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Nigeria still struggles to quell renewed calls for Biafra independence

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Leader of separatist group, Nnamdi Kanu addressing his supporters in Umuahia Abia State

Years after the civil war that left over 3.5 million massacred and starved to death in Nigeria’s eastern region, the giant African country is still struggling to quell the struggle to achieve an independent state of Biafra.

Efforts to stop the Biafra movement have seen at least 1,500 members of the main separatist group – the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), dead and many incarcerated since 2015.

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB who thinks Nigeria is better divided, still insists “Biafra will be free no matter the cost” despite the death of his parents following a military raid at his home in Umuahia.

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In 2017, the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari – a Muslim, declared IPOB, “a terrorist organization”, a move to stifle the quest for Biafra which met with disagreement from the international community such as the United States which has declared the group to be “non-violent”.

Since 2018, the Nigerian government has requested that Mr. Kanu, who is in exile, be extradited to Nigeria to face charges of alleged treasonable felony.

Today in Nigeria, anyone suspected of being a member of the separatist group is either arrested or shot dead by government forces rampaging the east of the country.

“The soldiers are now raiding homes in search of those who support Nnamdi Kanu and Biafra. Here in my residence they killed so many young people,” Mr. Promise Ofor, a trader told Gazette Africa as she sat next to the foodstuffs she sells in a popular market in Rivers State.

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“They harass people on the road every morning and evening, we do not sleep peacefully at night because of the shooting by the soldiers,” she concluded.

In Imo State, Chief Ekeke whose son is still missing after being taken away by soldiers since 2019 is praying for his son to return.

“I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, but I pray that Uchenna will come back someday,” he said.

Chief Thompson Nwagbara of Abia State believes that the use of force will not stifle the quest for Biafra. “The government is only making the situation worse. The more force you use against these peaceful agitators, the angrier they get and this will worsen the situation ”.

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Nigeria collapsing, agitations should be solved through dialogue — Bishop

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Bishop Hilary Dachelem, of the Catholic Diocese of Bauchi in Nigeria, expressed concern over the ongoing killings in Nigeria, adding that the country is falling apart.

The bishop, who spoke at a press conference at St. John’s Cathedral in the diocese of Bauchi on Thursday, May 6, urged the government to dialogue with various groups agitating in the country, rather than sweeping it aside under the carpet.

Noting that in the past, crime was minimal in the country, Bishop Dachelem said: “This is certainly not the Nigeria we used to know; we are facing a different Nigeria. The Nigeria we used to know was a free country and it was not as if there was no crime then but it was minimal and not at the alarming rate that it is now.

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“There were pockets of issues but they were not too overwhelming. Those who were into crime and criminality were very insignificant compared to the entire number; but now, I don’t know if the majority of us are criminals, more or less.

“In the former Nigeria we knew, you could go anywhere at any time; we had armed robberies but they weren’t as prevalent as what we have today, so much, that a governor is afraid of traveling, even a governor is attacked by bandits

“If a governor who has all the paraphernalia of security at his disposal is also suffering from this, if we don’t do anything, we know that we are already heading for a doom.

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“Nigeria is indeed sick because it doesn’t carry the integrity of a federal nation; it doesn’t carry what a corporate nation should be. Nigeria is not okay, not what it should be, something is definitely wrong somewhere.

“If you open the television, people want to know ‘where is the place that people have been kidnapped, who and who have died? How many? Where?’ This is the anxiety that people are attacked because we have acculturated ourselves with the culture of death and it is sad.

“If we are comfortable with the culture of death, one day, we will kill everybody and all of us will wake up and there is no Nigeria.

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Speaking of the secessionist movement underway in the southern regions of the country, the bishop said; “Agitations by various groups across the country should not be swept under the carpet but must be solved through dialogue.”

Nigeria has witnessed a series of attacks by Boko Haram and other Islamic terrorists, including Fulani herders who seek to transform the Africa’s most populous nation into an Islamic state.

Dachelem added that, “Nigeria is a nation that is collapsing, almost a nation in moribund with the way it is going”.

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Do not assist or sell weapons to Nigeria — Kanu writes to US

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PHOTO: Joe Biden (left), Nnamdi Kanu (right)

The rights activist and leader of the indigenous peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has called on the United States not to assist or sell arms to Nigeria.

Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria in April asked for assistance and arms from the United States, saying it was for fighting terrorism in the country.

But in a letter dated May 1, 2021, Kanu listed the reasons why United States President Joe Biden should decline the request.

The letter to Biden reads as follows:

Honorable Joe Biden
President
United States of America
The White House
Washington DC

Re: REQUEST FOR UNITED STATES MILITARY ASSISTANCE BY PRESIDENT MOHAMMADU BUHARI OF NIGERIA

Dear Mr. President:

We, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) applaud your election as President of the United States, the most powerful office in the history of the world. We salute your adept and muscular discharge of presidential duties during your tenure in the White House.

