- Ezeife, Ezeonwuka, Clerics Sues For Peace
Association of Igbo Youths(AIYO) have alleged that leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazurike and his cohorts murdered eighteen of their members for failing to return back to MASOB. They alleged that the eighteen murdered youths are among the thousands who resigned from MASSOB when it was obvious that Uwazurike have turned the separatist outfit into money spinning Business Empire. They asked MASSOB to stop all violent activities in Anambra State or face the music.
This was contained in a petition addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 9, Umuahia, submitted on the 1st of November, 2013. The group alleged in their petition signed by their National Coordinator, Comrade Chukwuemeka James Ugah and Anambra State Coordinator, Mr Odinikpo Ananwude that;
1. That they were former members of MASSOB who worked very closely with Chief Raph Uwazurike and therefore knows him very well.
2. That Chief Raph Uwazurike misled them with the falsehood, that within few months or years Biafra will be a sovereign state, where all their sufferings in Nigeria will be a thing of the past.
3. That Chief Raph Uwazurike instead of actualizing Biafra swindled Ndi-Igbo Millions of Naira. In 2007, those of them who found out that MASSOB is a farce formed AIYO and registered same with CAC.
4. That Chief Raph Uwazurike uses MASSOB to dupe politicians and unsuspecting members of the public, and that evidence is legion.
5 That when they confronted Chief Raph Uwaurike following inexplicable sufferings, he dismissed them with the statement that MASSOB is for himself and members of Chief Ralph Uwazurike’s family and that they should go and form their own organization.
6. That many members of MASSOB who died during one MASSOB activity or another particularly 2003 and 2006, are still in mortuaries,-particularly Owerri Rd Mortuary, Onitsha.
7 That Chief Raph Uwazurike boasts that he is above the law in Nigeria and that no person or government can question him for any reason, even if he kills or orders the killing of anybody.
8 That on the 14th of July 2013, members of MASSOB on the orders of Chief Ralph Uwazurike attacked and killed about 18 members of AIYO because they refused to return back to MASSOB
9 That Chief Raph Uwazurike and his cohorts on several occasions violently infringed on their fundamental human rights (freedom of association) by forcing them violently to become MASSOB members even inflicting injuries on them, while illegally detaining them.
In the same vein, the Assistant National Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Barrister Emejulu Okpalaukwu had also alleged that Chief Ralph Uwazurike had ordered his abduction to the MASSOB Headquarters Okwe. In a follow-up petition addressed to the AIG Zone 9 and the Governors of Abia and Anambra States, Okpalaukwu alleged that Uwazurike was after his life for assisting AIYO present a paper under which the group streamlined Igbo interests on October 30th at Umuahia to the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue. Those who signed the second petition with Okpalaukwu and whose lives were allegedly threatened include Messres Ogugua Iweka, Ifeanyi Ojadi, John Nweke and Anthony Ifediora.
Reacting to the issue, the Enugu State Chairman of National Youth Council, Mr Temple Chinedu Chika, described the situation as unfortunate. According to Mr Temple, nobody should take another person’s life for failing to belong to an organization. He told concerned clerics that “MASSOB is outliving its usefulness and Uwazurike cannot claim to be fighting for Igbo cause when the Igbos are yet to sit down and articulate the cause and mandate him to fight it.” According to Mr Temple “running around Abuja to curry favour is not the same as fighting Igbo cause and therefore, Uwazurike or any other person cannot represent Ndigbo without the consent of Igbos”.
Another founding member of MASSOB who had fallen out with Uwazurike, and owner of popular Rojenny Centre Obah, Chief Remmy Ezeonwuka has described the threat to life of ex-MASSOB members as unfortunate. Chief Ezeonwuka described Uwazurike as a person who turned the MASSOB dream into a business empire and they left the outfit to him. He expressed sadness that the dreams of the group has been destroyed by selfish attitude and opined that “we will not tolerate any further loss of life of former MASSOB members under any guise, Our late leader Odumegwu Ojukwu will be definitely sad that MASSOB ideals is being betrayed” .
Discussing the issue with groups of clerics led by Rev Obinna Akukwe, the former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife sued for peace between MASSOB and AIYO. According to the former Governor, “though Uwazzurike has his excesses, we cannot afford to wash dirty linen in public, I have offered to broker peace between the groups to avoid further bloodshed, the groups appear to fight part of Igbo cause and any misunderstanding must be settled”. Ezeife appealed to people not to take laws into their hands and asked both MASSOB and the aggrieved to show restraint. He asked the clerics to look into the spirit and tell them what God is saying concerning the Igbo nation.
A chieftain of MASSOB residing at Onitsha who pleaded anonymity has describe the AIYO as groups of ruffians, hemp smokers and jobless persons whose activities are inimical to the ideals of MASSOB. He pledged unflinching loyalty to the leadership of Uwazurike which he described as visionary and focused and asked the runaway MASSOB members to return to the fold or shut up.
The General Assembly of all Igbo Christian organizations and Ministers (GAAICOM) have asked all feuding parties to avoid further fracas and await intervention by concerned elders. The group mandated its Director of Media and Publicity, Rev Obinna Akukwe, to liaise with the leadership of Ohanaeze to ensure that peace returns and Igbo youths do not fight each other when other tribes are preparing for national dialogue. The General Coordinator of the group, Apostle Dr PCJ Macjossy told the clerics that if Igbo Youths cannot resolve simple differences, then there is no hope for future generations of Ndigbo.