Since the 1967 declaration of Biafra Republic, clamour for an independent republic of South-east carved out of Nigeria has given rise to so many groups, from Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Imo Bilie Initiative (IBI) to Imo Bilie Initiative (IBI). These groups may bear different names and led by different individuals, but they are bound by the same purpose.
For these groups, the pleas and explanations about why Nigeria should remain united has been falling on deaf ears.
Though the realisation of the Republic of Biafra is doubtful at this time, here are few of the reasons why this agitation has refused to die :
The marginalisation of the Igbo people: According to MASSOB leader, Chief Uchenna Madu, “the President, in inner sense of reasoning, believes that he will easily crush Biafra, maybe with his intimidating tendencies over Igbo governors, National Assembly members, religious/opinion/ political leaders.”
And he reaffirmed that because of this, Biafra will continue to struggle in order to hunt those opposed to the actualization of Biafra through various nomenclature including, Niger Delta Avengers and other Niger Delta freedom fighters.
The fear of religious supremacy: Some of the Biafran groups have boasted that the agitation for Biafra is supported by God, history and humanity; hence, it cannot be crushed by man. The present administration
has also been called out for carrying some religious decisions that has awaken the consciousness of Christians in the Southern part and Middle Belt which has assisted and justified the struggle for the Biafra Republic.
The efforts and resources invested: Another reason why this agitation has refused to die despite all that have been done is because beyond words of mouth and protests on the street, vehicle plate numbers bearing United States of Biafra, drivers and vehicle licenses, tax receipts, international passport and currency, have been put in place and distributed in some parts of Nigeria.
Abandonment of the National Conference Recommendation: The emergence of the military regimes provoked agitations for a national dialogue where major demands were made including of the creation of additional states arising from perceived abnormal imbalance in the federal structure and Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groups. The September 12, 1966, ad hoc conference in Lagos aimed at arresting the agitations and preserving National sanctity did hold water too, just like the most recent confab.
Gaining Foreign Attention: Advocating for support of foreign organizations like the United Nations (UN) is another major reason why the agitation for Biafra continues. MASSOB and other pro-Biafra bodies have been able to convince the UN through its actions that there may be no peace in Nigeria until the Republic of Biafra is realized.
According to Mazi Chris Mocha, MASSOB’s National Director of Information, although UN will not sponsor any rebellious act in any nation including Nigeria that is a member of the UN, the organization permitted that any section of its member states or nation that wants independence is free to pursue the course holistically. Mocha expressed optimism that the UN will normally intervene in Nigeria’ when the further existence of the member state becomes questionable and ungovernable.
– ‘Seyifunmi cAdebote for encomium.ng