Thousands of ad hoc workers for the Anambra State governorship election have resigned due to fear of attacks by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), SaharaReporters learnt.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had in May increased the polling units in Anambra State from 4,608 to 5,720 with about 10,000 ad hoc workers required for the governorship poll.
However, despite its declaration of preparedness, many of those who signed up for the role have resigned.
A source said: “INEC is now short of thousands of ad-hoc staff members due to IPOB instructions. Those who initially signed up have now resigned en-masse.”
Meanwhile, there had been a poor response by ad hoc workers who will conduct the poll because of the security situation in the southeast region, particularly with the activities of IPOB.
The group had issued a 12-day ultimatum to the Nigerian Government for the “unconditional release” of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, failure of which the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State may not hold.
IPOB in a statement signed by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, on Sunday, gave the Nigerian Government up till November 4 to release Kanu unconditionally, or it would commence a one-week lockdown in the region effective November 5.
The group explained that the one-week sit-at-home order, which would end on November 10, was to press for the release of their leader whom the Nigerian Government was prepared to keep in incarceration ad infinitum for nothing.
The statement read: “Following the adjournment of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court case to 10th of November 2021 by the Federal High Court, Abuja, we, the great movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), wish to inform Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that IPOB will lock down Biafra land from November 5 to 10 except Sunday, November 7, a day our people worship the Almighty God, Chukwu Okike Abiama, if the Nigeria government fails to release our leader unconditionally before November 4, 2021.
“Our leader, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally on or before November 4, 2021, because he has not committed any offence known to any law. Failure to release our leader on or before November 4, 2021, our one-week sit-at-home begins on November 5, 2021, till November 10.”
The statement continued: “Although we quite understand the pains and adverse effects of this option on our people, we are compelled to take it to achieve a better purpose in the collective interest of Biafrans.
“We have taken time to analyse what transpired on October 21 when our leader was arraigned in court and discovered that the Federal Government is not sincere, and only wants to humiliate him and keep him perpetually in DSS custody to rot there.
“We all saw how lawyers, journalists, Igbo delegates and respected traditional rulers and other people who came from all around the world to witness his court case were restricted and denied access into the court premises by security agents who kept them outside under the scorching heat of the sun. What a humiliation and wickedness!
“We cannot accept that anymore. We can never allow our leader Onyendu Kanu to be tried secretly, and we can never also allow him to be tried under Sharia law under any guise. Nigeria must follow international laws in handling our leader.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is in a DSS dungeon today because of his passion for Biafra’s independence, and we must sacrifice all we can to ensure that he regains his freedom. He has sacrificed so much for us all, so we must be prepared to sacrifice a little for him.
“Unless the Federal Government releases him unconditionally before November 4, we shall sacrifice one week for him as a warning protest to convey to our oppressors, that Nnamdi Kanu represents over 70 million Biafrans.
“He is innocent of all the charges preferred against him. As long as he is in detention, our individual businesses do not matter so much because he is suffering for us all and we can’t abandon him.”
While regretting the inconveniences that the development may cause the people, it stated that it is a “necessary sacrifice we need to make until we have our full independence. Nobody resident in Biafra land is expected to flout this directive as doing so amounts to challenging the will of the people on the Biafra project.
“This one-week sit-at-home is also to let our oppressors understand that we are not going to tolerate any plan to torment or abandon our leader in the DSS’ custody through frivolous court adjournment. Any plans to subject him to trauma in detention through long adjournment while real terrorists and mass murderers are having fun across the country cannot fly.
“Nnamdi Kanu must be freed because he committed no crime. Asking for a referendum so that Biafrans will decide whether or not they want to continue as part of Nigeria is no crime. He should not suffer for seeking justice for his people.
“We have been enslaved and caged enough by the Fulani-controlled Federal Government of Nigeria and its allies. If we shut down Biafra land just for one week to secure our permanent freedom, it is worth the sacrifice. Everybody should brace up for this sacrifice.”