#Biafran Struggle Lives on……The songs for self-determination by a particular region amongst the configuring regions within the Nigerian Geographical Expression was first heard after the first military coup was witnessed by the country in January 1966 and ever since embers of flames of war, separatism and agitation for self-determination has become a synonymous tool used by some to push different types of region political agenda and desires.
Be it Biafra and struggle and most recently the Yoruba Nation agitation, the question is when did it all actually start and how did it gain momentum, that has now become a regular tune within the halls of Nigeria politics.
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In this article we’ve taken it upon ourselves to sequential give a brief breakdown of the Timeline of the Biafra struggle till date noting mostly famous events related to struggle;
- January 1966 – Nigerian government was overthrown in what was called the “Igbo Coup”, led mostly by junior Nigerian Army Officers.
- January 1966 – Lt Col. Chukuma Odumegwu Ojukwu was appointed the Military Governor of the Eastern region
- July 1966 – Second Coup masterminded by Muritala Muhammed, that saw Lt Col Yakubu Gowon emerge as the Head Of State of Nigeria.
- June To October 1966 – Riots in Northern Nigeria where Igbos were targeted, killed, maimed and attacked, that saw over a million Igbos return to the South East.
- May 1967 – Major-General Chukuma Ojukwu declares the Independence of the State Of Biafra seceding from Nigeria
- July 1967 – Nigerian Civil War started
- October 1967 – Biafra Capital at the Time Enugu, falls
- May 1968 – Nigeria captures the Oil-rich region, Port Harcourt
- April 1969 – Umuahia, New Biafra capital falls also the Nigerian forces
- January 1970 – Ojukwu flees Nigeria
- January 1970 – the State of Biafra falls and Nigerian forces take back control of the South East region.
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Fast-forward to the return of Democracy in Nigeria in 1999, the 4th republic, calls for succession and the self-determination of the Biafra nation resurges
- In the early 2000s, MASSOB organized support for Biafra was veterans, alongside strikes and protests.
- IPOB was founded in 2012
In September 2017, the Nigerian military staged an exercise called “Operation Python Dance II”. Publicly this was an intervention against kidnapping, which had at the time become prevalent in South-Eastern states. Though to South-Easterners, it was perceived as an attempt to suppress the rising Biafra agitation. Under the aegis of the “Operation python dance,” the police and soldiers suppressed and arrested activists & those suspected to be sympathizers of the IPOB cause.
- Also In 2017, the Government of President Muhammad Buhari deemed the IPOB a terrorist group and was proscribed.
- In 2020, The IPOB established its own vigilante group meant to maintain peace and security in the South East with the name “Eastern Security Network (ESN)”.
- On June 27, 2021, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya by Interpol and immediately extradited back to Nigeria, where he is to stand trial, after jumping bail and leaving the country in 2018.
- One of Nnamdi Kanu’s most cogent demands since the start of the activities of the IPOB has been a demand for “Referendum”.
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- Nnamdi Kanu after his re-arrest was arraigned in court on the 29th of June 2021, where he told the presiding judge that the Nigerian military was the reason why he jumped bail and had to flee the country back in 2017.
- Since Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest, the IPOB has declared a sit-at-home in the South-East region, every Monday of the week until its leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is released.
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