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What is IPOB, who runs it, and what exactly do they do?

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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a Nigerian separatist organization. Its main focus is on restoring an independent state of Biafra in Nigeria’s Old Eastern Region, which includes today’s South-East and South-South regions, as well as parts of Nigeria’s Middle Belt states such as Benue and Kogi, through an independence referendum. Nnamdi Kanu, a British Nigerian political activist widely recognized for his influential support of the contemporary Biafran independence movement, founded the group in 2012. It was designated a terrorist organization under the Nigerian Terrorism Act in 2017.

Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Origins

Biafra originally started as a self-governing multi-ethnic republic comprised of the Igbo, Ijaw, Efik, and Ibibio peoples, among others, and was announced by Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu for three years, from 1967 to 1970. The federal government battled hard to maintain the Federal Republic of Nigeria and opposed the idea of Biafra becoming an independent state. The Nigerian civil war lasted three years as a result of tensions between Biafra and the federal government. There were also an estimated one to 3.5 million civilian casualties as a result of starvation and death on Biafra’s side. The OAU brokered an armistice in 1970, which led to the Biafran forces giving up.

Who is in charge of IPOB?

Nnamdi Kanu, a dual British and Nigerian citizen, is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra. He founded IPOB after becoming famous through his broadcasts on Radio Biafra, which was founded in 2009. This was a London-based radio station that broadcast messages calling for “Biafran freedom” and criticizing Nigeria’s government for corruption. Kanu’s rise to public prominence was aided by Radio Biafra, as he was previously unknown. Kanu was arrested on October 19, 2015, by Nigerian security officers who were not very trustworthy. He was charged with “sedition, ethnic incitement, and treasonable felony.”

What exactly do they want?

Nnamdi Kanu founded the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a few years ago as a breakaway faction from the “damaged” Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). IPOB, which is mostly made up of Igbo people, is strongly supporting an independent Biafra, which its followers believe can be accomplished by breaking free from Nigeria.

IPOB has criticized Nigeria’s federal government for its lack of investment, political isolation, unequal resource distribution, tribal stigmatization, and intense military intervention, as well as extra-judicial killings, in the country’s South-Eastern, South-Central, and parts of North-Central regions. The organization rose to prominence in the mid-2010s and has since grown to become the largest Biafran independence organization in terms of membership. In recent years, it has gotten a lot of attention from the media because it is a common place where the Nigerian government cracks down on politics.

It also has a plethora of websites and communication channels that serve as the only trustworthy social apparatus that teaches and instills firsthand news and information to its members. IPOB is most proud of its efforts to restore the Republic of Biafra’s sovereignty along pre-colonial lines. It wants to do this mainly in Nigeria’s South-East and South-South regions through peaceful protests.

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