From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said that the reason it chose to open a first substantive mission, which it termed embassy in Vitoria Spain, was due to of the country’s rich knowledge and history of fighting for freedom.
The group noted that it chose a country like the Basque region because they would not betray Biafra like others did in the past.
Head, Directorate of State (DOS) of IPOB Mr. Uchenna Asiegbu said that the group took certain things into consideration in setting up mission based on their core values, respect and protection of freedom and was guided by the history due to bitter lessons learnt in the struggle for Biafra.
Recently, a video of the Biafra embassy in Spain was posted on Facebook. The group is seeking an independent state for the southeast and adjoining areas.
In the video, Uchenna Asiegbu, is seen taking a guest on a tour of the facility.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the group and director of Radio Biafra, has been facing charges of treason, and has been in detention since 2015. Kanu, who is regarded as the President of the “Republic of Biafra”, initiated the idea of planting “embassies” across the world.
The late Odimegwu Ojukwu, a retired army officer and revered Igbo leader, declared the old eastern region, comprising the southeast and the south south, the Republic of Biafra in May 1967 after a massacre of the Igbo in the north.
The Nigeria government under Gen. Yakubu Gowon thereafter declared war on the new republic, which fell in January 1970 when Biafran forces surrendered.
According to Asiegbu, “At IPOB, we are very methodical and cautious in all we do because we are guided by our history. We must not forget the bitter lessons of the past because Biafra, despite being a predominantly Christian enclave, was abandoned by almost every major Christian country in the world.
“They preferred to work with Islamic Northern Nigeria to entrench caliphate hegemony. This is a bitter lesson that will always guide our activities going forward. It is inconceivable that Saudi Arabia will support a set of Christians against Muslims regardless of the circumstance.
“Our Mission in Spain was opened in 2014 by our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu with members of the Directorate of State from all over the world present. It’s primary purpose is to serve as the world administrative headquarters of IPOB.
“As you know IPOB is the largest movement of its kind anywhere in the world today, therefore we have our leadership scattered across every continent. Having our administrative head office in a place like the Basque country is also logistically sensible.”
While speaking on plans to open new embassies in some other major countries, the Biafra Director said “It is on record that the Government of Spain has given us permission to kick-start our global Biafra Genocide Awareness exhibition in Vitoria Basque country, Spain. Their police will be there to protect us, and their media to report the event.
“We can also confirm that the Indian Government has giving us approval to open another mission in the subcontinent. Our strategy of quiet expansionism will take us to every part of the world. As soon as preparations are finalised, we shall invite world media to attend the opening, if they can overcome their bias by then.
“As you know, British hostility towards Biafra is well documented but we are encouraged by the fact that our broadcasting studios are still stationed in London where we have not encountered any difficulties till date. We hope to open a regional office there in the not too distant future.
“United States is key in our determination to be located in every country of the world to counter the lies of the Nigerian government. One of the areas we failed during the war of 1967-70 is that we lacked adequate presence abroad. Having identified this need, our leader quickly put in place a mechanism for the establishment of missions and offices around the world.
“We have a small office in Inglewood area of Los Angeles California which we hope to expand in the near future. Very soon we will announce the opening of our main office of the head of mission in Washington United States. All hands are on deck to achieve this.
“We evaluate the criteria of opening an embassy in a country based on their core values, respect and protection of freedom. How they view the issue of the rights of Indigenous people is also a determining factor.”