by Rachel Ogbu
For many that thought the death of Chukwuemeka Ojukwu will mean the end of the Biafran dream might be in for a little shock after policemen in Enugu on Monday arrested over 500 people for allegedly being part of the re-declaration of Biafra as a sovereign state.
Called the Biafra Zionist Movement, the group had converged on an open field in Coal Camp area of Enugu on Monday where the leader, Ben Onwuka, gave a speech.
They had gathered the previous day to celebrate Ojukwu’s birthday, the leader of the Biafran secessioin effort, who died in March.
They continued independence protests on Monday in Enugu, the main town in the southeast region they wanted to form into a breakaway state more than four decades ago.
However, after Onwuka’s address, policemen led by the Enugu Central Police Station Divisional Police Officer, Ike Mba, arrested him and other members of the group, who displayed Biafran, American and Israeli flags.
The suspects were arraigned before a court and remanded in police custody afterwards.
According to Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu State, Ebere Amaraizu, about 500 people believed to be members of BZM, which is also believed to be a faction of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra were arrested.
“The group led by one Ben Onwuka and the members were arrested at Akwata, off Agbani Road, Enugu. They were arrested with 61 Biafran flags, 13 berets, three bands and eight BZM forms.”
While addressing the crowd, Onwuka said, “It is clear that the security of lives and property of Biafran people is no longer guaranteed in the entity called Nigeria.
“Therefore, we have resolved to re-declare our independence today based on the mandate given to Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu on May 30, 1967 to provide our people security according to international law.
“It is clear that our people’s right to worship, according to our Christian faith, is no longer guaranteed. Therefore, we Biafra people have resolved to opt out of Nigeria.
“Today, the re-birth of the Republic of Biafra is finally actualised.
“On the international arena, the Republic of Biafra would establish and maintain a very pro-Israel international relations. Biafra would consider an attack on Israel and the Jewish people as an attack on Biafra.”