An Igbo group in the Diaspora, Biafran Government in Exile, has suggested that the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra should change its name and continue its push for the sovereignty of Biafra under a new name – Zionist Movement of Jews in Africa South of the Sahara, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
A correspondence shared to some members of the group, which was made available to Saturday PUNCH, also showed that the group had set up a Biafran Steering Committee, made up of professionals in the Diaspora, to meet and discuss the next line of action following the proscription of IPOB by the Federal Government.
A document from a member of BGIE, Dr. Peter Ejirika, which was made available to Saturday PUNCH via email, said, “Definitely, we have been aware that referendum is a critical point on the Biafran success, but the question is how do we collectively get on this path? An integral part of the answer is the realisation that IPOB is only but an infinitesimal echelon of the search for the self-determination of Biafra and ultimate sovereignty.
“Invariably, the push should continue under a different name. Thus, the ultimate outcome of the proscription of an unarmed entity as a terrorist organisation should be the change of its nomenclature from IPOB to Zionist Movement of Jews in Africa South of the Sahara.”
In another email correspondence shared with some members of the group, Ejirika said, “Hail Biafra, I need to remind us that the Israelites had to pass through the desert to make it to the Promised Land. Metaphorically, Nigeria, to all intents and purposes, is our Egypt while Biafra is our promised land. Fellow Biafrans, listed below are the names of Biafran Steering Committee members, who would be contacted to meet, at some point to discuss the philosophical question of where do we go from here?”
Those identified as members of the committee in the document, include Lady Edith Ogechi Okeke, Dr. Afamefula, Dr. Achike, Dr. Oguchi Nkwocha, Ihediwa of Houston, Peter, Evans Anuforo and Dr. Clifford Iroanya.
Others are Dr. Chukwuma Egemba, Dr. Peter Ejirika, Chadwick Okoye, Onyema Nkwocha, Dr. Clement Okoro and Osita Ebiem.
But when Saturday PUNCH reached out to one of the members of the committee, Iroanya, he said he had received an email containing the list of the members of the committee, including his name, without any prior notice.
“I don’t know about the so-called Biafra Steering Committee because I got the email with my name and email listed just the same way you got the email,” he said in an email to one of our correspondents.
And when Saturday PUNCH reached out to Ekirika for further clarification on the issues, he replied saying the “request for additional information” had been forwarded to the “appropriate department of the Biafran Government in Exile and this functionary of the Biafran Government would provide you with all the answers you need.”
However, IPOB did not share the view that its name should be changed following its proscription.
In response to Saturday PUNCH’s enquiries seeking to know if the IPOB was considering changing its name to ZASS, the group on Friday released a statement in which it said it had no plans to operate under a new name following its proscription by the Federal Government.
IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, declared that the group would not change its name, while alleging that the Federal Government, in company with the South-East Governors Forum and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, had paid some unnamed individuals to float another pro-Biafra group that would, supposedly, replace IPOB.
According to him, the alleged plot is meant to create the impression that IPOB is no more. He insisted that IPOB was still active, despite its proscription.
The statement read, “We the Indigenous People of Biafra and its leadership worldwide, under the command and leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the prophet of our time, wish to bring to the attention of Biafrans and the world at large, that IPOB has never and will never change (its) name because of kangaroo and black market order obtained from a Federal High Court, Abuja.
“It came to our knowledge that some unscrupulous individuals and groups in our society have been paid by (the) Federal Government, Igbo governors and Ohaneze Ndigbo, led by Nnia Nwodo, to form another group. There is no such organisation in place of IPOB.
“The fact of the matter is that the Federal Government, in collusion with Igbo governors, is using some individuals to give the impression that IPOB is no more.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Our protests going on all over the world are clear evidence that IPOB is presently enjoying more appeal than at any other time in our history.
“Many more scams like this will be unleashed on the gullible in the coming weeks and months, but we are not perturbed because we have machinery in place to debunk such nonsense as it arises.”