The voluble Spokesman of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Emma Powerful had released a statement recently indicating that starting from Monday next week (August 9) the south-east region would be subjected to a total lockdown in protest against the continuing incarceration of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Codenamed ‘ghost’ Monday it seeks to mount pressure on the Buhari regime to release Kanu from detention. What the weekly action means is that, until Kanu is liberated from the DSS custody, every Monday would witness a generalised shutdown of all activities in Igboland — schools, markets, shops and every other socio-economic activities would remain paralysed.

The statement declared the readiness of IPOB to “cripple the Nigerian economy until they free Kanu”. And continued thus: “Consequently, all institutions, public and private, transport companies, schools, banks, markets, airports and seaports in Biafra land must shut down every Monday beginning from August 9….People are to remain indoors to register their concern over the fate of our Leader and the rest of all agitators languishing in various security detentions”.



The statement then went on to issue threats to those who could be tempted to disobey the ‘order’: “Nobody should attempt to flout this directive as doing so may come with huge consequences. Anybody flouting this order is taking a grave risk”. It concluded by saying that Kanu had sacrificed a lot for the Biafran struggle so sacrificing Mondays for him should not be too much a demand.

But remaining indoors begs the question: which way forward? The problem lies, first and foremost, in the unilateral nay, dictatorial imposition of the edict. Behind the message one gets the message of desperation and provocation. So if someone is anti-Biafra or anti-Kanu they would be forced to partake in the sit-at-home diktat of a proscribed ‘terrorist’ organization or risk the ‘consequencies’?

If disobedience occurs along the line what happens to the defaulters or flouters? They would be roughened up, manhandled, shot or tried by jungle justice and detained or killed? Who and who were consulted before the declaration of ‘ghost’ Monday?

When Monday comes and a wheel-barrow pusher or an ‘agbero’ or any other artisan, for example, decides to comply with the IPOB’s directive by abandoning work and staying put at home how would their daily bread be guaranteed? Would Mr Powerful (or should we say Powerless?) make arrangement for food and other essential needs to be delivered to them? Must everyone observe the ‘ghost’ Monday?

If everyone should observe the day as one of ‘ghost’ (work-free) then Biafra would have the likelihood of becoming a resounding success. Alas, our disunity, egoism and lack of consensus on Biafra is responsible for the failure to become a sovereign nation outside the ‘zoo’.

There is no pressure from any quarters that would force President Buhari to release Kanu! Justice must be allowed to prevail in the case. Kanu is facing multiple charges and there is hard evidence in possession of the government incriminating him. It is up to a Judge of competent jurisdiction to find him guilty or otherwise.

Since Kanu has some competent professional lawyers representing him (coupled with his British citizenship) he may be given a fair trial. When he was busy threatening the corporate existence of the nation he had denied its citizenship it never occured to him that a day of reckoning could come someday? Hard times now lie ahead!

Instead of declaring every other monday, week in week out, as ‘ghost’ Monday ‘holy’ Monday would have been better. By ‘holy’ Monday we mean declaring mondays as special days of fasting and prayer for Kanu to remain safe and sound in detention. 

The so-called ‘ghost’ mondays would not lead to Kanu regaining his freedom anytime soon. Rather, the average poor Biafrans would suffer socio-economic and political consequencies of the voluntary or forced observation of the beginning of the working day of the week as rest or work-free day.

Nnamdi Kanu needs help but the help he needs urgently can only come from prayer and fasting; divine intervention. His survival is now in the hands of both justice and the Buhari administration. And since our justice system is not independent but dependent on the executive whims and caprices President Buhari and the cabal running the show on his behalf are baying for the blood of Kanu. 

Even in the event of a Judge magnanimously granting him bail (something highly unlikely given the fact that he was a fugitive prior to his Kenyan abduction and rendition) the lawless DSS would never respect such judicial edict as they did recently about the detained Dunamis five and Igboho’s associates.

Forcing people to close their shops and remain indoors just because an agitator for the sovereign state of Biafra is in detention awaiting judgement does not make any sense. IPOB are exaggerating the support Kanu enjoys or the following he commands in Biafraland in general. Not every Igboman likes Kanu or believes in his desperate quest for Biafra! If a referendum is organized today you can still find some Biafrans voting against secession in accordance with their political or economic interests.

What that tells us is that Kanu could never convince everyone to toe his separatist line or queue behind his inordinate ambition. If he ever thought that his messianic attitude and violent method and tactics had endeared him to almost every man or woman from the oriental part of the country then he must be living in a fool’s (or better still, zoo’s) paradise. 

Those he was mockingly describing as ‘animals’ in the large zoo are now in charge of his destiny! That’s how best the cookie crumbles.

Between ‘ghost’ Monday and ‘holy’ Monday, therefore, the latter seems more plausible. And we dare say we are going for it. Let justice be allowed by all and sundry to do its job. 

Nnamdi Kanu is not above the law! However, we recognise his passion and tenacity towards obtaining freedom for the marginalized Biafrans.

SOC Okenwa 

[email protected]

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