Following the recent ceasefire by the Boko Haram Islamic sect, the Ezeigbo Gburugburu and leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has said Ndigbo will not be in a hurry to return to the North.
Chief Uwazuruike, who had sent buses to some of the troubled states in the North to evacuate women and children, said he will not be in a hurry to ask his people to go back to states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said if at all bombings in some northern parts of the country have come to an end as claimed by the Islamic sect, there will be sufficient time for Ndigbo to study the security situation in the country as well as understand the security of Ndigbo.
He, however, said the Igbo returnees, who were mainly women and children evacuated from the troubled northern states, had painted gory pictures of their ordeals in the hands of the Boko Haram.
“The second batch of the 152 returnees were evacuated when the bombings became very unbearable and our people were being slaughtered here and there, and my action as Igbo leader was to bring our people home, especially the defenceless women and children.
“They painted the picture of carnages recorded in the different parts of the North, especially Kano, which has been sitting on a keg of gunpowder and has been the major target of the Islamic sect. Now, these people have reunited with their relatives and are doing well in Igboland. So we shall monitor the ceasefire and know what they are talking about.”
Chief Uwazuruike added that the recent condition by Boko Haram for ceasefire will not deter him from taking wise decision that would guarantee the security of Ndigbo in every part of the country.
“As it stands now, nobody knows which of the Boko Haram wants ceasefire, and any decision I take today to ask these people, who are already mixing up and doing well with our people here, must be well scrutinized to avert any plan to lure them back for continued massacre,” he said.
One of the returnees, who spoke with Sunday Sun, Mrs. Blessing Aniekwe, from Mbaitolu in Imo State, dismissed the possibility of returning to Kano, where she was living with her family before they were evacuated.
According to Mrs. Aniekwe, a widow and petty trader in one of the markets in Kano, the security of Ndigbo at a time became a very expensive thing as the hoodlums were going round different compounds, killing and maiming defenseless Ndigbo, including women and children, adding that nothing will ever make her return to the North.
She said: “It is only a person that did not witness what happened in Kano that can say he or she would return there because of a mere proposal of ceasefire. You don’t know these people. They hate Ndigbo a lot. I may be a plot to lure us back and finish us.”
Mrs. Aniekwe painted the picture of an Igbo family of four that was wiped out in a day by the Almajiris, who concealed a bomb in a cellophane bag and put it under the vehicle of the head of the family.
The family had prepared to leave Kano for the East.
Aniekwe said she will not weep for any person killed in any part of the North by members of the Boko Haram, if they returned.
She said: “If I tell you what I saw in Kano, I am sure it will spark off riot here in Onitsha, because at a time we noticed that even your newspaper began to douse the tension because if your paper had reported the whole thing as it happened, my brother, there will be no peace in Nigeria.
“And you people have started again to ask if we are willing to go back there.
“Anybody that wants to go is free to do so, but I will not cry for any Igbo killed in the North.”
Also reacting, another returnee, Mrs. Pricilla Nekwa, from Mbaitolu, Imo State, called on the Igbo leadership to help some women and children trapped in different parts of Kano and other parts of the North to come home instead of talking about going back.
Nekwa said: “When we heard about the free bus, many of us trooped out from different locations to board this luxury bus, but because of the number, it could not accommodate everybody at that time. Even I had to drop two of my children, but I later brought them home.
“So, it is no longer an issue of returning to Kano.”
Yet another returnee, Mrs. Elizabeth Echeta, said: “I am from Owerri, I lived at No. 2, Stadium Road, which is very close to Bombai (Kano), the place they threw the first bomb. I was sick on that day and remained indoors until I heard the sound of explosion and people living in the compound started running for help, but what they, Hausa people, did was to wait for anybody to come out and they slaughtered him. Many people were slaughtered that day. Even Almajiris, who loved to watch Ndigbo being killed, were also affected by that bomb.
“I have been living there for more than 20 years and I watched them slaughter a pregnant woman. They opened her womb, removed the baby and cut the baby’s head and killed the woman on the spot. So, my experience in Kano is that of horror and I don’t always like to recount it, please. I am like a useless person here, because I am stranded and confused and many of our people are still stranded in Kano.
We couldn’t go out of our homes for fear of attack and some of us returned with nothing. I have to start all over again from the scratch.” However, she commended the leadership of MASSOB for its intervention, stating that they have proved to be their brother’s keeper.
“If not for MASSOB, it wouldn’t have been possible for us to leave Kano. Other states had evacuated their people after the Kano attacks.”