The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has argued that Nigeria is already divided by the twelve core northern states which in 2001 freely opted to be governed by Islamic Sharia Law which is different from the secular law of the Nigerian constitution.
Mr Kanu was addressing his followers at the eve of the new year on Saturday 31 December 2019 in a special broadcast on Radio Biafra.
The Indigenous People of Biafra which seeks self-determination via referendum for the Eastern block of Nigeria has been outlawed by the government of Muhammadu Buhari, but continues to enjoy legitimacy around the world.
Kanu said IPOB should not be asked to use “appropriate channel” – apparently referring to the federal legislature – to advance its objectives of a referendum when the same was not demanded of the twelves states which imposed a strange law on a part of the Nigerian jurisdiction without recourse to the national assembly.
“When the Jihadists in Abuja wanted Sharia law they did not go to the National Assembly or call for a referendum to vote on it. Instead, the twelve Sharia states went outside the constitution of Nigeria and agreed and introduced Sharia Law, but today they are asking us to go through the appropriate channel when they did not go through appropriate channel to get the Sharia they are practising today“, he argued.
“Who in Nigeria today voted for Sharia Law to be practised in Nigerian Northern states? Is Sharia in the Nigerian Constitution? They willingly subverted the Constitution of Nigeria and imposed Sharia on northern Nigerians. If they believe in the Constitution of Nigeria, they would not have introduced Sharia Law within Nigeria when the Constitution exists. So when they tell us not to agitate for Biafra, what is their moral right and justification?”
The IPOB leader alleged that All Progress Congress, APC, government of Gen. Buhari was exclusively committed to the promotion of Islam and Sharia law across the country and the enthronement of a Fulani supremacist order in Nigeria to the detriment of other ethnic groups. He pointedly accused Nigeria’s leadership of complicity in the formation and clandestine support of Islamic terrorist groups in Nigeria such as Boko Haram and ISWAP, and tagged the government, “A government of terrorists, for terrorists and by terrorists”.
Mr Kanu used the speech to again lash out at the British government whose colonial interests, he claimed, brought irreconcilable bedfellows into one country. The IPOB leader argued that the mutually conflicting political and social values between the core north and the eastern bloc (which he calls Biafra) was a recipe for endless violence and bloodbath and was at the root of the arrested development of the country since independence.
“The greatest enemy of Nigeria is the British government and some of her nationals. They are the ones perpetrating, supporting and financing terrorism with the people occupying Aso Rock and deceiving Nigerians that they mean well for them,” he said.
He accused the British government of preferring and supporting “Fulani Almajiris” against the more educated, egalitarian and wholly Judeo-Christian eastern part of Nigeria because they find the former easier to manipulate in other to extend their neo-colonial interests in the country.
He called on the peoples of the middle-belt section of Nigeria to support the Biafran struggle and not to see it as an “abandonment” to what he called “the damnable zoological republic” – his derogatory reference to Nigeria.
“The mistake the Southern Kaduna (or the middle-belt of Nigeria) are making is that they think Biafrans hate them, but only Biafrans can save them”.
Kanu asserts that an independent Biafra was the only viable bulwark against Jihadist expansionism in West Africa and promised that the new nation if created, would defend the interests of not only Biafrans around the world, but Christians in West Africa and “lovers of freedom everywhere”.
Agitation for the restoration of Biafra reemerged in 1999 but became an internationalized subject with the formation of IPOB and the seizure of the leadership by its charismatic leader.
In the late 1960s, the war to free itself from Nigeria cost the region about 4 million lives, known hitherto as Africa’s bloodiest war, and complaints of marginalization of the region persist 50 years after the war ended in January of 1970.
Mr Kanu lives in the U.K. after fleeing Nigeria in what he claims was a military operation aimed at assassinating him which allegedly left scores of his members killed or maimed at Umuahia in 2017.