IPOB announces Trump solidarity rally
A pro-Biafra group on Wednesday announced its intention to hold a rally in Nigeria in support of Donald Trump on his inauguration day as US president.
Hundreds of protests against Trump are expected to take place around the world on Friday when the billionaire businessman is sworn into office as 45th president of the United States.
But the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement is bucking the trend, choosing instead to rally on the Republican’s behalf in Nigeria’s southern oil hub, Port Harcourt.
IPOB released a statement inviting people to participate in a “peaceful solidarity rally for the United States president-elect Donald J Trump,” saying they “welcome civil and pragmatic democracy anywhere we find it”.
IPOB is part of a wider secessionist movement that advocates an independent state of Biafra, a region in southeast Nigeria that unsuccessfully fought for independence in a brutal three-year civil war that ended in 1970.
Early on in the US presidential race, IPOB threw its support behind Trump in the belief he would recognise their independence movement.
Soon after Britons voted to leave the European Union in a referendum last July, the group pushed for its own version of “Brexit” from Nigeria that it dubbed “Biafrexit”.
Prince Emmanuel Kanu, the brother of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, who has been held by the Nigerian government since October 2015 on treason charges, said of Trump: “He supports the right to self-determination.”
Separatist sentiment has grown in the months since Kanu’s arrest and sparked bloody clashes with security forces that have since been condemned by human rights groups.