Pro-Biafrans created a carnival atmosphere today, 30 May 2018, in front of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square London, as they marked “Biafra Heroes Day” in memory of all those that lost their lives during Nigeria’s deadly civil war from 1967 to 1970, following the doomed attempt by the Eastern Region to secede from the rest of the country.
The separatists were defeated 48 years ago, but the spirit of secession still lingers among many Igbos, who form the majority in the region that rebelled. Nigeria’s failed state conditions have only increased the clamour for breaking up the country.
The main group advocating secession, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been proscribed, with its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, missing since the army raided his home in Afara Ukwu, Abia State in September last year.
The group called for a “Sit at Home” today across Nigeria, which seems to be well observed:
— The Jonathanian (@The_Jonathanian) May 30, 2018
Documentary maker Chris Odili wrote on Facebook said: “The Sit at Home is being observed in the main in the SE [southeast]. There is a mix of reverence for the deceased and fear of retribution. I personally have nothing wrong with honouring our dead as long as it’s done with respect and not fear. Ozoemena [May it not happen again – with reference to the civil war]. The women narrated their story in the award winning documentary Afia Attack. We captured this story so that no other generation will have to repeat the same narrative. May the souls of our departed rest in peace.”
It was a different story in London as the crowd was in celebratory mood.
There was food, music from a DJ and a lot of dancing.
Several of those that spoke to our reporter believed that “Biafran restoration” was a matter of “when” not “if”.
One sympathiser wondered whether all these rallies would ever move the needle towards realising their goal of “freedom”. He thought pro-Biafrans would be better off forming a political party and being part of the formal political process in Nigeria.
But believers in the cause are not easily deterred by reality and seem determined to continue down their current paths. Where it leads is anyone’s guess.