The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has clarified that its appointment of some Igbo elder statesmen as its negotiators with the United States Congressmen does not mean that they are its backers or commanders.
It expressed shock that since the elder statesmen were named as its negotiators, some mischief makers and media organisations have misconstrued them as IPOB commanders and sympathizers.
IPOB had on Wednesday appointed Second Republic Vice other eminent Igbo leaders as its negotiators with the US lawmakers.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the group said the clarification had become necessary because fifth columnists and enemies of Biafra, with their media collaborators, had twisted the fact to portray the elder statesmen as IPOB members.
“We are aware of the activities of enemies of equity, justice and fairness but they will never win,” IPOB said.
Meanwhile, the IPOB has challenged the Nigerian authorities to organise a referendum to ascertain the popularity or otherwise of the agitation for self- rule among the states in the area of the erstwhile Biafra Republic.
The statement signed by IPOB’s spokespersons, Emma Nmezu, and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, described the speculation in some quarters that the negotiators are IPOB commanders as “mischievous and embarrassing”.
IPOB said the action was to avoid a repeat of what happened penultimate week when the US Consular-General who was on a fact-finding mission in South East was erroneously ‘cornered’ by the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the zone and their Ohaneze collaborators.
The statement read in part : “It has come to our notice that agents of our oppressors and avowed enemies of peace and justice have deliberately and mischievously twisted our suggestion that the visiting US congressional delegation meet with Anyaoku, Ekwueme, Nwabueze and co, to mean that these great gentlemen have suddenly become IPOB members. This is not so, hence this clarification.
“Three weeks ago, the US Consular-General visited the South East on a fact-finding mission. Surprisingly, he met only with the APC executive in Enugu and predatory elements of moribund Ohaneze where road construction, second Niger Bridge, appointment for more Ndigbo into Buhari’s cabinet etc, were presented to the US delegation as the reason for our agitation for freedom by these pathetic and God forsaken groups.
“Again, two days ago, a delegation of US congressional staff arrived from Washington D.C. led by a senior staff of the US Embassy in Nigeria and met with Ohaneze at the Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu, over our agitation for freedom from the hostile prison called Nigeria.
“Well-meaning and conscientious people all over the world expressed outrage and shock, wondering why in the world is the US delegation desperately avoiding the most credible names from our political space” IPOB said.
IPOB insisted on its position that the visiting US delegation should endeavour to meet and speak with “credible names like Anyaoku, Nwabueze, Ekwueme, and co.”
According to the pro-Biafra group, the choice of the elder statesmen as its mouthpiece “does not in any way translate to any of them suddenly becoming IPOB commanders.”