- As Dino Melaye’s protest turned bloody in Kogi, resulting in at least 2 deaths
Ralph Uwazurike, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has appealed for peace as he holds consultation with Northern groups in Kaduna.
Mr. Uwazurike, who led a delegation of Igbo leaders from the South East, told some youth groups in Kaduna on Monday that MASSOB had pursued the path of peace since its creation in 1999.
“MASSOB had existed for 18 years without violence, but in 2009, I went to London and opened Radio Biafra and handed it over to Nnamdi Kanu as the director.
“Soon afterwards, politicians hijacked him, and he started working for them.
“The radio that was meant to educate our people and advise our people was turned into the source of hate messages, blackmail, intimidation and others.
“The resultant effect was that the northern youths came up to challenge us, to say that they are not happy with the hate messages and the insults they receive from the same radio.
“ I am here today to say that the main purpose of floating the organisation called MASSOB was not to cause crisis in Nigeria.
“I assured the late Odumegu Ojukwu when he was alive that there would be no other civil war in Nigeria.
“Because he, Ojukwu was so concerned and wanted some measure of assurance from me that MASSOB would not cause problems in Nigeria and I gave him that assurance.
“And I am today disappointed, that the assurances I gave, may not see the light of the day, if certain measures were not taken, and that is why I am here in Arewa House today.”
He assured of the safety of the northerners resident in the South East and urged them to continue with their businesses in the area.
“I am here to assure you northerners that all your people in the South East are safe and nobody will harass them.
“And, I am happy to hear my friend, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, who assured of the safety of lives and property of Nd’Igbo in Northern region.”
Mr. Uwazurike averred that the crisis in the country was being manipulated by politicians and urged the youth not to allow themselves to be used.
He, however, stressed the need to address perceived marginalization, adding that although it was right for any part of the country to seek self determination, it was wrong to pursue same through violent means.
“Self determination without violence is a fundamental right, we must strive against sowing the seed of discord but do all that will promote peace and justice.
“There is a gap of communication from our leaders which needs to be bridged, hence we are meeting with notable leaders in the north to persuade them that there is no cause for alarm,“ he said.
Meanwhile, Al-Mustapha, former Chief Security Officer to late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who convened the meeting, said it was in response to recent quit notice issued by some northern groups to Igbos.
He said the meeting was to intervene in the impasse threatening the unity and oneness of the country.
According to Mr. Al-Mustapha, the youths need to wear their thinking caps, use their brains and refuse to be used in fomenting any form of crisis in the country.
He said current events may not be unconnected with external forces wanting to see Nigeria disintegrate.
Mr. Al-Mustapha also cautioned the youth against making statements that would further cause tension in the country, in spite of the unpleasant comments from IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
He appealed to the Kaduna State Government and the Inspector General of Police to withdraw the arrest threat on the youth leaders who issued the Kaduna Declaration.
In the meantime, the battle for the recall of Senator Dino Melaye by his Kogi West constituents turned bloody yesterday, as three persons were confirmed dead and five others injured during a rally in Lokoja, the state capital.
The Senator reportedly gathered students and supporters at the gate of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, where he protested his recall, which he said was being sponsored by the state government with N1.2 billion.
Midway into his address, gunshots were heard in the crowd, as some gunmen stormed the venue from the Nataco Junction brandishing guns of different types and cutlasses with everyone scampering for safety.
The Senator’s security men quickly shielded him, as the gun battle reportedly lasted for over an hour between supporters on both sides of the divide.
Taking to his Twitter handle (@dino_melaye) to narrate what had transpired in a series of tweets, the embattled Senator wrote: “Two of my vehicles severally (sic) damaged with gunshots. Told one of the commissioners to Bello and LG caretaker chairman moved one of my cars (sic).”
He accused the troublemakers of being government-sponsored, tweeting “attackers are Government House Police with some criminals accompanied by Lokoja caretaker chairman & one Abdullah Dollar, who is SA Political (sic).
“Just escaped another assassination in Lokoja. Can’t say if anyone died, but two people with gun wound are presently receiving treatment at DSS (sic). “A car was burnt to ashes. “I cannot be muted. I must continue to speak for the traumatised civil servants and pensioners of Kogi State.”
An hour later, Melaye started tweeting again, thanking the Department of State Services, DSS, for saving his life: “There was serious exchange of gun shots between the DSS, policemen and government assassins. DSS, I thank u for saving my life after God (sic).” As a follow-up, he also tweeted: “I thank God for my bullet proof car.”
Additional report from Vanguard