The leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu has told his supporters all over the world that the Biafra declaration will be done in 2020 after the meeting with the UN.
Nnamdi KANU categorically stated that the agreed date for Biafra will be declared is May 30, 2020. He employs all the supporters of the struggle to take note of the date and jointly working together to make the date realistic.
He also promises to run public broadcast concerning this next week.
There has been a recent peaceful protest in the country regarding IPOB. The organization’s leader and a prominent activist named Nnamdi Kanu have been arrested by Nigeria’s Department of State Services on 19 October 2015.
In response to his arrest, there has been a group of pro-Biafran protesters who have been leading marches in eastern parts of Nigeria to push for his release. His arrest has pushed IPOB supporters into gaining further traction, as their mobilization grew].
There have been many protesters and police clashes; on 2 December 2015, nine protesters and two policemen were killed at a protest in Onitsha, Anambra state. Since that date, there have been several protesters who have been reportedly killed by policemen in Aba, Onitsha, Enugu, and Umuhahia. The cause in rising protests is attributed to the claimed political disenfranchisement among the Igbo people and much trauma that continues as an effect of the Nigerian civil war.
IPOB supporters have cited historical events such as the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, and Britain’s vote to exit the European Union as proof of international support for “self-determination.” According to many sources, Donald Trump’s victory provides hope for the IPOB group in their ability to secede from Nigeria. Trump’s political interests are in line with supporting Biafra, because of oil pursuits. U.S oil company outputs in Nigeria have been cut by militants in the Niger Delta who have been continually attacking pipelines.
Therefore, IPOB figures contend that it is within the United State’s economic interest to support the Biafran secessionist movement due to agitations in the region. However, as of yet Trump has made no public statement in support of Biafran self-determination.
The pro-Biafran protesters are calling for the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu and other Biafran activists that have been jailed. Most importantly they want an independence referendum to have a date set by the government.
The editor of pro-Biafran media outlet ‘Voice of Biafra’ Nnabuike Nnadede stated that the Igbo people suffer from a lack of resources and investment from the Nigerian government. The main reason for their protests is because they want the opportunity to vote for independence.
State response and treatment
The Federal High Court in Abuja has labeled the IPOB as a terrorist organization on 18 September 2017.
The IPOB has fought against this proscription and sought to reverse the court’s decision in 2018[.
However, their attempt has ultimately been unsuccessful, and they continue to be declared as terrorist organizations under Nigeria’s Terrorism Act.
According to sources, the Nigerian State has utilized violent and excessive police force in order to silence pro-Biafran movements. This police violence has been ongoing from 2014, first targeting MASSOB and IPOB after its formation.
In 2008, MASSOB claimed that 2,020 of their members had been massacred and extra-judicially killed by the state. Amnesty International released a report detailing that countless IPOB protesters were killed between the 39th through 30th of May 2016 during a governmental operation wanting to prevent IPOB members marching from Nkpor motor park to a rally[.
The Nigerian army claims that they were acting in self-defense and that the death count lies at five instead of fifty. These killings have not been investigated by Nigeria, despite urgings from Amnesty International.
Human rights organizations have been keeping records of extrajudicial killings in Biafra. They claim that from August 2015 through February 2016, 170 unarmed civilians were killed and that 400 were arrested, charged or detained without a proper trial.
Kanu’s trial and detention
The leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu has failed to appear in court since April 25, 2017, to answer the charges against him by the federal government. He had previously been detained without trial for over a year and was arraigned on November 8, 2016, for charges of criminal conspiracy, membership of an illegal organization and intimidation]. He was granted bail in April 2017 because of health concerns that the judge said needed better medical attention that couldn’t be provided by the prison.
However, he was barred from granting interviews, meeting in groups larger than ten individuals, organizing and attending rallies or social functions Kanu disappeared after September 2017 after a premeditated attack on his home village, Umuahia by the combined forces of the Airforce and Army. Through a Radio Biafra broadcast, he explains that his disappearance is because President Muhammdu Buhari sent the military to execute him in his home]. The military denies the occurrence of this raid, despite obvious video footage of the gruesome attack. There has been speculation that Kanu had fled to Israel for safety after a Facebook live stream video depicted an individual resembling Kanu praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem[.
The Israeli foreign ministry stated that Israel cannot confirm this allegation as they do not have any evidence of Kanu in the country. Now, the court has revoked the bail of Kanu and the trial judge Binta Nyako has ordered the immediate arrest of Kanu and stated that his treasonable felony will proceed despite his absence