IPOB Manchester have indicated some positive news for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). On 8th March 2018, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights requested that the Nigerian Government implement provisional measures in accordance with the rules of the Commission. The measures request that the Nigerian government withdraw from any further actions against IPOB ‘so as to avoid irreparable damage,’ to both the IPOB leader and its members.
This is currently a provisional measure pending a future decision. However, it is hoped that the request will lead to the Nigerian Government holding back from actions against IPOB members and the wider Igbo ethnic group. IPOB will await a full decision from the African Commission following their complaint about Human Rights. It is hoped that further action will be taken to end human rights violations experienced by indigenous Biafrans.
IPOB logged their complaint with the African Commission on 14th December 2017. Specifically, they sought action against the Nigerian Government for their use of ‘indiscriminate lethal force’ against IPOB members. IPOB have affirmed in this complaint that despite their activities being peaceful, the Nigerian Government has unlawfully sought to label them a terrorist organisation. They fear increased violence from the Nigerian army and security forces as a result of this decision.
In recent years organisations such as Amnesty International have evidenced Human Rights Violations against the people of Biafra. In 2016, Amnesty reported that 150 peaceful pro-Biafran protesters were left dead after a Nigerian Army crackdown in the region, with at least 60 being killed in two days. Video footage showed the use of live ammunition being used to disperse crowds. In September 2017, 10 IPOB members were left dead after military action in Abia.
Julie has previously worked to highlight the plight of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), meeting with IPOB members in her own NW England constituency and with the wider diaspora living in various European countries. She made a speech in the Strasbourg parliamentary plenary debate in October 2016 calling for Buhari to end the violence against indigenous Biafrans. She also facilitated a meeting in the European Parliament in Brussels in December 2016 with IPOB leaders and activists and various foreign affairs and human rights policy advisers. She also wrote to the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, to express her concerns for the wellbeing of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu who, along with two other IPOB members, was unlawfully imprisoned. She has drawn attention to the numerous human rights violations committed by the Nigerian Government in the region especially the cases of arrest, enforced disappearance, torture in the region. She has urged for more international action to be taken to safeguard the people of Biafra against the actions of the Nigerian Government.
The request of the African Commission is therefore a positive step for IPOB. However, IPOB feel that international pressure is needed to ensure that the Nigerian Government abide by the provisional measure and end the human rights violations against IPOB.