The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), a secessionist group spearheaded by Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, has announced their plans to hold a referendum towards the peaceful restoration of the Republic of Biafra.
The statement was issued by the spokesperson of the group, Mr. Emma Powerful, on Tuesday as reported by Punch.
According to IPOB, it has printed about 40million ballot papers to be used in the first phase of the referendum by the indigenous Igbos in the South-East region of Nigeria. He added that the ballot papers would be distributed to every clan and villages in the Biafraland.
This would be the first stage of a 3-stage referendum plan by the secessionist group which had already been proscribed by the Nigerian government and a Federal High Court in Abuja. The Nigerian Government also urged international partners and the US to ban IPOB and declare it a terrorist organisation. A request the US had already vehemently rejected, saying the group was not a terrorist group.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra wish to bring to the attention of the world that plans are at advanced stages in preparation for the first in our three-stage referendum process towards the peaceful, non-violent restoration of the nation of Biafra.
“Our decision to hold the first of the three plebiscites later this year has vindicated IPOB’s resilience in sticking to the principle of non-violent agitation for Biafra in the face of government brutality and treachery from enemies within.
“Efforts geared towards this first referendum is gathering unstoppable momentum with dates for the exercise to be announced imminently.
“Forty million ballot papers are being printed and readied for distribution to every clan and village in Biafraland for all adults over the age of 18 to express their preference,” the statement read partly (As seen on Premium Times).
The group also stated that the Nigerian Government had on 11th February, 1961, conducted a referendum for the people of Southern Cameroon to determine whether they wished to be part of Nigeria or merge with Cameroon, saying that the referendum resulted in the peaceful secession of the then NCNC-controlled Anglophone Cameroon from Nigeria.
“On 11th February, 1961, Nigeria conducted a referendum for the people of Southern Cameroon to determine whether they wished to be part of Nigeria or merge with Francophone northern Cameroon.
“In other words, they voted to leave Nigeria for good. That was democracy in action, not war.
“Again, on the 13th of July, 1963, Nigeria conducted another referendum which led to the creation of the defunct Mid-West Region from the supposedly Yoruba-dominated Western Region.
“The old Mid-Western Region comprised parts of today’s Delta and Edo states.“Referendum has been used in Nigeria before to resolve a seemingly intractable issue,” IPOB added.
IPOB noted that its mission “is to restore Biafra sovereignty via a democratic process and through the instrumentality of a three-stage referendum, the first of which will be held in the coming weeks.”
The whereabouts of the leader of the group Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is currently unknown following an alleged invasion of his community in Abia State, South-East Nigeria, by the Nigerian Army through the Operation Python Dance launched against the agitators. The Nigerian Military had also placed a ban on the group, describing it as a terrorist organization.