By Harba Ali
The Separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) continues to seek relevance. But seeking relevance does not make it relevant. The group’s latest move is yet another demonstration of its hunger and thirst for relevance. This time, IPOB wants to regulate cattle business and cow meat consumption in the Southeast.
A statement by the group’s Head of Directorate of State (DOS), Mazi Chika Edoziem, banned the rearing and consumption of “Fulani cows” in the Southeast states, saying that the ban would take full effect six months after the announcement.
According to him, “from that date no more Fulani cows shall be allowed into Biafra land for any reason, not for burials, title taking, weddings, etc.” He added that only cows bred in the territory would from that time on “be consumed and used for all ceremonies in Biafra land.”
This is a new high in the group’s quest for relevance. It is also a new low in its desperation for control of what it calls “Biafra land.” The Southeast geopolitical zone, which IPOB seeks to control, is made up of five states: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states.
The group’s ban on “Fulani cows” is nothing but an opportunistic move in the context of farmer-herder conflicts in the region. IPOB is merely taking advantage of the conflicts between Igbo farmers and Fulani herders to launch this self-serving operation.
It is unclear how the group intends to enforce this ban in the five states. It already has a bad record when it comes to enforcing its bad ideas. In September, for instance, enforcers of IPOB’s sit-at-home order disrupted the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in many parts of the Southeast. Many secondary school students who were writing the school leaving exam were affected. The disruption of the examination was condemnable.
This disruption happened despite the fact that IPOB had reviewed its sit-at-home order , saying that the so-called Ghost Monday would no longer be every Monday but only when its detained leader ,Nnamdi Kanu, makes a court appearance. IPOB has no business issuing sit-at-home orders in the first place. It is operating unlawfully.
In another instance of IPOB’s lawlessness, it had launched the Eastern Security Network (ESN), which it described as “a vigilance group, established to protect Biafrans against terrorists.” It declared that “any other group parading as a South-East and South-South security outfit will not be allowed to operate on Biafra soil.” Obviously, since it is not a recognized group, its security outfit cannot be a recognized organization.
The group’s move to regulate cattle business and cow meat consumption in the Southeast is yet another expression of its lawlessness. But it cannot achieve relevance through lawlessness.