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ANALYSIS OF IPOB AGITATION AND IT IMPLICATION ON NATIONAL SECURITY: A CASE STUDY OF SOUTH EAST NIGERIA

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ANALYSIS OF IPOB AGITATION AND IT IMPLICATION ON NATIONAL SECURITY: A CASE STUDY OF SOUTH EAST NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

All around the world, people take security seriously. It is acknowledged as one of a state's most important responsibilities. Security can be defined as freedom from threats or violence that could cause the loss of lives or property, and it has historically been a necessary element of human existence and subsistence. In other words, security is a situation in which people are protected against risks to their lives and livelihoods, such as physical damage, disease, unemployment, and human rights violations, wherever they may be within a sovereign nation. Without addressing issues of human security first, a nation cannot advance (Otto & Ikpere 2013). The lack of security in a state gives birth to concepts like failed states, failing states, and collapsed states in international relations. One could argue that an unstable state loses credibility in the eyes of its people and the international community.

Surprisingly, Unprecedented levels of insecurity have plagued Nigeria, which is typically referred to as Africa's "giant," as a result of bandit organizations, kidnapping rings, assassination rings, and secessionist organizations. Claims of marginalization among the many ethnic and cultural communities are prominent among these issues. In Nigeria, there appears to be a political imbalance, and many people believe that the main causes of the civil war's escalation in 1966 have not been addressed. At the time, the region's premier, Michael Okpara, openly threatened to do so because of the circumstances surrounding the federal elections that were held in December 1964. But in 1967, the Eastern region, under the leadership of Lt. Col. Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, mounted a significant attempt to secede from Nigeria, which shocked the whole federation. The entire federation was shaken by this attempt. This was a response to the genocide carried out in the North against the Igbo people as a result of the counter-coup that happened in July 1966. The wanton slaughter of their people and the indifferent attitude of the central government led the Igbo people to conclude they were not wanted as members of the Nigerian federation. Yet, this led to a protracted civil war that resulted in the deaths of approximately 1.8 million Igbo citizens. Injustice, marginalisation, and persecution of the Igbo people have nevertheless persisted since the end of the conflict (Ezemenaka & Prouza, 2016; Awofeso, 2017).

Following the end of the civil war in 1970, the military regime headed by Gen. Yakubu Gowon introduced the three strategies known as reconciliation, reconstruction, and rehabilitation. The goal of the reconciliation strategy was to reintegrate the inhabitants of the former eastern region into the fabric of Nigerian society. Despite this regulation, survivors of the conflict from the region were only granted £20 (twenty pounds), regardless of the amount in their bank accounts at the time. Not only that, but their property, particularly in the states of Lagos and Rivers, was designated as abandoned. One may also believe that the spirit of reconciliation ought to influence people in this region's political appointments, but that did not happen. This is demonstrated by the fact that no Igboman has been elected president of Nigeria since 1970, and that up until Godluck Jonathan's administration in 2011, no Igbo man had ever led the army. Several residents of the eatern region continue to insist that there was no reconciliation at all and that the Igbos are still being excluded for the reasons listed above. The same could be said of reconstruction and rehabilitation, when following the civil war, not a single reconstruction project was undertaken in the area. In fact, the North and West, where there was no conflict, are more visible for rehabilitation and other federal programmes. 

Notably, people from southeast region has continue to complain about inequality and marginalisation in the allocation of political positions, contracts, and political projects, among other things, to this day. This has subsequently sparked a new and renewed push for Biafra's independence as a sovereign state. Yet the possibility of secessionist agitations and movements is not wholly new to Nigeria's political landscape. Instead, they have consistently been a part of Nigerian politics; yet, the significance they now have is not entirely unrelated to the issue of the nation's identity. In other words, they kept acting as a platform for calling for proper political accommodations and as a real tool in the hands of the agitators for airing their grievances against the Nigerian government. In other words, they remained to be a means of expressing opposition to the Nigerian government (Alumona, Azom & Iloh, 2017).

Orji, Iwuamdi & Nwachukwu (2016) took a stance on the conversation and conceptualised separatist agitation as the result of interactions between collective victimhood and the inclusion of a specific group within a larger entity. They did this in order to further their idea. They propagate the notion that, and vice versa, there is typically more separatist agitation during periods of high collective victimhood and low social inclusion. In other words, whenever a certain minority feels collectively disadvantaged, complacent, or monetarily disenfranchised inside a particular political system, separatist unrest is constantly fostered. This is due to the fact that lack of power is a result of marginalisation, indifference, and economic enfranchisement.  However, the collective victimization and separatist feelings in the south-eastern region and the renewed agitation for Biafra and the demand for restructuring of the Nigerian federal system triggered our research into this topic Hence, the study is focused on  the analysis of IPOB agitation and it implication on National security: A case study of South East Nigeria.

