A former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd) has compared agitation being led by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Ken Saro-Wiwa, late leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).
Akinrinade told Punch that the latter went about his agitation in an intellectual context which attracted sympathy from many Nigerians and the international community.
Ken, writer and environmental activist, was killed alongside his colleagues in 1995 by the Abacha government.
The chieftain of the defunct National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, was reacting to federal government’s handling of the agitation.
He, however, warned that Biafra and other agitators should not be treated as hoodlums.
His words: “It is usually treasonable to take up arms against one’s country – even to have violent demonstrations. But, one must keep asking oneself: why?
“Why would a normal person, especially from the educated class, participate in anything that would be either illegal or dangerous?
“It is not good for us to look at these people (pro-Biafra agitators) as just hoodlums. We know how Isaac Adaka Boro was treated.
“He didn’t have military knowledge. If he did, Nigeria would have been a different place today. So, eventually he died.
“The next charge was led by an intellectual (Ken Saro-Wiwa) and it’s not different from what these boys (pro-Biafra agitators) are doing now and asking for – except that he put his own in a very intellectual context and tried to make us reason with him.
“What did we do? The government hanged him, hoping his ideas would die with him in the noose. That’s where we still are today.
“Therefore, whether Nnamdi Kanu embarked on his agitation the right or the wrong way, the question is: what prompted such agitation?
“Why would anybody keep talking about Biafra after the carnage, the wanton destruction of lives and properties and the psychological trauma brought upon Nigerians, not just people from the East?
“I don’t have the mind to condemn the Indigenous People of Biafra, the (Niger Delta) Avengers, and other groups. Who created the situation for these people to think differently from us?” Akinrinade said.