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Some pro-Biafra groups, under the aegis of Biafra Land Defenders, have begun moves to begin all criminals threatening the peace of the South East and forcing the electorate in the zone, not to participate in the 2023 elections.
The groups, had last month, given criminal groups hiding under the Simon Ekpa-led faction of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), operating in the South East until February 20, to vacate the region or face their wrath.
Addressing newsmen in Aba, yesterday, the leader, Ndubuisi Igwekani (aka Agu Biafra), said anybody caught trying to truncate the elections, or wreak any form of havoc in the South East, will henceforth, be treated as both enemy and criminal.
‘We’ve started the enforcement of the anti-sit-at-home and all violent threats against holding of the elections in our land, the South East.’
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‘All the criminals who hide under one programme or agitation to cause havoc in the South East, including kidnapping and destruction of lives and properties, should be aware that the operation has started today.
‘Everybody should not fear any criminal threatening our people, because anyone of them caught in our territory, will have themselves to blame,’ he said.
Igwekani assured innocent residents of the zone, that efforts were on to protect them while carrying out their legitimate daily chores and that they will especially be protected when coming out to vote and return to their respective homes on election days.
He urged traders in the various markets in the commercial cities of Onitsha, Aba, Nnewi, Enugu, Awka, Owerri, Abakaliki, among others, not to fear but to go about their normal businesses and be ready to go to the polling centres on voting days, to cast their votes for their preferred candidates.
‘We’ll never give them such space again. Enough is enough. We’re urging our all our people, our mothers, our fathers, our brethren in whatever Igbo community where they dwell to comfortably come out and vote for the candidate of their choice.
‘Let Onitsha Main Market traders, Ariaria International Market traders, Nkwor Nnewi traders, Ochanja, Cemetery, Ahia-Ohuru, Eke-Ukwu, Ogbete traders, and traders in Igboland get ready to vote,’ he said.
He said bad leadership plaguing the country, and poor treatment of Ndigbo were major reasons for seeking self rule in the South East. Igwekani said the people must surely participate in the elections, stressing that the outcome of the elections, will be a proof to the world that the country was redeemable and, therefore, could not be abandoned by the Igbo that are major shareholders in the Nigerian project.
He said now that Nigerian youths are rallying round Peter Obi, Labour Party presidential candidate, to redeem the country and push it from consumption to production, all lovers of peace that want the betterment of their people have to key in to vote, defend their votes and ensure their votes count.