Members of the Biafra Zionist Federation (BZF) have demanded the immediate release of their leader, Benjamin Onwuka and 13 others recently arrested and paraded by the police for allegedly attempting to seize the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) to make declarations on Biafra.
In a statement issued by the Rivers State branch of the BZM and signed by Joseph Okolie, the group revealed that their mission to the Enugu radio station was to peacefully proclaim their freedom and independence from Nigeria.
In the statement entitled: “Why we desire to be out of Nigeria,” the group said it had lost faith in the country following years of neglect and continuous killing of Igbo in some parts of the nation. “Thus, we re-declared Biafra on November 5, 2012, followed it up with the hoisting of Biafra flag at the Enugu Government House on June 5, 2014,” it said.
The BZF condemned what it called “the reckless shooting, arrest and detention of our unmasked and unarmed leader and members.
“We condemn their public dehumanisation and humiliation; the torture, the nakedness and handcuffs of these unmasked and unarmed Biafra freedom fighters, as if they were common criminals.
“We therefore demand the immediate release of our leader, Benjamin Onwuka and other members who were shot at and arrested at ESBS premises in Enugu on June 5, 2014 and detained by the Nigeria Police, Enugu Command in the course of executing their legitimate right to peacefully announce our New Republic of Biafra.
“We are appealing to the international community to urgently grant our request and desires for self-determination and self-governance based on the situation we find ourselves in Nigeria and to accord us full recognition as a sovereign and independent nation to avert another bloodbath in this part of Nigeria.
“When the Biafra venture was aborted on January 15, 1970, we hoped that things would be better for us in Nigeria but after such a long time, we are saddened; thus we re-declared on November 5, 2012 our desires for freedom and independence of a universally recognised new Republic of Biafra because of the same treatments and fate of 1966/67.
“On March 8, 2014 we hoisted our nation’s flag at Enugu Government House, soon to become Biafra’s State House or seat of government. We also posted a banner indicating our intention to pull out of the 1914 Amalgamation.
“And on June 5, 2014 our leader, Ben Onwuka and other members went to a local radio station in Enugu, our capital, to peacefully proclaim our freedom and independence, which was again forcefully, brutally and fatally aborted by Nigerian security forces.”