The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu on Tuesday said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressive Congress (APC) government led to IPOB’s agitation for the Sovereign State of Biafra.
In a paper presented to the European Union (EU) Parliament, made available to newsmen by IPOB’s Deputy Leader, Uche Mefor, Nnamdi Kani alleged that the ill-treatment being meted on Igbo people by successive governments, particularly the present administration of Buhari let to IPOB’s decision to fight for Igbo separation.
“After the civil war, Biafrans slowly rebuilt their world, but as far as Nigeria was concerned, they were not and never had been Biafrans, but were Nigerians from South-East or Igbo-speaking Nigerians,” Kanu said.
“The Biafran war was airbrushed out of the Nigerian consciousness. Biafrans could only whisper about their loss. Joining the global Biafran diaspora was one option for those who could get out of the country; others remained in Biafraland, their Biafran identity amongst themselves, undiminished.
“Nigeria leaders, particularly the present administration of Buhari, continue to prioritise crushing assertions of Biafra identity. It has been the order of the day as even peacefully commemorating the war risks arrest, detention prohibited ill-treatment or being shot.”
Nnamdi Kanu said the military operations in the South-East, Operation Python Dance, were laden with intimidation, systemic human rights violations carried out by the state with impunity. Kanu said IPOB was targeted for destruction. He said:
“in recent years the Nigerian state authorities have conducted three orchestrated campaigns against Biafrans, and the three Operation Python Dance military operations have been battles targeted against the Biafrans, the first being in 2016 and the second in 2017 and the third that is ongoing, all designed to undermine calls for Biafra self determination.”
“Operation Python Dance campaigns are laden with intimidation, serious and systemic human rights violations carried out by the state with impunity, and IPOB which is a voice for Biafrans for self determination, a non violent group being always targeted for destruction.
“It is the determination of the IPOB to ensure self determination by calling for referendum that the Buhari led Nigerian government decided to brand it as a terrorist organization, a proclamation the EU, the United Kingdom and United States of America have all rejected.”
Mazi Kanu added that Nigeria is the problem not the solution, adding that Nigeria has always been a fiction because it was created for British administrative and colonial continence in 1914, having drawn together alleged desperate people into one entity.
He said that Biafrans do not speak the same language, as many speak Igbo, and others speak Urhobo-Isoko, Ijaw-Epie-Ogbia, Ogoni, Efik, Annang, Eket, Oron-Ibibio, Ogoja, Ejagham, Igala, Idoma Ibani and Igbanke among others.
To put Biafra in its Nigeria geo-political context, Biafraland is made up of Rivers Province Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Bayelsa, and Delta and the Fulani herdsmen have shown interest in the provinces from the central belt of Biafra such as Enugu.
“While not endorsing colonial rule, Mazi Kanu said that the Biafra persecution started with the Independence as one colonial master was replaced by another and without endorsing British rule, Biafran fared better under the British than they have under Nigerian dominance.”