Osita Okechukwu, director-general of Voice of Nigeria (VON), has asked the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to reconsider their decision to lock down the south-east zone.
IPOB had vowed to lock down the south-east if the federal government refuses to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the group, by August 8.
Kanu is facing charges bordering on treasonable felony brought against him by the federal government over his campaign for the Republic of Biafra.
Emma Powerful, IPOB publicity secretary, had said the lockdown, tagged ‘ghost Monday’, will also affect schools and marketplaces.
He said the sit-at-home order will start on Monday, August 9, and remain in place until the group gets its demand.
But in a statement on Sunday, Okechukwu asked IPOB members to reconsider the decision.
He said a lockdown of the zone will have a negative effect on the delivery of infrastructural projects implemented by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in the south-east.
The VON DG described the decision to lock down the region as an error, which will not deliver meaningful result.
“Let me for the umpteenth time appeal to my brothers in IPOB to sheath their sword, for to lockdown the South-East is simply waging atrocious war against Ndigbo,” the statement reads.
“Accordingly, it will be very big error for IPOB to lockdown the South-East and think they are tough, strategic and will achieve any meaningful result, capital NO.
“IPOB should not cut off Ndigbo’s nose to spite Buhari’s face, for Buhari is compensating with infrastructure. Appointments are transient, and infrastructure is permanent. The Standard Gauge Railroads which will soon cover the entire South-East will demonstrate the efficacy of infrastructure. IPOB, hold on please.”
Okechukwu, however, expressed support for the adoption of rule of law in the ongoing trial of Kanu.
“Hence, IPOB should be aware that to lock down South-East is nothing but to punish Ndigbo; to degrade against Ndigbo, South-East economy, to starve Ndigbo and akin to the obnoxious civil war doctrine of hunger as the best weapon,” he said.
“My brothers of IPOB clan, put on your thinking cap and be pragmatic, introspect and remember our brothers and sisters who are living in all the towns and villages nationwide, doing well and investing happily and prospering with other ethnic nationalities.”
In April 2017, Kanu was released on health grounds, but jumped bail after flouting some of the conditions given to him by the court.
Kanu was re-arraigned before Binta Nyako of the federal high court in Abuja on June 29, after being intercepted and extradited to Nigeria. His trial was adjourned till July 26 for a hearing.
The trial was later adjourned till October 21, due to the inability of the federal government to produce him in court on July 26.