The leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday announced his group would re-consider its "non-violent" separatist struggle amid military operation in Nigeria's Southeast.
This was contained in a statement reported by Punch Newspapers. Mr. Kanu's lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, however, told PREMIUM TIMES he had been unable get through to Mr. Kanu by phone and, so, could not confirm the statement reported to have been personally signed by the IPOB leader.
"On Friday the 15th of September 2017, the leadership of IPOB through the instrumentality of the Directorate of State (DOS) headquartered in Germany, will be meeting to vote on the viability or otherwise of continuing our struggle in this non-violent manner," Mr. Kanu was quoted as saying.
"There is urgent need to begin the process of defending ourselves in the face of relentless murderous attacks from the Nigerian state," he added.
There is tension in the South-east, especially Abia State, Mr. Kanu's home state, where the Nigerian Army commenced Operation Python Dance 2 on Sunday.
Mr. Kanu announced he would break talks with the South-eastern governors, claiming he had uncovered an alleged assassination plan by the Nigerian military on his way to the meeting scheduled for Friday.
He and the governors had met in Enugu on August 30 for talks to mitigate tension in the region.
Another meeting was slated for Friday.
But Mr. Kanu said he would not be available for the coming meeting. Apart from the alleged planned assassination, he said was busy attending to those "injured and bereaved" following the military operation.
He also said the schedule clashed with the meeting to review his group's policy of non-violence.
"In view of the concerted effort by the oppressive Nigerian state to shatter the peace and tranquillity of the South-East and the rest of Biafraland through military intimidation, it has become necessary for me to clarify why, regrettably, I may not be able to attend Friday's meeting with the South-East governors as earlier agreed, for three main reasons.
"We are currently busy attending to our dead and injured from this latest round of unprovoked military onslaught against innocent civilians in our own land. All the casualties so far were shot by men of the Nigerian Army deployed to my house and those stationed along motor ways leading into Umuahia my hometown.
"I have been reliably informed also, that a detachment of ... soldiers responsible for the murder of innocent unarmed IPOB family members have now been stationed near Enugu to ambush and assassinate me on my way to the meeting with the governors on Friday," he was reported to have said.