By Promise Eze
My heart was broken to smithereens when I read of how a 21-year-old Sule Mathew was horrendously despatched by unknown gunmen last week in Anambra state.
Sule Matthew graduated with a first-class from the Faculty of Communication, Bayero University, Kano, recently. The young man was on his way to participate in the forthcoming orientation programme of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) when he and other passengers were ambushed and butchered by unknown assailants.
It was reported that he lost his father a few months ago, but now his family has lost him. I think of the grief his mother would go through. I think of the agony and despair the bereaved family he left behind will suffer.
The young man had so much potential and could have done more for his country if allowed to live. I followed his Facebook page and it became glaringly clear that Igala land and Kogi state has lost a great individual, one who was ready to contribute positively to the development of his homeland. I saw that he was a fellow of a budding political movement, Gidan Yanci and also he was the cofounder of KogiYupp— a project that offers Kogi youth a chance to be involved in progressive political participation. But the young man was forced to wilt before he even bloomed.
He travelled to eastern Nigeria in a car, and he would return in a coffin. No thanks to the so-called unknown gunmen (UGM) who are responsible for his demise. UGM, a product of IPOB’s agitation for Biafra, came into the limelight in 2020. Their own way of demanding a new country is by attacking police stations, military checkpoints, and paramilitary officers.
UNG suddenly became worse than the ‘evil’ they were fighting. These mkpuru mmiri addicts now armed with guns colonized a once peaceful movement for a referendum and transformed it into an all-out war with the Nigerian government. Now, they’ve murdered a young man who has no business with whatever is going on in Eastern Nigeria. His only crime was going to serve his country.
It pains me that Sule was killed for nothing. It hasn’t been confirmed if ‘IPOB’s Unknown gunmen’ are responsible for the attack that led to his death, but we know that IPOB’s activities created a dark hole that armed robbers, hard drug users, kidnappers and cultists are fitting into. Now, anyone could carry out any attack and use the insignia of IPOB to cover his crime. This brings the question, ‘Is Biafra still worth fighting for?’
Ever since the resurgence of the call of Biafra, it’s been bloodshed after bloodshed. Chaos after chaos. Gunshots after gunshots. Igbo land which was known to be relatively peaceful is now a war zone. What kind of Biafra are IPOB and UGM clamouring for that demands so much blood? The blood of the innocent. The blood of Sule Matthew. The blood of the passengers who were killed too. If this is what Biafra entails then I do not want it to exist.
And I believe that the vast majority of Ndi Igbo would swear that they rather remain with Nigeria than involve themselves with this kind of Biafra—a Biafra where we all have to sleep with only one of our eyes closed.
Biafra died inside me the day I learnt about the death of Sule. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Promise Eze is a journalist and writes via firstname.lastname@example.org.