From GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka
The Alliance for Igbo Youths (AIY) an umbrella body for Igbo youth organisations in Nigeria has threatened that the country would experience mayhem if the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Ralph Uwazuruike is tried for treason. Uwazuruike, alongside six members of MASSOB had filed an appeal to extricate themselves from an impending treason trial, which was initiated against them by the Federal Government in 2005.
But a five-man panel in the Supreme Court had on Friday 19, 2013 approved a trial for treason for the MASSOB leader and some members and ordered that their trial should commence without delay. Reacting to the judgment, the Secretary General of AIY, Emeka Moneme said if the government goes on with the trial, Igbo youths might have no option than to embark on unending protests.
According to him, “the Federal Government is underestimating the capacity of Igbos to engage in militancy. We want to make them aware of the fact that if they go on with their plans to try Uwazuruike for treason after granting amnesty to Niger Delta militants and planning to do same to the Boko Haram sect that has killed a lot of Nigerians, then we will be left with no choice than to cause mayhem in this country.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Emeka Umeagbalasi described the court pronouncement as a means of oppressing the Igbo nation using the judiciary. He said, “MASSOB is a non violent organisation that has not at any time taken up arms against the Federal Government like other groups such as the Boko Haram sect and the Niger Delta militants had done in the past. Despite the fact that the Boko Haram sect had taken up arms against the country and had even caused the death of thousands of innocent Nigerians, the government is still bent on granting them amnesty even when they are rejecting it. So far, these groups have not been made to face trial.
“Therefore, the decision to try Uwazuruike and members of his group for treason shows the high level of inequality in the country. “The Igbo have suffered the worst form of marginalisation and this ruling is going to further aggravate the situation and cause unrest in the country.” Meanwhile, MASSOB has warned that it will cause mayhem in the country if the life of its leader is threatened.
Speaking to Daily Sun, MASSOB’s Director of Information, Uche Madu said it was unfair that the government sort to grant amnesty to a group responsible for the death of thousands, yet wants to prosecute a group that had carried out its activities in a peaceful manner. “Boko Haram’s activities would be child’s play compared to what MASSOB would do if the government goes on with its plans” he said.