Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has emphasized the need for the country’s leadership to approach the agitations for Biafra in a more diplomatic way.
In an exclusive interview on, Channels Book Club, the Nobel laureate said that every ethnic group should be made to feel like a part of the country and good old dialogue is the way to go.
“I wrote an article during the war that Biafra cannot be defeated. People misunderstood what I was saying.
“Once an idea has taken hold, you cannot destroy that idea. You may destroy the people, the carriers of that idea on the battle field but ultimately it’s not the end of the story.
“Let’s not take this position of ‘don’t even talk about it’, ‘under my watch this will never happen’, don’t say things like that. Go into that environment and ask ‘what is it that we can do to make you happy and feel part of this entity?’
“Listen to some other Biafrans and ask them why they want to stay (and say) ‘this is what we are ready to push as the overall authority in this area’.
“Don’t go around saying ‘the sovereignty of the country is indivisible, it’s non-negotiable’ all that kind of language will only make matters worse,” he said.
The ground swell protests staged by the members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, over the continued detention of the Director, Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has been halted, following the resolve of the two pro-Biafra groups to give Federal Government room for dialogue.
A joint resolution signed by Ugwuoke Ibem,National Secretary,MASSOB, and Emma Powerful, Spokesman of IPOB, read in part: “We have decided to halt our demonstration, protest to pave way for the much published dialogue on Nnamdi Kanu’s release. Our withdrawal from the major cities of Biafraland is not out of cowardice but to prove maturity, professionalism as a decent self-determined group.
“We hereby issue an ultimatum to the Federal Government to prove their seriousness and sincerity on the much published dialogue on the release of Nnamdi Kanu. We shall continue with our non-violence self determination on Biafra. MASSOB,IPOB will never relent or backside on the agitation for Biafra actualization.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government, yesterday, told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, why it was not in a hurry to release the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, claiming that its investigations revealed that Kanu, who it identified as the brain behind recent clamour for the creation of ‘Biafra Republic’, had already received huge sums of money to purchase weapons.
In a counter-affidavit before the court, Government said that just before his arrest, Kanu, had already made enquiries about prices of all the weapons he intends to buy.
A senior officer with the Department of State Services, DSS, Mr. Ayo Ibitoye, insists that it would be in the interest of justice, peace and order, to allow the IPOB leader to remain in custody of the security agency.
Remember that Kanu who is also the Director of Radio Biafra and Television, was on October 17, arrested in Lagos by security operatives, shortly after he arrived Nigeria from his base in the United Kingdom.
He was later arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court in Abuja over allegation that he engaged in criminal conspiracy, managed and belonged to an unlawful society.
But on October 19, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail in the tune of N2million.
However, the accused person alleged that the Nigerian government refused to release him from detention despite the fact that he had met the bail conditions.
While the matter was pending before the Magistrate court, The Federal Government secured an order from the high court to further detain Kanu for 90 days.
After getting that order, the government lawyer, Moses Idakwo, asked Magistrate Usman to step down from the trial on the ground that his court lacks the power and jurisdiction to prosecute terrorism charges.