Former minister of finance in Nigeria, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has denied making a statement concerning Biafra.
Although it is unclear what statement the former minister was referring to, she made the comment on Twitter on Thursday, 14th February, 2019.
“In South East Nigeria, there are many sentiments about the subject which has a large group of supporters in the region. Any link to them is fake news and must be disregarded”, she said from her Twitter profile.
“My attention has been drawn to a fake news making the rounds claiming I made a statement on Biafra. It is false and mischievous. Please disregard it”, she tweeted.
In October, 2017, ThisDayLive reported the appointment of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala as the ambassador to the United States of America.
According to Pulse News, The 64-year-old was assigned to the role by a pro-Biafra group called the Biafra Zionists Federation (BZF). At the time, a motivation for concern among its supporters was how to be acknowledged by the United States of America (USA).
Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state in Nigeria which existed from 30 May 1967 to January 1970; it was made up of the states in the Eastern Region of Nigeria.
Biafra’s attempt to leave Nigeria resulted in the Nigerian civil war. The state was formally recognised by Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Other nations, which did not give official recognition but provided support and assistance to Biafra, included Israel, France, Spain, Rhodesia, Norway, and Portugal.
The secession was led by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. The secession failed, thus ending the civil war which happened under General Yakubu Gowon’s regime.
Under President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime as a civilian president in 2014, the Biafra nation rose again, now led by an Igbo indigene, Nnamdi Kanu. He formed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The group wants a number of states in south-east Nigeria, made up mainly of people from the Igbo ethnic group, to break away from Nigeria and form the independent nation of Biafra.
To achieve this, the group is calling for a referendum, stating that they will continue to agitate until the Nigerian government fixes a date for the referendum “to settle the issue of Biafra in a civilised and democratic manner”.
On 20 September 2017, a Federal High Court in Abuja granted the Nigerian Federal Government an interim injunction proscribing the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Although news had it that Nnamdi Kanu disappeared, he later resurfaced in Israel with a message for Biafrans.
“I decree that there is no longer South East or South South Nigeria. It shall be known as Biafra. Without referendum, nothing will happen in Nigeria. IPOB will not participate in any election and that position will never change.
“IPOB is the largest mass movement in the whole world. We will not stop until Biafra is fully restored.
“Chukwu Okike Abiama has assured me that Biafra shall come. All collaborators will feel the full weight of the anger of the Biafran people.
“I am coming back to Biafra land soon and I will bring hell with me, the way it has never been seen before.”