SECCESIONIST movement the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) has backtracked on its call for the dismemberment of Nigeria and written to the National Assembly asking for the devolution of power and the restructuring of the country instead.
Bitterly opposed to the current composition of Nigeria, Ipob has been campaigning for the recreation of the defunct Republic of Biafra that briefly existed between July 1967 and January 1970 for the duration of the Nigerian Civil War. Ipob’s leader Nnamdi Kanu, is currently on the run as he is facing treason charges for calling for the dismemberment of Nigeria.
In what appears to be a softening of its stance, Ipob revealed that it sent a memorandum to the National Assembly, requesting for devolution of powers and the restructuring of Nigeria into six autonomous regions. Ipob’s original founder Emeka Emekesiri, said the decision was taken after the group made several delegations to the British government asking for assistance with the restoration of Biafra but was turned down by the former colonial masters.
According to Mr Emekesiri, what the British preferred instead was the devolution of powers into regions as contained in Nigeria’s 1963 constitution. Adding that Britain said it was still interested in Nigeria remaining as one country, Mr Emekesiri said that Ipob sought the assistance of other world powers, who insisted that Britain must be consulted and its opinion established before they could wade into the matter.
Mr Emekesiri said: “In 2018 we opened up discussion with the British government, we met them three times and the last time, they told us clearly that they want Nigeria to be one, they don’t want Nigeria to break up. Britain has maintained its stand, it said it wants Nigeria to remain as one country.
“So we asked them how do we solve the problem of incompatibility, people of the northeast and northwest unable to live harmoniously, killing themselves because of differences of ideology and lifestyle. Worldviews are different, how do we do it so that the clashes will stop?
“We are Biafrians because we were not annihilated during the war and that is clear to both the British and Nigeria governments. If Nigeria had annihilated Biafrans the way Romans annihilated Cartage, there wouldn’t have been anybody to talk about Biafra again but they couldn’t and so we are the remnants of Biafra.”
He added that after talking to Britain, Ipob went back to consult its elders and drafted a memorandum to be submitted to the British parliament. Mr Emekesiri, said Ipob could adopt the United Kingdom’s nation model that maintains indigenous identities such as Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.