Magnus Eze, Enugu and David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has said the group will remain committed to non-violent campaign for independent state of Biafra, even in the face of provocation.
Kanu also stated that international law was clear in relation to self-determination and wondered why the world has not seen what was happening in Nigeria as it pertained to intimidation, killings and maiming of Igbo people in particular, as a global crisis.
In a four-page briefing that IPOB prepared for the European parliament, Kanu insisted that there was no alternative to referendum.
“Where there is a credible claim for self-determination the only way to resolve the issue is by holding a referendum which complies with international standards. IPOB is calling for a referendum. It is for that reason the Nigerian authorities have sought to brand IPOB as a terrorist organisation. The EU, the UK and the US have all rejected the labelling of IPOB as a terrorist group. They know that IPOB seeks only to uphold human rights.
“There is a crisis in Nigeria. The Nigerian State has never been at peace with itself and recent events amplify this pending emergency.”
Kanu accused President Muhammadu Buhari of promoting the RUGA programme as a means for Fulani herders to officially move into areas and absorb land as part of a government coordinated programme across the country.
Although the programme has been suspended, Kanu raised the fears that the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) was still in place, advocating ranching. With this, he alleged that people in the eastern and southern parts of the country who are mainly Christians “are forced from their land and will be killed if they do not make way for the Fulani.”
Kanu decried the role played by most of the world powers during the 30-month civil war.
He stated that the people of the defunct Biafra were more comfortable under colonial rule than in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Biafra during the Biafran War remain unaccounted for. Was it an attempt at genocide? Biafrans were considered an existential threat to the state. The killings were indiscriminate. All Biafrans were targeted.
“Nigeria continues to prioritise crushing assertions of Biafran identity. Even peacefully commemorating the war risks arrest, detention, ill-treatment or being shot.
“In recent years, the Nigerian state authorities have conducted three orchestrated campaigns against Biafrans. The three Operation Python Dance campaigns have been battles against Biafrans. The first campaign was in 2016, the second in 2017 and the third is ongoing. They are designed to undermine calls for Biafran self-determination.
“Operation Python Dance campaigns intimidate. Serious and systemic human rights violations are carried out by state forces with impunity.
“IPOB has always called for creative solutions to recognise Biafrans’ right to self-determination. However, what is clear is that the existing model of the Nigerian constitution is fatally flawed. It continues to cause harm to all within the jurisdiction and it is unsustainable,” he said.