A famous Nigerian politician once said (in a spirited defense of the Yoruba) that “before I became a Nigerian, I was Yoruba”. And another one said: “We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes”.
The Yoruba has, in moderation, said his own. The Fulani has, in extremism, said his own; let me now, as an Igbo, say my own, and here it is: Whoever takes the life of an IPOB member is taking the life of an Igbo and therefore will ultimately account to Ndigbo. It’s not a threat; it’s a fact.
When I read about the senseless and criminal massacre of unarmed innocents who gathered in Enugu on August 23, 2020, in peaceable exercise of their constitutional rights, I quickly began to search the news to learn more and I learned plenty, including particularly the somewhat dismissive refrain that “those killed are just IPOB members”.
Yes, they might be IPOB members. But guess what? Everybody in former Eastern Nigeria who disagrees with the fratricidal mess that has become Nigeria is an IPOB member, overtly or covertly.
They don’t have to carry a registration card for you to be certain they are IPOB members. All you need to do is to talk with them to convince yourself that they are IPOB members.
An IPOB member is simply any Eastern Nigerian (especially the Igbo) who will rather have Biafra than a Nigeria that eats her children, especially her Igbo children. And they are in the millions; they are legion; some are above ground; some are in sleeper cells. And they are not ‘miscreants’; they are the Igbo gentry, the elites, the masses, warts and all.
So, in this latest case of those mass-murdered by Nigeria’s security forces in Enugu; it is safe to assume (in terms of the locale) that they are Igbos. And yes – they were born as Igbos when there was no IPOB.
And to be sure, they were Igbos before they became Nigerians. And even as Nigeria notoriously disdains the Igbo but still wants to keep him in Nigeria, the Igbo remains an Igbo for now and forever, alive or dead. Nobody can change that. No subliminal narrative of “just IPOB” can change that.
Therefore, while it’s correct to say that those killed are “members” of IPOB; it’s wrong to slant it in a way that seeks to detach them from the whole. That whole is mainly Ndigbo, a people that are not terrorists but are branded as such; a people that do not bear arms but are treated as such and thus extra-judicially murdered at the slightest excuse. Why?
And then once such occurs, once they unjustifiably and gleefully spill the sacred Igbo blood, every attempt is made to deride and degrade the fallen as mere IPOB and therefore as less sacred, all in a clumsy media spin to detach them from Ndigbo.
This has been the constant narrative since 30th August 2015 when this current spate of mass murders of Ndigbo got underway. I say to you: It doesn’t work; it never will; their blood is never less worthy than the blood of any Igbo. It’s an Igbo thing that you may not understand. It’s deep and medieval.
So, those that are in command and control in this latest crime against humanity, against Ndigbo, should know this: when the time comes, it is the entire Igbo that will hold you to account.
If you are not held to account within Nigeria (which is what you are counting on), you will be held to account in the appropriate forum outside of Nigeria and there shall be no statute of limitations stopping it. And sovereign immunity will not be a shield but a sword.
Again, it’s not a threat; it’s a statement of fact. And I say it advisedly, not as the Special Counsel to the IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu (which I am), but as an Igbo who is personally wounded and bereaved any time an innocent Igbo life is taken by rulers of a Nigerian State that will rather pardon a terrorist and kill the unarmed Igbo, while foolishly thinking that there will be no consequences.
Ejimakor, a lawyer, is the Managing Partner of Adalbert Legal Services; 11 Ukpo Close, Garki Abuja FCT, Nigeria