The Ipob Agitation and It’s Socio-economic Implications of South East Development Project.
The study investigates the extent to which IPOB agitation and its’socio economic implications of South-East development Project. The study adopted the use of survey research design. The sample of the study was taken from IPOB members in selected six locations of six states including Enugun and Anambra State. The selected locations were chosen due to the high activities of IPOB group. Using a sample size determination table, the sample size of the selected areas was summed up 501. In-depth interview was the second method of data collection. The returned copies of the questionnaire were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The findings showed that the government’s strategy for dealing with the Biafra separatist movement has focused mainly on police action, most times, involving excessive use of force. It can be concluded that the recurring agitation for Biafra has serious implications for political stability and democratic consolidation. Finally, it was recommended that the positive responses of government on development projects and inclusivity in governance will determine the courage IPOB and the Biafra movement will have going forward.
Background to the Study
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a separatist group that agitates for self-determination of their people. Studies have shown that agitations of different groups in countries of the world do have effects on the political stability of the countries involved (Shehu, Othman & Osman 2017; Ugo, Ukpere & Ashiwhobel, 2012). The effects on countries may be positive or negative. The way the country is affected will largely depend on the strategies the groups have adopted in their agitations and the nature of government’s responses towards the agitating groups. Every group has its reasons for agitating for self-determination. Ojukwu (1989) argues that self-determination becomes the norm when the right possessed by a group of people to make a choice that works for them concerning the way and by the person they desired to lead them is taken away from them. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are pro-Biafran group that agitates for self-determination from the Nigerian government. The group agitates for self-determination from the Nigerian State for the independence of the Biafra Republic. It is worthy of note that the Republic of Biafra was a secessionist state which existed during the period of Civil War in South-Eastern
Nigeria between the period of 30 May 1967 and 15 January 1970 which undoubtedly affected economic activities (Nafziger, 1972). Amnesty International (2016) has submitted that IPOB has utilized its London-based Radio Biafra Station in reaching out to a lot of their dissatisfied youths and that Nnamdi Kanu, being the IPOB leader and the Radio Biafra Director, has made use of the station in reaching out to supporters both within and outside the country. The agitations of IPOB the group and all the strategies used cannot be separated from the political stability of Nigeria. As observed by Obasi (2017), the use of force by President Muhammadu Buhari in responding to the IPOB’s agitations has not been productive as it inflames passion and increases people’s sentiments on separation that may eventually lead to political instability. The Nigerian army’s invasion of Nnamdi Kanu’s home happened 24 hours after it announced the commencement of its operation Python Dance (Part Two) in the South-Eastern states (Ogbonnaya-Ikokwu, 2017). The IPOB leader’s home invasion has not brought any peace between the agitators and the Nigerian government. As made known by Adonu (2018), some Biafrans were taken away and killed in cold blood without any cause at the time of September 2017 operation’s Python Dance and they have not been buried until now. Similarly, the rally organized in honor of Donald Trump’s victory resulted into violence leading to 11 deaths and injuries of many (BBC news, 2017). The Nigerian federal government has gone ahead to proscribe IPOB and designate them a terrorist group through a court judgment. According to a report by Scannews (2018), on the 20th of September 2017, Justice Kafarati with an order proscribed IPOB and designated it a terrorist group upon an ex parte application by the attorney general of the federation and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. Declaring the group a terrorist group implies that the group from now will be handled as terrorists by the security forces if they should be found gathering or engaging in any of their activities (Gabriel, Agbakwuru, Yakubu & Agbo, 2017).
One other implication is that anyone found guilty of belonging to IPOB, could be made to serve 20 years in prison when convicted and as provided by section 2 (3) (i) of the terrorism (prevention) acts 2011: a person who belongs to a proscribed organization commits an offence under this Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 20 years (Obiejesi, 2018, p.1).
The question that bothers the mind presently is, whether there is a relationship between IPOB’s agitations for self-determination and the responses of the federal government of Nigeria? And then, what are the implications for political stability with respect to the relationship between IPOB’s agitations for self-determination and the responses of the federal government of Nigeria? The present study unravels different ways the Nigerian government has responded to the group (IPOB) on their agitations for self-determination. The study also avails more information on how the agitation of IPOB has affected political stability in Nigeria. The research reveals the different ways the Nigerian government has responded to the group (IPOB) on their agitations for self-determination. Additionally, through this inquiry, contributions are made on how the Nigerian government can be aided in the formulation of policies on how to handle agitating groups and how to ensure that there is a minimal number of agitating groups in the country thereby maintaining political stability in the country.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a pro-Biafran group that agitates for self-determination of their people from the Nigerian government. IPOB as a group was established by a Nigerian British citizen, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. IPOB has become the outstanding pro-Biafran group that agitates for self-determination despite the existence of other pro-Biafran groups such as Biafran Zionist Movement (BZM), Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Biafran Liberation Front (BLF), Biafran Independent Movement (BIM), and Biafran Actualisation Forum (BAF). Studies have shown that agitations of a group may receive support or rejection from their people in particular and the larger society in general (Khan, 2017; Porto, 2003).
