The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has assured that it would press ahead with a referendum that would determine the exit of Biafra (Biafrexit) from the entity called Nigeria, saying that the consent of the federal government was not needed.
IPOB, which has been in the vanguard of restoration of Biafra launched the Biafrexit campaign last June but no date has been fixed for the much expected referendum while the federal government has continued to insist that Nigeria’s indivisibility remains sacrosanct.
The assurance given on Biafra referendum was contained in a statement signed by the IPOB head of media and publicity, Emma Powerful, in which he insisted that the referendum would still go ahead, adding that it has become expedient “to let Biafrans and the entire world know that we want go”.
“IPOB family members worldwide are working tirelessly to restore our long lost freedom and political independence from the Luggardian creation, Nigeria, without bloodshed,” he said.
Explaining why the consent of the Nigeria government was not necessary for referendum on Biafrexit to hold, the IPOB head of media and publicity said that the planned referendum was in line with internally recognised human rights of self determination.
“We Biafrans, in pursuit our inalienable, irreducible and God given right to restore our stolen sovereignty, do hereby state that we do not require the permission of the Nigerian State or her government officials to grant us our natural freedoms,” he said.
According to him, the organs of the region are the people designated to call a referendum for independence of Biafra and will have partners, not the Nigerian government, but the United Nations (U.N), who will have the mandate to monitor the referendum processes and ensure that it complied with international best practices.
Powerful therefore called on all “civilised nations of the world and the rest of humanity to support the quest for Biafra self determination”, adding, “We invite the international community, men and women of goodwill to come and monitor this peaceful referendum in Biafraland”.
Without being specific on when the referendum would take place, the IPOB media head was emphatic that it would surely hold, “we are advising Biafrans both at home and in the Diaspora to be prepared for the forth coming referendum to decide whether we want to be an independent sovereign entity away from Nigeria or not”.
To clear doubts on the possibility of Biafrexit referendum, Powerful stated that “Biafrans must be aware that we as a people have the right under international law to decide our fate through a referendum the same Britain exercised their right to leave the European Union without the permission of the European Parliament or European Council.
“Scotland has also exercised this right to self determination and so have the Quebec region in Canada. If these nations populated by humans like we Biafrans can exercise this right, so can we”.
Citing instances of how some countries have emerged through referendum, Powerful said that “the right to self determination is always implemented through a referendum with the participation of all residents in the land”.
“This path has also been (followed) recently by South Sudan, Greenland, Kosovo, Albania, East Timor, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, among others.
In all these newly created countries, their citizens voted in a referendum with international monitoring bodies, which ensured the validity of the votes cast. The same referendum can also be conducted in Biafraland and monitored by the international observers,” he said.
The IPOB head of media and publicity further argued that there were enough reasons why the path for Biafra independence must and will not pass through Abuja because it is a process that will be considered by Biafrans only and no other people.
He said: “In line with this, we Biafrans have decided in its totality to adopt the option of self rule snatched away from us by the British owned Royal Niger Company and handed over to Islamic Arewa domination at independence to enslave us in perpetuity. As long as Biafra remains a part of Nigeria, Biafrans will remain forever slaves in their own land.”