Condemnations have trailed the threat issued to people of South-east by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu on the sit-at-home order.
Kanu had in a broadcast declared that the sit-at-home will commence 6p.m. on Saturday till 6p.m. on Monday.
He said the order is compulsory and must be obeyed by all the people in the region. He warned that anyone seen outside will be killed.
“From 6p.m. on the 29th, there will be no movement, this is not sit-at-home but no movement. If you are found outside from 6p.m. you are dead,” he said.
Those who reacted on Saturday condemned the threat by Mr Kanu, stating that it was wrong to threaten the lives of the same people he claims to be fighting for their freedom.
Others noted that the exercise is voluntary and warned Mr Kanu to stop using coercion to get the people to comply.
One of them, Augustine Igboji said that by threatening the lives of the people, IPOB is confirming the terrorist tag given to it by the federal government.
He said: “Nnamdi Kanu started as a freedom fighter. His agitation was termed peaceful agitation for actualisation of Biafra. He is often lamenting that the federal government is denying Ndígbo their fundamental human rights. He claimed the ESN was formed to protect the people.
“But today he is threatening death to anybody who flouts the sit-at-home order telling them that it is longer voluntary but compulsory. Telling people not to move around is a denial of their fundamental human rights.
“Threatening them with death or attacks if they flout the order is close to terrorism. And if anybody is attacked on that day, well, let’s pray nothing like that happens.
“But let me just say that Kanu and IPOB are fast descending into an anarchist organisation. Something close to a terrorist group which the federal government branded them some years back.”
Mr Igboji said the IPOB leader risks losing the support of the people if he did not retrace his steps. “You cannot lead people with fear. That is not leadership but slavery,” he said.
“At some point, the people will revolt against you too. Is this how he will lead Biafra if he gets it? By brute force? This is how despots start. I will rather remain in Nigeria than follow such a leader,” he added.
Another person, Emmanuel Nnaemeka, believes that Mr Kanu and IPOB are slowly turning into a monster which may consume the region.
“We are creating a monster that may consume us soon. I listened to Nnamdi Kanu’s threat online and I was shocked. I started wondering what the leadership of Biafra would look like.
“He threatened that his boys would kill anyone that dared to step out of the house that day. Is that how they will rule Biafra? To use gunmen to threaten people into doing everything they say?
“Nigeria may be more peaceful than Biafra with the way these people are going about this thing. Many of us might not see it now but when the time comes, we will all live in fear. God forbid that Biafra will come through people who have the blood of their brothers in their hands. How can we be acting like people without sense?” he said.
A lawyer, Steve Nworie, said Mr Kanu and IPOB failed to take note of the fact that some persons will be on essential duty and need to move around especially journalists and health workers.
He said the ban on movement by Mr Kanu was unacceptable.
He said, “There is a palpable fear across the South-east because of the numerous messages of death by the leader of IPOB against anyone who dares to come out on Monday 31st May, 2021.
“While I will personally obey this stay-at-home order because I am convinced that it is the right thing to do, I am particularly concerned by the blanket coercion deployed by Nnamdi Kanu and his team.
“Certainly, there are so many Igbo sons and daughters who out of no choice of theirs may be forced to be on the road on Monday, how do we justify their deaths when the ‘supreme leader’ has said that not even a rat will be spared alive if it is seen on the road across the South-east?
“How about essential workers whose lines of duty are so essential for the well-being of Ndi Igbo? Do they deserve to die in their line of duties? How about those who are forced out on the road due to unexpected emergencies that are totally beyond them? Do they deserve the death penalty by the Biafra militias?”
Mr Nworie warned Mr Kanu to desist from such threats.
“History is the greatest teacher of mankind and history abounds of leaders who extracted followership by coercion. They never end well. For us to achieve the Biafran project, we must be ready to respect the right to life and property.
“Killing of our own people will never restore Biafra. Sit-at-home is a welcome idea but forcing people to obey the same is unacceptable,” he said.
IPOB has been agitating for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out of Nigeria’s South-east and parts of South-south.
Security officials have been the targets of deadly attacks in Nigeria’s South-east and South-south regions for several weeks.
The facilities belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission in the two geopolitical zones have also been set ablaze in similar attacks.
IPOB has denied accusations that it was responsible for the deadly attacks in the two regions.