I spent 10 years in India understudying Gandhi – MASSOB leader, Uwazuruike


Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, said he spent 10 years in India studying Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence approach to achieving sovereignty.

Uwazuruike, who heads the secessionist agitation of the Biafran people, said the people of Eastern Nigeria were tired of the incessant bloodshed of their members across Nigeria, noting that they would not resort to war but rather explore peaceful negotiations to realise their agenda.

The leader, who holds degrees in Political Science from Punjab University, India, and Law from Bombay University, India, said the marginalisation of the people of Eastern extraction made him travelled to India to understudy the approach of one of the world’s foremost non-violent nationalists, Mahatma Gandhi.

Uwazuruike spoke on Saturday on the occasion of this year’s General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation which was held virtually due to travel restrictions imposed to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Founded in 1991, the UNPO is an international membership-based organisation established to empower the voices of unrepresented and marginalised peoples worldwide and to protect their fundamental human rights.

At the General Assembly on Saturday, MASSOB was inducted as a member of the UNPO alongside four others including the Yoruba World Congress headed by elder statesman, Prof Banji Akintoye.

At the event, the MASSOB leader took the Assembly down history lane, “The Northern Oligarchies led by the Hausa/Fulanis want to Islamise Nigeria and want to take over the lands of Southern Nigeria who are predominantly the people of Eastern Nigeria. They took to force and by the killing of our people in all states of Nigeria including the southwest, the tendency is that the lives and property of people are not secured in Nigeria.

“In 1966, there was a plethora of attacks on the people of Eastern Nigeria. All our citizens in the north and even in the western region were slaughtered. The then military governor of Eastern Nigeria, Dim Ojukwu, had to bring together his people to secure their lives and property and in that process declare a Biafran Independence.

“As soon as Ojukwu did that, the entire people of Nigeria joined to fight the people of the eastern states. They barricaded the entire region and starved the region of food. They suffocated the entire region. We lost over 3,000,000 people between 1967 and 1970 when the war ended.

“After the war, the killing of our people continued unabated in Nigeria. There was a ceiling on us and we are excluded from anything governance in Nigeria but the most important one to us is security and safety. By 1999, we were constrained to form the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.

“It was because of this that I had to travel to India to study Mahatma Gandhi who happened to achieve independence for India through non-violence. I spent almost 10 years in India understudying Mahatma Gandhi.

“MASSOB’s motive is to disengage Biafra from Nigeria through non-violence because we are no longer willing to sacrifice the lives of our people in Nigeria.

“We believe that peace is the most important thing in Nigeria and even if we resort to war, many of our members will die and at the end of the day, we must come round the table for peace talks. I feel that instead of resorting to war and coming back to peace, we have to pursue the line of peace without going the war zone. That was the essence of floating MASSOB in 1999. But our people are still being killed in Nigeria.

“I cannot recall how many times I have gone to jail. Our office in Okigwe was burnt by the federal government. The essence of joining the UNPO is to let the world hear our voice and our cries and through the UNPO also, we believe that our rights will be safeguarded.”

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