ABUJA, Nigeria — The leader of a separatist movement called the Independent People of Biafra IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, held a press briefing on Friday, August 12 2016 to declare his intention of opening up negotiations.
Kanu, who is the acclaimed Director of Radio Biafra and Biafra Television, was, before his arrest, operating both broadcast channels from London, UK, with transmission across several states comprising the south-eastern zone of Nigeria.
Nnamdi Kanu was forcibly nabbed by state security operatives in October 2015 upon return to the country, and has since been detained at Kuje Prison in Abuja, the country’s political capital.
During the press briefing that was held in his absence, Kanu spoke through his lawyers, Amobi Nzelu and Ifeanyi Ejiofor, saying his detention was “politically motivated.” He also expressed that he was not opposed to negotiations that could lead to his freedom.
First championed by late Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, a former high-ranking official of the Nigerian Army at that time, the conflicts surrounding the Biafra Republic gave birth to the Nigeria Civil War that took place between July 6, 1967 and January 15, 1970.
The recent conflicts of Biafra, after four decades of stability, raises questions about ethnic tension in a multicultural society, but a level playing field can be achieved if true federalism is in place. The interest of Igbo majority, that is predominant in the southeastern part of the country, has not sufficiently been protected according to arguments laid out by supporters of the group, IPOB, and many of its sympathizers.
The Nigerian military and other state security fields had a series of confrontational arm engagements with protesters, with many peaceful demonstrators being wounded in an attempt to restore peace.
However, Nnamdi Kanu, through his lawyers, made two clarifications during yesterday’s press briefing: First, that he has no links with militants parading themselves as freedom fighters in the Niger Delta region of the country, namely newly formed Niger Delta Avengers, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, nor the Adaka Boro Avengers. Second, that the viable solution to the Biafra struggle is political settlement, and not a legal solution.
Adedayo Osho is a Political Scientist and Journalist. Twitter: @Jahpolitical