UNPO Welcomes New Member: Meet Biafra!
The XV General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization saw the UNPO welcome five new members. The third new member to be welcomed was the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra/Biafra Independence Movement (BIM-MASSOB), for the Biafran people of Nigeria. The BIM-MASSOB has joined the UNPO because they wish to secede from Nigeria and become their own sovereign state. Having been poorly mistreated for decades as a part of Nigeria, the BIM-MASSOB is no longer willing to sacrifice people’s live in Nigeria. Attacks on Biafran lands and people continue everyday, while the Nigerian government has clamped down on non-violent organisations and the leader of BIM-MASSOB has been sent to prison numerous times.
The 20th century was extremely tumultuous for Biafra. The people briefly enjoyed a spell of independence between 1967 and 1970. However, this resulted in a deadly civil war that killed almost 2 million people (most of who were young children) who died of starvation due to a blockade imposed on the region by the Nigerian government. After surrendering to the Nigerian authorities, the region was heavily exploited by the Nigerian military through military roadblocks, who extorted around $100 million every year. Ever since, resentment and dissatisfaction have grown among the native people of Biafra towards Nigeria.
By joining the UNPO, the BIM-MASSOB want to have their voice heard by the rest of the world. They want their rights to be respected and for them to be able to express their right to self-determination. They also want to stop all the violence being perpetrated against them unabated and, by joining the UNPO, have committed to using non-violent methods to achieve their goals. As such, the UNPO warmly welcomes the BIM-MASSOB to its membership and fully supports the Biafran people’s right to self-determination. Moreover, the UNPO condemns all human rights violations being perpetrated against the BIM-MASSOB movement and the Biafran people by the state of Nigeria.
Photo: AFOLABI SOTUNDE/REUTERS