By Jonathan Ugbal
Following the arrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, protests have held in several cities and states across Nigeria with suggestions from some quarters that Cross River State was “willing” to support the secession bid.
In fact, the map of Biafra that is being bandied around by IPOB includes Cross River State as part of the Biafran territory.
CrossRiverWatch sampled the opinion of several Cross Riverians and many greeted the idea of joining Biafra with cold indifference.
Here are their views. “I do not know, I don’t like the Biafran idea owing to the fact we suffered from them what they claimed they were suffering from Northerners. But, Nigeria is not treating us well too” says Ushugwu Ugbe, a health officer in Bekwarra local government area.
“No! We are not a party to it!” screams Boniface Ogar, a student, on phone. He continues “I learnt they arrested the Kanu of a guy, that process began from the past administration and though I feel the incumbent administration is not handling it well, I don’t want Cross River State to be part of it. We will suffer worse under the Biafra regime. A good policy formulation and implementation will see their demands met and that will die down”.
“I support their struggle for freedom due to marginalization but I do not want to be a Biafran. Let the government do something about it” says Mrs. Angela Ogri, a retiree from the state civil service.
Joan Okadza screams “No no no, I will run away if that will be the case because I don’t know them” she says.
Okoi Obono-Obla, a lawyer in an article titled “Nobody Should Drag Us Into Biafra” said “I am flummoxed when some people are trying to exhume something that was buried almost 45 years ago by suggesting that Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers states are part of the garbage they call ‘Biafra’.”
Similarly, Emmanuel Etim, the Chairman of the Nigerian Youth Chamber of Commerce, Calabar, said “First, the unity of Nigeria is non negotiable. Having fought a civil war once, we cannot afford another one. The people of the South-East must refrain from strife and seek to discuss their concerns. I encourage the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to immediately implement the resolutions of the national conference and promote equity, justice and fair play in the polity, he should listen to the issues of concern of the people of the region and provide solutions to them.”
A traditional leader and former Obudu LGA Chairman, Tony Undiandeye in his opinion said “no sane Cross Riverian will want to join Biafra. We suffered heavily during the civil war and I do not see where that will aid our cause. Look at Abakaliki which was part of the Old Ogoja province and controlled from there, when the time came, they fought and got their own state and did not so much as contribute a voice to the creation of the COR (Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers) state project”.
The state is however not devoid of Biafran supporters with Sebastian Agiande saying “Biafra for fine pass” while Endure Onun, Publisher of CrossRiverDaily.com updates pro-Biafran messages on his Facebook page frequently.
It will be recalled that the Chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, HRM Dr. Etim Okon Edet, has warned that the state will resist any form of pro Biafran activity in the state while the State Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji has also warned that the state is ready to crush any form or pro Biafran protest in the state. Monarch, State Security Adviser Vow To Crush Pro-Biafra Protests In Cross River