(By Jeff Amechi Agbodo – ONITSHA; Toks David – LAGOS)
Igbo separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has declared September 23rd a day of protest for Pro-Biafrans worldwide to protest the continued detention of group leader Nnamdi Kanu and for the independence of the Biafra people.
The group said the IPOB worldwide protest would take place in all the countries, except in Biafra designated lands and Nigeria where church services will be held.
A statement from IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary Emma Powerful said that every IPOB member and other Biafrans living in Nigeria and Biafra land would stay in their homes on that day.
“We also ask that all markets, schools, banks, transport companies and manufacturing companies to close on same day in solidarity with the overall objectives of the Biafra restoration process irrespective of your persuasion or affiliation,” he said.
“Again, we call on okada riders, keke drivers, bus drivers, luxurious bus owners and drivers, the nine loaders (911 drivers and owners) the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and National Association of Transport Owners (NATO) are advised to withdraw their vehicles from the road on that day in solidarity with IPOB worldwide for the release our leader mazi Nnamdi Kanu and for the total liberation of Biafra people.”
The separatist group has been on the forefront of recent agitation by pro-Biafran Igbos in eastern Nigeria demanding regional autonomy.
The movement reached its apogee with the arrest and prosecution of its leader Nnamdi Kanu, a radio broadcaster of Biafra propaganda, by the Nigerian government last year. Nnamdi’s followers have since declared him a political prisoner, staging demonstrations and sometimes violent riots in the east.
This has added to an atmosphere of unrest in other parts of south eastern nigeria, with an unrelated but similarly ethno-nationalist group Niger Delta Avengers staging sabotage raids on crude oil facilities in the Niger Delta region and facing off with the Nigerian military.