The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a separatist movement founded in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, a British Nigerian. Its tenet seeks to revive, agitate and actualize the sovereign state of Biafa; an old dream of the Eastern Nigeria. The contemporary agitation for Biafra republic was reignited in 1999 by Chief Ralph Uwazurike with the formation of Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB). Similarly, the Biafra Zionist Movement (BZM) was founded by Benjamin Onwuka in 2010. The agitation for a Biafran state took a new dimension with the inception of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a faction of MASSOB led by Nnamdi Kanu.
IPOB activities began in 2012 with a referendum call for Biafran state. The movement proceeded with the staging of street protests across the Eastern states of Nigeria. Despite the Nigerian security operatives crackdown on IPOB protesters, the group has continued to gain momentum both nationally and internationally. The recent assault unleashed on Ekweremadu in Germany and the street protest organized against President Muhammadu Buhari led – administration in Japan by IPOB members indicated the movement as the face of Biafra restoration movement worldwide.
IPOB activities have been trailed with numerous controversies particularly the recent attack and protest against Ekweremadu and Buhari respectively in the diaspora. Neither condemnation nor commendation should be wholeheartedly embraced. It is unjust to castigate IPOB demands and approaches. The depleting state of Nigeria has given genuine credence to the country’s disintegration. The Nigerian government has failed to tackle this menace through good governance. Instead, the repressive state apparatus is being employed to harmonize the country. IPOB recent activities were fightback against the Nigerian government. Whereas the fightback has made Nigeria a laughingstock and her dignity its shoe amidst the international communities. The Nigerian government should address misgovernance and marginalization in the country to utterly resolve IPOB menace and other looming separatist movements in Nigeria.
Binzak Azeez writes from the faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife