The pro-Biafra secessionist group the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) announced Wednesday its intention to hold a rally in Nigeria in support of Donald Trump on his inauguration day, according to Vanguard Newspaper.
IPOB issued a press statement asking all who identified with its secessionist ideology to attend a pro-Trump rally in the oil rich city of Port Harcourt, located in Nigeria’s southern region. The IPOB says it is calling for a “peaceful solidarity rally for the U.S. President-Elect Donald J. Trump,” adding that it supports “civil and pragmatic democracy anywhere we find it.”
IPOB believes that Trump, who targeted organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and supported Britain’s exit from the European Union, would be sympathetic to their demands for an independent nation state. The group is pushing for its own version of “Brexit,” which has recently been christened “Biafraexit.”
The rally, which is billed for Friday, is meant to coincide with Trump’s official inauguration as the 45th U.S. president
A Long History
Formed in 2012, IPOB is a relatively new secessionist movement that has taken up more than a five-decade demand for a sovereign state of Biafra in Nigeria’s southeast region. IPOB describes itself as a representation of those ancestors who were of Biafran origin prior to the colonial era. The group is led by Nnamdi Kanu, a political agitator who is currently being held by Nigerian authorities on charges of treason.
Kanu and his supporters say they are determined to press for their demands, despite the fact that the earliest clamour for secession led by Chukwuemeka Ojukwu resulted in the bitter Nigerian civil war (1967-1970) that claimed more than 1 million lives.
IPOB is one of a handful of groups in Africa that announced their support for a Trump candidacy ahead of his victory in the November 8th presidential elections. The group has been the target of repeated violent clamp downs by Nigerian authorities.
In fact, in a recent report, Amnesty International accused the Nigerian army of killing not less than 150 IPOB members at rally last May as they gathered to celebrate Biafra Remembrance Day.