Biafra struggle ruins family: Father killed, son hunted by police, mother, children forced into hiding

Posted by Nelson Dafe. | 10 August 2017 | 1,533 times

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•Exiled Biafra activist Michael Ikenna Isiani

Its three years now since members of the Igbo secessionist group Biafra Zionist Federation (BZM) failed in a reported attempt to take over Enugu Broadcasting Service Television house. Around 5:30 a.m. on June 5, 2014, youths of the group invaded the studio with a recorded compact disc which allegedly contained an announcement of the secession of the Biafran Nation. This was after the members of the movement were reported to have taken over the Enugu legislature earlier in March of that year.

They were said to have ordered the staff to allow them make a live broadcast. The broadcasters refused and alerted the police.

A police officer was sent to the location to contain the situation, but was shot and killed by members of the group who also lost one of their members who was killed by the police.

After arresting the members, Adamu Mohammed, the then Enugu State Commissioner of Police, told journalists the group had planned to set the station on fire and said they came with a compact disc to “make a live broadcast to Nigerians”.

Mohammed also claimed that a paper with written words by the group, stated they wanted the youths to “come out” and fight for their rights.

The police declared some of the members of the Benjamin Onwuka-led BZF wanted for their acts on that day.

One of the members of the BZF who are wanted by the police is Michael Ikenna Isiani. His father, Malachy Isiani, was a leading figure in the BZF and they both were at the radio house when police stormed the place to dislodge the group on that day. Ikenna and his dad narrowly made an escape from the scene as a member of BZF group was being gunned down to death while a number of them were injured.

News Express gathered from a source that the ordeal did not end on that day. “Following the ugly incident, policemen began a manhunt for the members of the BZF. Their leader as well as other members were arrested. Malachy Isiani was killed later that same day in mysterious circumstances by some gunmen who the family suspect were state security agents. Ikenna however managed to evade the men as they were hell-bent on picking him up,” our source said.

Evading the police came with an added disastrous consequence for Ikenna. On that same day when the suspected security men stormed his Enugu residence where he was living with his family, including his mother Mrs Grace Isiani and sister Glory Isiani, he mistakenly knocked down an old woman as he sped away from his gate on sighting gun-totting policemen who pointed their guns on him. The frail woman later died, leaving him facing a double trouble from the government and family members of the old woman.

Since that incident, the family of the woman has been making threats to kill Isiani and his family because they wouldn’t, for some reasons, believe her death was not premeditated.

Isiani has reportedly fled the country, while his sister has also left Enugu for an unknown place.

“His fight was simply for the freedom of his people. He’s not a dangerous individual who would want to do anyone harm. Like others in BZF all he wanted was freedom for the Igbo people from the oppression that they are suffering in Nigeria. Now his family have paid a big prize for their struggle for Igbo freedom. He has lost his dad and he can’t return to this country because he could be incarcerated. The government see people like him as a threat, and the family of the dead woman are vowing a revenge,” our source said.

News Express sought to know why he didn’t give himself up and clear his name in court, but the source simply pointed to the long detention of BZF and other Biafra secessionist groups members without proper trial and added: “The state has already found them guilty and events over the years show they won’t get a fair trial.”

BZF leader Onwuka who was released this year after spending three years behind bars has insisted that no policeman was killed at the radio station by his group.

Meanwhile, mother of Ikenna, Mrs Grace Isiani, has also since fled Enugu and is staying somewhere in Lagos following what she termed harassments from security agents.

“They come to our house and cause us to panic with their constant surveillance. I’m not comfortable staying in Enugu anymore. My children can’t come home. I can’t see my dear children. Its’ so hard for me,” she said.

Source: News Express

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