Years after the civil war that left over 3.5 million massacred and starved to death in Nigeria’s eastern region, the giant African country is still struggling to quell the struggle to achieve an independent state of Biafra.
Efforts to stop the Biafra movement have seen at least 1,500 members of the main separatist group – the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), dead and many incarcerated since 2015.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB who thinks Nigeria is better divided, still insists “Biafra will be free no matter the cost” despite the death of his parents following a military raid at his home in Umuahia.
In 2017, the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari – a Muslim, declared IPOB, “a terrorist organization”, a move to stifle the quest for Biafra which met with disagreement from the international community such as the United States which has declared the group to be “non-violent”.
Since 2018, the Nigerian government has requested that Mr. Kanu, who is in exile, be extradited to Nigeria to face charges of alleged treasonable felony.
Today in Nigeria, anyone suspected of being a member of the separatist group is either arrested or shot dead by government forces rampaging the east of the country.
“The soldiers are now raiding homes in search of those who support Nnamdi Kanu and Biafra. Here in my residence they killed so many young people,” Mr. Promise Ofor, a trader told Gazette Africa as she sat next to the foodstuffs she sells in a popular market in Rivers State.
“They harass people on the road every morning and evening, we do not sleep peacefully at night because of the shooting by the soldiers,” she concluded.
In Imo State, Chief Ekeke whose son is still missing after being taken away by soldiers since 2019 is praying for his son to return.
“I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, but I pray that Uchenna will come back someday,” he said.
Chief Thompson Nwagbara of Abia State believes that the use of force will not stifle the quest for Biafra. “The government is only making the situation worse. The more force you use against these peaceful agitators, the angrier they get and this will worsen the situation ”.
Nigerian govt disobeying a court order preventing it from persecuting IPOB members
UMUAHIA — Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, said the Nigerian government has yet to obey a ruling by a continental court which he says has prevented the government from arresting and persecuting members of the separatist group.
According to the rights activist, the continental court issued the order in March 2018.
“Do you know that in March 2018, a continental court restrained the Nigerian government from further arrests & prosecutions of members of #IPOB, including my humble self,” Kanu said in a tweet Thursday.
“Till date, Nigerian government is yet to obey that Order & has even resorted to extrajudicial killings”.
In addition to hundreds of deaths since 2015, government forces are still pursuing members of the separatist group that seeks an independent state known as Biafra.
At least 48 civilians who government forces say support the separatist movement have been killed since November 2020.
Nigeria calls Biafra government announced by an ex-militant ‘a joke’
ABUJA — The Nigerian government has mocked the Biafra government declared by Asari Dokubo, a former militant who announced himself as the leader of the new government.
Dokubo, a former Niger-Delta militant and pipeline guard, had announced over the weekend the birth of the ‘Biafra defacto Customary Government (BCG)’ in the former eastern region of the country.
Injustice against the people in Nigeria’s Biafra region prompted the formation of the new government, said the group’s spokesperson, Uche Mefor, a former deputy for Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra— a separatist group struggling for the emergence of the Republic of Biafra.
“I am sure you have heard of the theatre of the absurd, that is the best way I can describe it,” Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, told reporters in Lagos on Monday.
“If Asari Dokubo wants to form and run a fathom government, I think he is free to do so. This administration will not be distracted because we still have a lot to do.
“We are not ready to give any attention or time to a joker like Dokubo who is just looking for attention. We will just take it as one of these entertainment things.
“The beauty about Nigeria is that it is never a dull country, you must have one thing or the other to entertain you”.
Biafra: DSS and soldiers intensify hunt for IPOB members in Imo
OWERRI — The army and the Department of State Services, have stepped up the hunt for members of the separatist group – the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in Imo state, southeast Nigeria.
Locals complains that government forces are setting up checkpoints in the town of Owerri, where they arrest people they suspect are pro-Biafra and members of the separatist group.
“They are using the previously arrested IPOB members to identify and abduct other people,” a native said.
Government forces carried out airstrikes last month in parts of Orlu during a hunt for local defense members known as the Eastern Security Network (ESN) who chase armed and violent Fulani herders away from the eastern region.
Some houses and shops were razed to the ground by airstrikes and the soldiers who carried out the raid in February, and they reportedly lost two soldiers in a shootout with the local vigilante.
Some Christian clerics are currently being held by government forces who accuse them of supporting and harboring members of IPOB and ESN.
The government had ordered a crackdown on IPOB members and their activities, after alleging that the group was a terrorist group, a claim that met strong disagreement from Nigerians and members of the international community.
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