BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria’s past is littered with obstacles originating from unsolved national concerns such as group marginalization, resource distribution, religious politicization, ethnic militancy, terrorism, and corruption. The rise of organizations claiming self-determination and political independence, such as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South-East, is one of the principal expressions of some of these unsolved concerns. Separatist agitations and secessionist activities, according to Awofeso (2017), are not wholly new to the Nigerian political arena; they have always been a regular element of Nigerian politics, but the scale they have taken on today is not unrelated to the national issue. That is to say, they continued to function as a weapon in the hands of agitators for expressing dissatisfaction with the Nigerian government and a forum for seeking proper political accommodation (Alumona, Azom & Iloh, 2017).
Fundamentally, the term separatist agitation or separatism can refer to a variety of things, from a demand for greater regional autonomy or a loosening of political control by the center by a unit of a federal state to outright secession of a federating unit by declaring its own political independence. That is to say, the word “separatism” is often used in its restricted meaning to describe agitation by a separate political unit within a polity for further decentralization of power by the central government in order to provide more autonomy to the sub-national unit in specific activities. Ibeanu, Orji, and Iwuamdi (2016) defined separatist agitation as interactions between collective victimization and inclusion, noting that there is always greater separatist agitation during times of high collective victimization and low socio-political inclusion, and vice versa. That is to say, separatist agitation is usually sparked anytime a certain minority inside a given polity feels excluded, oppressed, or economically disenfranchised. Separatist unrest may be traced all the way back to the British colonial authorities. Tamuno (1970) was the first to link secessionist movements in what is now known as Nigeria to 1914. According to Ahmadu Bello, the North would have chosen a distinct political future to be yoked with the South in what the Sardauna of Sokoto referred to as “the error of 1914.” The North vowed to withdraw from the union after becoming dissatisfied with the merger. That was the first attempt at secession in the history of Nigeria.
In the 1950s and at the end of 1953, there were riots in numerous places in Nigeria. The Yorubas in the west started to issue threats as a result of the dispute over the status of Lagos (Awofeso, 2017). However, the first call for secession from Nigeria came from the then-Premier of the Eastern region, Michael Okpara, who openly threatened to cause a secession of the Eastern region from Nigeria as a result of the circumstances surrounding the federal elections in December 1964, which is the subject of this study. However, the most significant separatist effort from the East, which shook the whole federation, occurred in 1967, when the Eastern region, led by Lt. Col. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, made a huge effort to secede from Nigeria. This was in reaction to the slaughter of Igbos in the North, which occurred as a result of the July 1966 counter-coup. The central government’s weak reaction to the indiscriminate murder of Igbos led the Igbos to conclude that they were undesired in the Nigerian federation. However, this resulted in a lengthy civil war in which over 1.8 million citizens of Igbo descent died. However, the Igbos’ feelings of unfairness, marginalization, and persecution have endured after the conflict ended (Ezemenaka & Prouza, 2016; Awofeso, 2017).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Ever since 1967, when the civil war occurred and lasted for two and half years as a result of the rise of Biafra, it was to be believed that the Republic of Biafra had failed and surrendered to the Nigerian then government. However, it would appear that such a surrender was not at all a full surrender as there have been movements and occurrences that are piling up the fight for the Republic of Biafra. The Indigenous People Of Biafra, which was then led by col. Odumegu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, now led by Gov. Nnamdi Kanu, is on the rise again and as a cause of this, a lot of lives and properties have been lost in just a matter of months. It has been over 54 years since the Republic of Biafra emerged and now the blood bath which occurred 54 years ago is bound to repeat itself as it has already begun with sporadic shootings against IPOB and the armed forces of Nigeria. This clash is costing indigenes their lives, businesses and properties.
This study therefore seeks to investigate the causes and effects of the IPOB agitation on the lives and properties in the south eastern region.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to investigate the causes and effects of the IPOB agitation on lives and properties in south eastern region. Thus;
1. To determine the causes of the IPOB agitation in the south eastern Nigeria.
2. To determine the effects of the IPOB agitation on the lives and properties of individuals in the south eastern region.
3. To investigate the effects of the actions of IPOB on the other states in Nigeria.
The following questions guide this study;
1. What are the causes of the IPOB agitation in south eastern Nigeria?
2. What are the effects of the IPOB agitation on the lives and properties of individuals in the south eastern region?
3. What are the effects of IPOB’s actions on the other states in Nigeria?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significant to the government as it will provide an analysis of the various effects of IPOB’s actions on south eastern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole. It will also aid the government in taking the necessary actions in order to prevent any unwanted outbreak of a civil war as it will lead to the destruction of lives and properties.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will only cover the causes and effects of the IPOB agitation on the lives and properties of individuals in the south eastern region. Residents of Imo state will serve as enrolled participants for this study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was limited only by funds during the execution of this study.
1. IPOB: The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It is a Biafran separatist terrorist organization in Nigeria
2. AGITATION: Agitation is the act of stirring things up. In other words, creating trouble or events that anger people and make them act in certain ways.