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Leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafra and Independence Movement (BIM), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has announced that the group would mark the 18th anniversary of new Biafra on May 22, 2018.
Chief Uwazuruike, who spoke through the Owerri zonal leader of MASSOB/BIM, Mr Samuel Njoku disclosed this during a press briefing in Owerri.
According to Njoku, the new Biafra was founded on May 22, 2000 when its leader Chief Ralph Uwazuruike hoisted Biafra flag at Aba, Abia State, explaining that the philosophy of the new movement was `non-violence model’.
"Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, the father of Biafra led us to fight the Biafra/Nigeria civil war in 1967, but today Chief Uwazuruike is propagating the freedom of Biafra people through non-violence principles", he said.
Njoku said that the group would on May 22, 2018 hold street march, reflect on the past, present and future of Biafran people as well as engage in other merry making activities to herald the day.
The MASSOB/BIM leader told journalists that his group was not part of the pro-Biafran group directing the public to observe May 30 as sit-at-home, saying people should go about their legitimate businesses on May 30.
Responding to questions from journalists, Njoku said that MASSOB/BIM under Chief Ralph Uwazuruike is in support of their members obtaining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC).
"Every supporter of MASSOB/BIM is encouraged to make sure he/she obtain the INEC permanent Voters’ Card, because we are still in Nigeria and we are supposed to vote leaders of our choice pending when we get our independence’’, he said.
On killings linked to Fulani herdsmen, Njoku called on people living within the Biafran enclave to be proactive to their defence, while advising Igbo people in the trouble-prone areas to relocate to safety.
He said that the killings linked to the Fulani herdsmen was not enough for MASSOB/BIM to change its position on non-violence, but however called for stoppage of the killings.
"Killings and attacks linked to the Fulani herdsmen is not enough for any Biafran member to jettison the non-violent approach towards our struggle for Biafra independence.
"My appeal is for Nigerian government to rise up against these killings of innocent Nigerians by the herdsmen because that is not the best news from this country at this material time’’, he said.
Also speaking, Chief Okechukwu Nwaogu, Owerri zonal elders’ council member said the revolutionary fire lighted by Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu on May 30, 1967 still guides the struggle for Biafra independence.
Nwaogu said, "since the end of the civil war in 1970, no Igbo was courageous enough to mention Biafra until Chief Uwazuruike launched MASSOB on September 13, 1999 and on May 22, 2000 declared and hoisted the flag for the new Biafra."
He added that the uniqueness of May 22 anchored on its historic importance makes the day a big event for the struggle for emancipation of Biafra people.
"What July 4 is to Americans is what May 22 is to Biafrans people because without the event of that day, the clamour for Biafra would not have been mentioned anywhere in the world’’, he said.