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Nigeria’s neo-Biafrans will push renewed rights claims

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Significance

As Nigeria marks the 50th anniversary of the start of its civil war -- when part of south-east Nigeria declared itself the independent state of Biafra -- President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is facing the largest secessionist revival since the war concluded in 1970. Groups such as Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have long limited their tactics to peaceful means. However, government repression is having a radicalising effect, with groups such as IPOB becoming more confrontational and new secessionist groups emerging.

Impacts

  • The government would struggle to function if ongoing mass protests combine with renewed insurgency north and south.
  • The Islamic Movement in Nigeria organisation will watch the IPOB case for any government concessions they may also be able to extract.
  • Nigeria’s five overwhelmingly Igbo states voted for the People’s Democratic Party in 2015 and could do so again in 2019.
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