The clampdown by Nigerian authorities of pro-Biafra secession activists feeds on dreams among the Igbo ethnic group in the south of the country.
In parallel, gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked villages of farmers in southern states, strengthening the sense of independence for residents.
Pro-Biafrans say this is the final straw for them.
We are Nigerians and still believe that we are Nigerians. If they [the government] thought that we are not qualified in this country, they should let us go and be on our own.
The arrest in October of Nnamdi Kanu, Chief IPOB and director of Radio Biafra, and his detention pending trial provoked a wave of protests across the southeast and revived calls the independence of Biafra.
“Unfortunately, when I wanted to run, they shot my leg and I felt down. And the person that shot me came ahead to shot me again so I started running with one of my leg before a IPOB member helped me to rush me to one compound,” said Chinedu Iwu, a pro-Biafra militant.“We are Nigerians and still believe that we are Nigerians. If they [the government] thought that we are not qualified in this country, they should let us go and be on our own. We cannot say we are one but we are intimidated,” said john Orajiaka, a pastor.
The indigenous people of Biafra movement (IPOB) has never stopped demanding the secession of this region mainly populated Igbo, one of three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, aggrieved by the central government in terms of infrastructure, health and education.
The attempted secession of Biafra launched in 1967 resulted in a civil war that killed about one million people.