Mr President, as you consider Buhari’s request for military assistance to Nigeria, we respectfully urge you to also consider the following:
1. President Buhari has made Nigeria the most dangerous country in the world for Christians, Jews and Nigeria’s indigenous peoples, particularly those of the former Republic of Biafra. Hundreds of thousands are routinely plundered, tortured or killed with impunity by Nigerian security forces controlled and populated by Buhari’s Fulani Islamic tribesmen, often in collaboration with Fulani herdsmen (Islamist terrorist group that has been internationally branded the 4th deadliest terrorist grouping in the world). These atrocities have been confirmed and published by US State Department in its various Human Rights Reports on Nigeria, by Amnesty International and other credible bodies. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended listing Nigeria as a country of concern because of its religious oppressions. United States sales or transfers of weapons to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram are diverted to killing and terrorizing Christians and Jews. The Nigerian army, which leadership is Fulani and Islamist is complicit in these illicit transfers.

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2. President Buhari is promoting radical Islam in secular Nigeria. He has endorsed Sharia law in twelve northern Nigerian states. He has treated Boko Haram with kid gloves, releasing from detention hundreds arrested by the previous administration. He recruited them into Nigerian army and offered generous foreign scholarship to hundreds of them. He has appointed radical Muslims to head every security agency in Nigeria, including Sheik Isa Pantami whose profuse support for Al Qaeda and Taliban was widely published recently. Yet, Mr Buhari has refused to sack him from his sensitive position as Minister of Communication overseeing the biometric data of Nigerians. By defending Sheik Pantami, Mr Buhari is seemingly aligning with Mr Pantami’s terrorist sympathies. Mr Buhari is a strong ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran and China; and he has generally pursued policies that put Nigeria at odds with US national interest since you came to office.
3. President Buhari is conducting a genocidal campaign against tens of millions of Christians and Jews, particularly those indigenous to the former Republic of Biafra. These include mass killings, torture, and the destruction of Christian schools, churches and Jewish synagogues. He has arbitrarily branded and terrorized the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a nonviolent group pursuing the Independence of the former Republic of Biafra. Mr Buhari’s draconian measures were geared to retaliating against peaceful demonstrations favoring the restoration of Biafran independence that was cruelly extinguished by a genocidal military campaign Buhari partly led between 1967 and 1970. He has concocted treason charges against IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu to crush Biafran self-determination, despite the fact that self-determination is legal under Nigerian law. Mr. Buhari’s demonic rule is convulsing Nigeria and creating new safe havens for radical Islamic terrorists that pose potent threat to US interests, from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea.

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Prayers:

1, We respectfully suggest that you consider, among other things, denying weapons sales or transfers to Nigeria under the Leahy Amendment; listing Nigeria complicit in persecuting Christian and Jews under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

2, We respectfully urge Mr President to invoke particularly Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, which prohibits the furnishing of assistance authorized by the FAA and the Arms Export Control Act to any foreign security force unit where there is credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.

In conclusion, we state categorically that the national interests of the United States lie in protecting Christians and Jews in Nigeria, defeating radical Islam and preventing instability in West Africa which will altogether be enhanced by a US-led diplomatic pressure on the Nigerian government to – as a matter of urgency – agree to a UN-supervised referendum on Biafran Independence.

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We wish you and your family many wonderful years in the White House.

Sincerely,
___________________________
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu
Leader, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)

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Rwanda in talks to produce COVID-19 vaccines

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Paul Kagame

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently seeking to establish permanent vaccine production capacity in regions where this is currently mostly absent.

Under the initiative targeting low and middle-income countries, WHO plans to expand capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines and scale-up manufacturing to increase global access.

President Paul Kagame this week told the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, co-chaired by Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, that the only way to ensure vaccine equity is to produce more vaccines where they are needed.

“Rwanda is working with partners to bring the first mRNA manufacturing facility to Africa. So long as Africa remains dependent on other regions for vaccines, we will always be at the back of the queue, whenever there is scarcity,” President Kagame said.

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Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga, Rwanda’s Minister of State in Charge of Primary Healthcare, said, “The government is looking for a way to produce the vaccine from Rwanda. It is one way to acquire the vaccine for Rwanda but also for Africa. There is hope. Rwanda is negotiating with partners who are willing to manufacture the vaccines from Rwanda. I cannot say exactly when but there is hope that the negotiations will be fruitful.”

Rwanda needs at least 13 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate 60 percent of the population, about 7.5 million people, by June 2022. So far, only 4 percent have received the first dose of the vaccine.

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