Some Biafra war veterans have threatened a showdown with governors, lawmakers and other well-positioned politicians from the South East geopolitical zone for allegedly abandoning them to their fate since after the war.
The veterans lamented that political leaders of the zone neither thought it wise to rehabilitate them nor liaise with the federal government towards their implementation after they defended them.
Gen. Yakubu Gowon, the then military Head of state and government, had declared that there was no victor and no vanquish in the 30-months old Nigerian/Biafran civil war.
The federal government also announced three R programmes namely, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reintegration. But the war veterans alleged that none of these have been implemented till date.
According to them, the federal government was busy giving preferential treatment to their counterparts in Nigerian side of the war as against their earlier agreement, while the South East leaders abandoned them at Oji River where most of them allegedly died of huger and penury.
The veterans at flag off of a political movement, People’s Restoration Movement (PRM) held in Awka, the Anambra state capital, on Monday, vowed to mobilise against leaders of the geopolitical zone for excluding them from the governance, as well as for not providing them with welfare packages.
Speaking on behalf of the group, the Commander of Veterans in Anambra state, Rtd. Major General Emmanuel Onwuegbuna, said it was appalling that people they fought for including their children that ought to consider their plights abandoned them on getting to power.
“We demand that all the state governors, lawmakers and other political leaders in the zone must come together to rehabilitate us. We fought for them to live. But instead of them to reciprocate the kind gesture by providing us with welfare packages including medical care and shelter, they abandoned us to our fate.
“If after this event we don’t hear from them, we will mobilise our members all over the world to stop them from attaining any political positions. Those coming for second term would be frustrated from winning the election.
“Those contesting for other positions both at the state and national assembly will fail. We will rather support those who can carter for our needs. We have started gathering data of our members. All of us will join force with People’s Restoration Movement (PRM) to vote out any government or political party in power at any level that is against us” he stated.
Also speaking, Major Christian Nwokocha, and Major Anyiam Gabriel, while recalling how they invested their resources and lives into the war, lambasted Nigeria government for allegedly dishonouring her words.
Nwokocha said “We were at the war front fighting with General Chukwuma Nzeogwu and others for Nigeria to be better. Some of us lost our lives at the war. Many lost their children. All we did were for the common goods of our children. All these our governors were kids during the war. We remember how we shielded them from death.
” It is unfortunate that they are only interested on their pockets. We want them to come to our rescue. The three R is not been implemented. Hunger is killing us. Did we fight for them in vain? We want them to come to our rescue now we are alive not when we die they will start honouring us.” On his part, Engr. Anthony Aniebue, Head of Caretaker Committee of People’s Restoration Movement (PRM), commended the veterans for identifying with them, stressing that the movement would fight against injustice and maladministration, including vote buying.
“We will fight against political apathy. We will make sure that vote buying stop because it is why people elect bad leaders. We want to get power back to the people. PRM is an ideological driven political mass movement created to practically engage the public on the need to elect credible and visionary people into political positions and to provoke discussions for autonomous regional government within the Nigerian political cycle.
“It is driven by men and women with higher senses and senses of passion and commitment. As a child of 5 years during the war, I know what my elder brothers, parents and others went through. Those leading us today were tender then. We are going to help them get what belongs to them. The environment rejected them. We want to restore back their hope,” he said.