eruption.
“There hasn’t been visible damage, but we fear respiratory and water-borne illnesses,” Samson Buunda, a local civil society representative, told AFP.
The eruption of Africa’s most active volcano displaced nearly 400,000 people, especially after May 27 when scientists warned of a potentially catastrophic blast underneath nearby Lake Kivu.
UK, US delegates and others arrive in Nigeria to witness Kanu’s trial
Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria has seen an influx of delegates representing the UK, US and others to attend the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, a rights activist and leader of Biafran pro-independence group , the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Kanu, whose trial is scheduled to resume Monday, July 26, 2021, faces charges of treason and other unfounded crimes for calling for a referendum on an independent state of Biafra in the east of the country.
He was seized in Kenya and illegally repatriated to Nigeria after fleeing to Israel in 2017 when his home was raided by soldiers who killed scores of civilians in an attempt to assassinate him.
“We see here the presence of some well-known journalists from European countries. Some British and American delegates have also arrived,” said a source at a notable hotel in Abuja.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer for the separatist leader, who confirmed the presence of journalists and members of the international community, called for calm between members of the separatist group and the country’s security agents who will be in court for the trial.
“I further wish to urge restraint and civility in all quarters tomorrow. It is your constitutional rights to be in court to witness Court’s proceedings but your engagement, dressing and conducts should be civil,” Ejiofor said in a statement on Sunday.
“The World is here already and they will be watching. All notable World class media houses are here already.
“I also wish to remind the security agents that the Court’s environment is a public place, accessible to everybody, and not a battleground, they should be civil in their engagement, as no violence is envisaged and none will happen. What we Demand for is justice and fair hearing,” he said.
Teen missing since 2020 after soldiers raided synagogue in Nigeria
The whereabouts of Emmanuel John, a teenager, has remained unknown since October 2020, when Nigerian soldiers raided a synagogue in Obigbo, an Igbo residence in Rivers State, where they killed at least seven worshipers and arrested others.
Emmanuel’s two younger siblings were also shot in the incident that left the synagogue razed by soldiers who accused the worshipers of having ties to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)—a group advocating for an independent state known as Biafra in the eastern part of the country.
The incident occurred in October 2020 during which a protest against police brutality turned violent when security officers shot and killed protesters across the country, including Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, where they killed many civilians.
“It was on Shabbat, Saturday, that the incident happened. My children were there in the synagogue when the soldiers arrived. They killed people and shot others including my two other little children who are 7 and 9 years old,” Mrs. Nkechi John, mother of the missing teenager told Gazette Africa.
“Favour (Emmanuel) didn’t do anything wrong. The soldiers shot him and took him in their van with other worshipers. Since that 2020 we have searched almost everywhere but we haven’t found him.
“He’s only 15, he was keeping Shabbat with others that Saturday, he didn’t do anything wrong,” Ms. John said, weeping.
A Jewish adherent, Chikwube Udo, who survived the military raid, described it as a “bloody Shabbat day”, noting that the synagogue was razed to the ground after the attack.
“It was a bloody Shabbat day. People died, others were shot and wounded while those who survived were thrown into the military van and taken away. Few others were found but Aboy (Emmanuel) is still missing,” he said.
Since 2017, Nigerian government forces have stepped up their attacks on Igbo Jewish adherents whom they consider terrorists for supporting the demand for a referendum on an independent state known as Biafra.
At least 14 synagogues, including those destroyed in November 2020, have been razed by government forces in the east of the country.
The crackdown on Jewish worshipers in Nigeria has further led to the arrest of three Israeli filmmakers, Rudy Rochman, Noam Leibman and E. David Benaym, currently detained without charge.
Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu, human rights activist and leader of Biafran pro-independence group, who practices Judaism, is currently being held in the Nigeria’s Department of State Services detention center in Abuja after being seized in Kenya and illegally repatriated to the country.
The separatist leader who had fled to Israel in 2017 when his home was raided by soldiers who killed many civilians in an attempt to assassinate him, faces charges of treason and other unfounded crimes, for calling for a referendum on the independent state of Biafra in the east of the country.
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