Editorial: Buhari And His Bullet For Biafra

President Buhari
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Following the killing of nine Nigerians – comprising protesters, passers-by and policemen – in Anambra last Thursday, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Solomon Arase, has been widely reported to have directed the Police “to clampdown” on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) anywhere where they might be found.
According to reports, the apparently miffed IG directed the police formation in the South-East and neighbouring states “to henceforth maximally exercise their statutory mandate in relation to prevention and disruption of any gathering that threatens public order and national cohesion. Any person or group of persons so arrested in furtherance to the enforcement of this order will be made to face the full wrath of the law”
And, taking all of us to the cleaners, Arase reportedly described Nigerians as “lawless, even as he assured IPOB and MASSOB members that the police “will clamp down on them, we will deal with them, we will prosecute them. Already, we have about 137 of them who are undergoing prosecution across the length and breadth of the South East and we will continue to do that.
We observe here, however, that the IG’s imprudent reaction is reflective of the Nigerian State’s staple step to issues of this nature from Independence till date. Best illustrative of this kneejerk response was the three-and-half- year-long Nigerian Civil War, which started as a mere “police action.”
And as it is also the norm, some otherwise respectable leaders who should know better have dismissed the current IPOB and MASSOB as “miscreants.” even as not a few Nigerians from the South-East were quick to distance themselves from the protesters, and very conveniently too.
May we say here and upfront that we believe and are committed to the unity and the indivisibility of Nigeria. However, may we also state that the recourse to bullets to blow away this apparent renewed quest for the defunct Biafra Republic by the post-Civil War generation of Nigerians of South-East origin – really, new Pharaohs who do not know the Josephs of the contextual history of the first Biafra’s troubled birth and distressed demise – is not well thought out and is bound to fail, just as the same course of action failed to put down earlier ethno-centric agitations, notably those launched by the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in the South-West, the militancy of the South-South.
If anything, the Federal Government’s action can only make a cause celebre of the pro-Biafra leaders and their fledging movement. A different line of action is needed and it is up the Federal Government to put on its thinking cap here and today to douse this simmering fire.

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