The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) says its long proposed Biafra referendum will take place on Saturday 16 February, same day fixed for Nigeria’s presidential election.
IPOB is a group fighting for an independent sovereign State of Biafra which considers the South East and most parts of the South South and sections of the North Central States of Kogi and Benue States as parts of a historical ancient Biafran nation they say they want to restore.
Only last Saturday, JolibaLive New! reported the movement of the groups leader, Maxi Nnamdi Kanu from Israel where he has been on exile back to the United Kingdom – the founding place and administrative headquarters of the group.
In a statement signed by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Comrade Emma Powerful, said Nnamdi Kanu, had moved to the United Kingdom from Israel to confer with the Biafran “High Command” in Europe and lay the groundwork for the referendum.
He said the purpose of the referendum was to ascertain through a “democratic, transparent and peaceful” process the number of Igbos that desire to be a part of Nigeria and those who desire “freedom” for the sovereign nation of Biafra.
Mr. Emma Powerful claimed his boos had been having “useful talks” with some “diplomats” in this respect – but did not mention the countries of the diplomats. However, the group often touts its relationship with Israel – a country it claims some historical and cultural connection with.
It is unclear how the group hopes to surmount the logistical and legal impracticability of such a referendum within the Nigerian State.
Continuing the statement reads, “We can assure you that majority of them have given their assurances and the proposal has received a tremendous support from many key allies, who see self-determination for Biafra as the best solution to the present Nigeria problem.
“We are sure of peaceful and rancour free referendum because international observers and media platforms will be on ground to monitor the exercise on that day. It is important we remind Nigerians, once again, that the ongoing political developments in the country only confirms that Nigeria cannot work together as one country, and Biafra must be a sovereign nation.
“We, the global family of IPOB, ably led by Nnamdi Kanu, wish to announce officially to the people of Biafra, both home and in the diaspora, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom that our leader, Kanu is currently in London, to join his family and see his new born child he hadn’t seen because of his illegal incarceration and detention since 2015.
“He will also discuss with IPOB top family members in London, to finalise the way forward for Biafra referendum that will hold on February 16, 2019, alongside Nigeria’s presidential poll.
“On Friday last week, Kanu arrived Leeds Airport in England, where our deputy leader, Uche Mefor and other top IPOB members based in the UK received him. Kanu and other top IPOB high command are expected to meet with European Union ( EU) officials to gather more international support for the Biafra proposal.”
The regions but in particular the territory of ethnic Igbos was the epicenter of a war of attrition between the federalist forces of Nigeria and the Biafran secessionists army fighting to free the enclave between 1967 and 1970. The war – Africa’s first post-colonial war cost an estimated 3.5 million lives – sparking off global outcry and protests.
IPOB Declares Sit-At-Home As Buhari Campaigns In Abia
But as nationalist favor returns and grips secessionist-advocates, President Muhammadu Buhari just departed Abuja airport today Tuesday 29 February heading for the Enyimba City of Aba in continuation of his electoral campaign.
In response, IPOB issued a Sit-At-Home order from 6.00am – 4.00pm to protest the presence of the Nigerian leader.
President Buhari is generally believed to be least unpopular in the South East and South South regions which continue to complain of marginalization from his government.
But Buhari supporters counter this narrative, citing the administration’s infrastructural strides which has involved the region. Mr. Buhari will be commissioning a 9.6 Megawatts Independent Power Plant at Ariaria Market in Osisioma Ngwa council area, conceived and started under the administration of Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan – who is from the region.
After that the President will also attend the rally of his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the Enyimba stadium.
There are reports of heavy security deployments at major junctions in the city, especially along Brass junction leading to the Ariaria International market and Aba- Owerri road.
Liberty is never given
It is TAKEN pic.twitter.com/DEu4HWJQ3t
— oscar okeke (@oscarokeke1) January 27, 2019
In a statement ordering the Sit-At-Home, Comrade Emma Powerful, IPOB urged her members in Aba and its environs to ensure that the visiting President meets an empty Enyimba stadium because he is not welcome in the city.
“All family members of IPOB within Aba metropolis are hereby instructed to observe a mini sit at home tomorrow (today) 29th January 2019 in total boycott of the impostor, Jubril AL-Sudani who is slated to be in Aba for an Islamic evil APC rally.
“We must ensure that Jubril meets an empty stadium today because his murderous presence is not welcome in our land. Do not go out for any reason, do not engage in any zoo political discussion as their Boko Haram and Janjaweed army are on standby to kill. Stay indoors from 6am to 4pm.”