Nnamdi Kanu and his separatist movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who want southeast Nigeria to secede from the rest of the country, may have been silenced in Nigeria following the military raid on Kanu’s house in Afaraukwu, Abia State last week, and the decision to by the Nigerian government to proscribe the organisation. But this didn’t stop the IPOB members in the UK from bringing the noise to the heart of the UK government in Westminster this afternoon.
The rally started with a minute’s silence at Parliament Square under the brooding statue of Winston Churchill and right in front of the Houses of Parliament. Then there were protest speeches and songs, with some claiming that the British government was backing Nigerian killing of Biafrans just because of oil.
The rally then proceeded to College Green, which is behind Westminster Abbey and adjacent to the Houses of Parliament. At the Green, the protesters chanted that the British government and MPs should hear the cry for freedom. The protesters seemed unaware that Parliament was in recess due to the Party Conference season, so there should be no MPs in the building. They asked “Theresa May, open your ears”. They also claimed the British government was supporting the “massacre of Biafrans because of oil” and “chanted shame to Britain” for “supplying arms to Nigeria to massacre Biafrans”. They asked MPs “are you blind?”
Next stop was the front of the gates of Downing Street, the home of the Prime Minister, where the pro-Biafrans seemed to find their voice. The guy leading the chants said they should ensure Prime Minister Theresa May heard them loud and clear. One of their messages to the British government was: “If you want oil, we will give you oil for free” as long as you let them have their freedom.
A few of the protesters that spoke to Naijiant.com were of the view that President Muhammadu Buhari’s proclamation that IPOB was a terrorist organisation did them a world of good. They claimed that this would boost the profile of IPOB and that it would lead to the “international community” looking more closely at IPOB and their grievances. When asked about Kanu’s whereabouts, the IPOB leader has not been seen since the military attacked his home, one of the officials at the protest said: “Kanu is very OK and relaxed where he is now”.
The protesters then moved on to the Nigerian High Commission in nearby Northumberland Avenue and rounded up with a rally at Trafalgar Square.