The support a group gets or the lack of it definitely affects their success or the outcome of their agitations at the time of agitation. IPOB as a group has their members operating in Nigeria and in Diaspora. They have created awareness on the plight of their people which they have done through the media (Radio Biafra and Television), evangelization, and also in local and international interests by reaching out to International Organisations such as the United Nations (UN). The group is in need of support both from local and Diaspora interests towards their agitations.
Statement of the Problem
Culture disparities based on ethnic differences and ethno-religious discontents have obscured the growth of the Nigerian economy. As a result of British imperialism, the northern and southern protectorates were merged in 1914, resulting in the creation of the Nigerian State, which became independent on October 1, 1960.
Ethnic politics in Nigeria is caused by a lot of factors. These factors ranging from racial marginalization, segregation, superiority, and favouritism have all led to the Nigerian state’s ethno-religious crises. Despite the long-running ethno-religious conflicts, Nigeria is affected by other ethnic politics-related factors. This include ethnic separatist movements, resource regulation, and state creation.
Nnamdi Kanu founded the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatist organization in 2012. The party wants Nigeria’s South Eastern states, which are dominated by the Igbo ethnic group, to secede from Nigeria and create an autonomous nation known as Biafra. In order to do this, the party is pushing for a referendum to resolve the Biafra conflict in a civilized and inclusive manner.While their actions have largely been nonviolent, the Nigerian military has unleashed its might on the party, killing armless civilians, according to numerous Amnesty International reports. A Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Nigerian Federal Government a temporary injunction prohibiting the party and its operations on September 20, 2017.This decision has been challenged by the group in the Nigerian court of law, The decision was seen as an injustice to the people who are demanding self-liberation from the Nigerian government’s political marginalization.During the contentious proscription of IPOB against Boko Haram, whose actions have been compared to those of terrorists, the group’s leader urged supporters to boycott the Anambra State general elections as a show of loyalty and loyalty to the Biafra cause. This agitation’s bane, according to the party, is marginalization.According to C. N. Ogbu, all Nigerians are aware of the plight of Ndigbo in the Nigerian Federation and their cry against unparalleled marginalization after the end of the civil war. Since tens of millions of Ndigbo live and spend in Nigeria outside of Igboland, no other ethnic community has a greater stake in the Nigerian dream.But yet, they are casualties at any turn: they face risks to their life and belongings on a regular basis, as well as outright bigotry and marginalization in key fields of national concern. This has prompted Igbo youths to demand self-determination.He goes on to say that some of the reasons of marginalization in Nigeria are systemic, while others derive from administrative decisions that discriminate against some parts of the country (Ogbu, 2018). This study therefore investigates the extent to which IPOB agitation and its’socio economic implications of South-East development Project
The study investigates the extent to which IPOB agitation and its’socio economic implications of South-East development Project. The specific objectives are;
- Evaluate the cause of agitation of the IPOB South-East, Nigeria.
- Examine the extent to which IPOB agitation affect economic development in South-East, Nigeria.
- Assess the extent to which IPOB agitation affect social interactions in South-East, Nigeria.
In line with the research objectives, the following research questions were raised;
- What is the cause of agitation of the IPOB South-East, Nigeria.
- How does IPOB agitation affect economic development in South-East, Nigeria.
- In what ways IPOB agitation affect social interactions in South-East, Nigeria.
The following research hypotheses were formulated to provide an explanation to the research questions;
- IPOB agitation does not significantly affect economic development in South-East, Nigeria
- IPOB agitation does not significantly affect social interactions in South-East, Nigeria
Definition of Terms
IPOB: The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a Nigerian Biafran separatist party. Its primary goal is to hold a secession referendum in Biafra, a former British colony in Nigeria’s south east.
AGITATION: Agitation is the act of starting something moving by shaking or stirring it, usually to accomplish mixing. An exhilarating or agitated mental state
RESTRUCTURING: Restructuring is essentially a call for the return of federalism, the founding structure of the United States Constitution.