The Indigenous People Of Biafra is a separatist group/movement from the South-Eastern region of Nigeria which has been very loud in its call for a referendum of secession to leave the Nigerian configuration and set up its own country, the Republic of Biafra.
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Nnamdi Kanu was a relatively obscure figure until 2009 when he started Radio Biafra, a station that called for an independent state for the Igbo people and broadcast to Nigeria from London.
Though he grew up in Nigeria’s South-East and went to the University of Nsukka, Kanu moved to the UK before graduating. Soon after setting up IPOB, he spoke to gatherings of the large Igbos in diaspora, calling for Biafran independence. In some of his comments, he urged Biafrans to take up arms against the Nigerian state. “We need guns and we need bullets,” he said in one of such addresses, and that was what brought him to the attention of Nigeria’s security services.
However, the truth is, decades after the Biafra uprising was quelled by the military, secessionist groups have attracted the support of many young people, and it is beginning to grow exponentially in the regional consciousness of the modern Igbo society.
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Just a week ago during the Biafran War Hero Remembrance, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu called for a 3-day sit-at-home in all of the South East region, and saw massive compliance. This call sparked reactions amongst the constituted authorities in that region, saying Mr. Kanu has no authority nor does IPOB, to make such a call to the general public, and such a call shouldn’t be heeded to.
One of the Governors who kicked back on the call was David Umahi of Ebonyi state, threatening that those who observe the order stand to lose their jobs and their shops. He eventually changed his stance, saying the people could go ahead and celebrate their grandfathers and fathers who all fought gallantly during the Civil War.
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The pictures and reality of the events of the May 31st Sit-At-Home showed that there is a growing acceptance of the IPOB movement. If one man – who holds no governmental position of authority – could have made such call and the 5 South-Eastern States all backed up, heeded, and shut down the entire region completely, then it would be smart for the Nigerian government to be more proactive and look for ways to bring the IPOB agitations into the fold to quell the growing consciousness.
Yes, some will argue that people obeyed the IPOB sit-at-home order in fear of possible attacks and restitution of its members if the order was disobeyed, but the truth is orders and authorities use both fear and love to gain control, acceptance, and recognition.
One Nigeria, One People, One Diverse Government.
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