BREAKING: “Military Part Of ‘Unknown Gunmen’”, BnL Leader Alleges…Warns Tinubu He Might Get Abiola TreatmentRidwan Deola by Ridwan Deola

Excl Interview: “Military Part Of ‘Unknown Gunmen’”, BnL Leader Alleges
…Warns Tinubu He Might Get Abiola Treatment
Ridwan Deola by Ridwan Deola

Princewill Chimezie Richards is the Leader of the Biafra Nations League (BnL), a secessionist group pushing to actualise the Republic of Biafra, which includes the Bakassi Peninsula, a region that was ceded to Cameroon by the Nigerian federal government following an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling.

Richards is the son of a prominent monarch in Rivers, Late Eze Richard O Ekegbu, KSC, Eze Ndigbo of Oyigbo (also called Obigbo), in the South-South state.

In the course of fronting the Biafra agitation, the BNL Leader has been arrested twice by Nigerian authorities, and – like Nnamdi Kanu, detained leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) – had his time with Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services (DSS).

In this exclusive interview with NEWSBREAK, the separatist leader bares it all as he answers questions on salient issues, ranging from the nefarious activities of the so-called ‘Unknown Gunmen’; a catch-all for the criminal gangs carrying out frequent bouts of attacks on southeast residents; to the forthcoming 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

NEWSBREAK: You seem to still be keenly interested in happenings in Bakassi despite the formal handover of the region by Nigeria to Cameroon in 2006. Why is this so?

Richards: Bakassi is a historic territory, and all the drama leading to the ceding of the area to Cameroon was against the interest of Biafra.

Remember there was Maroua Agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon before the Greentree Agreement, that first agreement saw the defeat of Biafra as its main inspiration, because Bakassi was totally under Biafra control during the war (1967 to 1970) when Nigeria moved to align with Cameroon to make the blockade of Biafra effective in the Peninsula being the area items comes into Biafra. Notwithstanding, BnL (founded in 2013) is not asking Cameroon to return Bakassi to Nigeria because we are not pro-Nigerians, but we are a Biafran movement with operational headquarters in Bakassi, and you know the inhabitants are not Cameroonians, they were part of the Eastern Region and defunct Biafra, so we are operating in our territory and we do not recognise the handover. That is why we know no borders; we operate everywhere in the Peninsula.
We only clash with Cameroon when they confront us.

NEWSBREAK: Biafra campaign is a ceaseless agitation. Kanu bragged it’ll be achieved in 2020; it didn’t come to pass. Now, Simon Ekpa, the diaspora-based factional leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is also boasting that it will be achieved this year (2023). When do you see a Biafra nation being realised?

Richards: In ‘freedom fighting’, you must have the confidence that you’re heading to victory. If you are a freedom fighter, your spirit must be high.

Odumegwu Ojukwu (of blessed memory) also boasted that Biafra will succeed — and he succeeded if not for sabotage, we were completely a country in 1967. So if Kanu said Biafra will come in 2020 and it didn’t, it doesn’t mean that all hope has been lost. Ekpa is not Kanu, he knows his capacity before he said Biafra will be realised this 2023.

If there is no sabotage and revolt by some of our people who are afraid, why shouldn’t we get Biafra this year? I want Biafra even today, not in another 20 years.

NEWSBREAK: Do you endorse the activities of the ‘Black Marine’?

Richards: Of course, I endorse their activities. They are in line with what we are doing; only that their mode of operation differs from the rest of the Biafra groups because they are on the violent side.

NEWSBREAK: Some so-called ‘Unknown Gunmen’ have been unleashing terror on innocent southeast residents and security agents. They have also been destroying government facilities and are involved in kidnappings. What is your suggestion on how to eradicate the menace?

Richards: Some police officers and military men are part of ‘Unknown Gunmen’. Some evil politicians also have their gunmen which they are sponsoring, and you know this is a political period, a lot of bandits, some of them use the name of Biafra to perpetrate crimes.

Insecurity in the Southeast can be tackled by setting up local vigilantes. If you rely on the police and Army alone, you are wasting [your] time; they are linked to those bandits.

NEWSBREAK [Cuts in]: But we’ve seen cases of vigilante operatives losing their lives during confrontation with the assailants, e.g the recent attack on the headquarters of Ihiala Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State.

If it were to be the police, they will not even confront them. They will wait until everything is calm before they show up.

Before you become a member of the vigilante, you should bear in mind that you are there to make the supreme sacrifice.

The gunmen will think twice and won’t near [sic] that area where they were heavily resisted.

NEWSBREAK: Ekpa and his Autopilot faction of the banned IPOB have been linked to the activities of the ‘Unknown Gunmen’. Ekpa says “no election in Igboland”, a position absolutely shared by the ‘Unknown Gunmen’.

Ekpa orders people to sit at home and directs that violators face “hot” consequences; ‘Unknown Gunmen’ brutally enforce Ekpa’s order. Considering you announced an alliance with Ekpa last year (2022), don’t you view his actions as anti-people?

Richards: It might be that some of the ‘Unknown Gunmen’ are supporting Ekpa, just as we have the ‘Black Marine’ that came out to say they are an armed wing of BnL, but that doesn’t mean that I am the one sponsoring them. When something happens, you get a lot of volunteers.

And in addition, I don’t view his (Ekpa) actions as anti-people. So far, he is talking about Biafra freedom, maybe his approach might be favourable to the people, and of course, in freedom fighting, you can never get 100% support from your people, and no nation got independence on a platter of gold.

NEWSBREAK: Bola Tinubu (All Progressives Congress, APC), Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP), Peter Obi (Labour Party, LP), Rabiu Kwankwaso (New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP), who do you see emerging as Nigeria’s next president, and who do you support?

Richards: I don’t support any of them. Whoever wins will focus on himself and his family. Nigeria can never be better. That is why I don’t believe that an Igbo man can change Nigeria because even if Peter wins, the North has an overwhelming majority to frustrate him.

I learnt from what happened to former president Goodluck Jonathan. Those supporting Peter Obi only want to try luck [sic].

Tinubu himself might get an MKO Abiola treatment (Late Abiola is the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election which was annulled by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB).

If they don’t rig it, Atiku will defeat them, unless the ruling party (APC) decides to cede power to the West.

NEWSBREAK: As the 2023 elections draw near, what is your message to people?

Richards: My message to the people is not to go and start fighting for politicians. They settle in a twinkle of an eye while you sustain injury or even die in the cause of defending them. I have never voted in elections and won’t preach to people to go and vote.

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Simon Ekpa

Simon Ekpa LL.M (Master of Laws) is a human rights activist, CEO, senior legal advisor at Ekpa & Co Oy, legal researcher, author, analyst, Finnish politician, Biafra agitator and a Finnish Military reserve.
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