Threats by both the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) had put paid to the visit of President Mohammadu Buhari to Anambra State.
IPOB and MASSOB warned the President not to set foot on the soil of South East.
Organisers of the South East Economic and Security Summit (SEESS), waited in vain for the arrival of Buhari, who was supposed to declare the event open.
There was no sign that the President was going to be around hours into the expected commencement of the programme, in spite of the elaborate preparations and high expectations.
Mr. Tony Usidamen, the media consultant to the summit, had in a statement last week assured that the President would lead other eminent Nigerians to attend the event, as part of his desire to demonstrate his interest in maintaining peace and fostering economic growth and development in the South-East and other regions.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will lead other eminent personalities and delegates to attend the maiden summit holding at the Enugu State Government House.
“Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and all governors in the region as well as several eminent personalities and delegates will be in attendance to discuss issues of common interest.”
IPOB and MASSOB members cited the killing of their members by soldiers at his instance and the continued detention of the IPOB leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as reasons for their action.
“It is crystal clear that Buhari is not welcome in Biafra land because his coming is tantamount to biting off our nose to spite our face.”
“Therefore, we warn Muhammadu Buhari to stay away from Biafra land to avoid unpleasant consequences on him and those inviting him. To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” IPOB said.
To show their seriousness, the IPOB members, had gone on several demonstrations, and threatened to storm the venue of the event, should Buhari dare them.
They hoisted Biafra flags and took to the streets in Enugu chanting Biafra and warning that the president should not set foot in the state, and threatening dire consequences for those who invited him.
It is not known whether the President’s decision to stay away, as he did when a similar threat was issued by Niger Delta militants earlier in the year, when a similar planned visit, was as a result of the threat or he decided to shun the event for other reasons.
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who was supposed to be in the company of the President, was however in attendance at the event, while no explanation was given for Buhari’s absence.