Statement of the problem

Overtime, Nigeria's history is plagued with stumbling blocks caused by unsolved national issues. The rise of groups in the South-East claiming self-determination and political independence, such as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is one of the principal expressions of some of these unresolved concerns and is seen as one of the most significant.  The arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and director of the Web-based Radio Biafra, on accusations of sedition, ethnic provocation, and treasonable crime, on October 19, 2015, triggered the recent rallies by Biafra separatists. Since November 2015, the Igbo-dominated South Eastern Area of Nigeria has seen demonstrations by Biafra separatists, primarily IPOB.  More so, the radio Biafra has become the most viable media for advocating  a separate Biafra state. Howev er, regardless of the fact thata IPOB's campaign is founded on non-violence commitments, its members have clashed with police on numerous occasions, claiming provocation - clashes that have resulted in multiple deaths. 

For example Jannah (2018) reckoned that  on December 2, 2015, the protests turned violent, with two police officers and nine protestors dead among the thousands who had gathered to block the important Niger Bridge in the commercial metropolis of Onitsha, Anambra State. Numerous assets were demolished during the riots, including the city's Central Mosque and eight vehicles belonging to Dangote Group, a conglomerate owned by Northern businessman Aliko Dangote. Many protestors were reportedly been murdered in skirmishes with police personnel in Onitsha, Aba, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Asaba. Thus,  Nigerian military opening fire on nonviolent IPOB supporters and bystanders who clearly posed no threat to anyone has become  appalling and use of unjustified and excessive force that resulted in several deaths and injuries is now the new order. Amnesty International (2016) accused the military for a history of extrajudicial killings of Biafran supporters that precede the current regime. For example, where fifty remains believed to be Biafra supporters were discovered adrift in the Ezu River in Anambra State in January 2013. Yet, the Nigerian government has not adequately probed any of the past or current killings.

Contrary to popular belief, armed thugs have attacked merchants and commuters throughout the region, and the current state of insecurity in the South East is terrifying and requires prompt action. Considering the high rate of senseless killings and mayhem in the Eastern Region, it appears  previously calm region into a battlefield. Other instances of injustice include the militarization of the region and the attribution of guilt to IPOB prior to investigation and arrest. It's ridiculous to keep accusing "unknown gunmen."  Bizzarely, Alumona, Azam, & Iloh, (2017) stated that althouhg many families have lost loved ones as a result of this negligent behaviour, even the mainstream IPOB isn't helping matters by calling for sit-ins whenever Nnamdi Kanu's case is mentioned in court. Thus, unknown is whether or not this action will benefit the case as Igbo’s believe that IPOB's order to close down the South East territory will exacerbate an already bad situation. As a result, they urge IPOB to find a less destructive way to assist them while the conflict continues.

However,  as a result of the above mentioned incidents and the rising insecurity in the region, scholars and researchers have been only able to conduct few studies on the impact of seccessionist agitation on national security with reference to IPOB in southeast region (Ekwueme, 2018).Agisnt the backdrop, the study seesk examine IPOB agitation and its implications for national security: A case study of South East Nigeria.

 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to Analyze IPOB agitation and it implication on National security: A case study of South East Nigeria. The specific objectives is as follows:

To examine the reasons for sectional agitations for self-determination in the southeast of Nigeria by IPOB

To examine  the effect of IPOB agitation on National security.

To assess the impact of sectional agitations of IPOB on national development.

 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

What are the reasons for sectional agitations for self-determination in the southeast of Nigeria by IPOB?

What are  the effect of IPOB agitation on National security?

What is the impact of sectional agitations of IPOB on national development?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho1:  IPOB sectional agitation has no significant  effect  on national security

Ho2:  IPOB sectional agitation has no significant  impact  on  national development

1.6 Significance of the study

Theoretically the study will be of much importance to political analysts and students in general. It will as well serve as a reference point on issues that deal with self-determination and enhance further studies. Practically, the study is important to the masses to let them understand the causes for sectional agitation by IPOB and MASSOB, their impacts and effect. Policy makers who come across this study will understand why various policies do not suit the sectional agitators and so the study will guide them in making better efficient and effective policies that will cover the interest of all IPOB and MASOB who claim to represent the interest of the southeast Nigeria will find this study relevant as it discusses their goals, what they stand for and their impact toward national development in Nigeria.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study will examine the reasons for sectional agitations for self-determination in the southeast of Nigeria by IPOB. The study will also examine  the effect of IPOB agitation on National security. The study will further assess the impact of sectional agitations of IPOB on national development. Geographically, the study is delimited to Southeastern part of Nigeria. Specifically, the respondent for this study will be obtained from selected local governments in Anambra State.

1.8  Limitations of the Study

The researchers faced a few minor obstacles while conducting the study, just as in every scientific endeavour. Few  literature on IPOB agitation and it implication on national security was a key barrier. Hence, locating the pertinent resources, books, or information and the data gathering procedure took a lot of effort and organisation. The study solely covers SouthEast region and has a limited sample size since all residents of the five states (Abia, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi) cannot be sampled. Thus the accuracy of the result will totally base on the data provided to the researcher by the responses of student and the results of this study cannot be generalized, leaving a space for further research. Time restrictions were also an issue because the researcher had to complete this research while still going to classes and performing other necessary educational tasks.  However all aspects were minimized in order to deliver the best results possible and ensure the success of the research, despite the limitations that were faced during the study.


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