The deputy leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Uche Okafor-Mefor, has said that denunciation or renunciation of citizenship in peacetime is a voluntary process whether accepted by the parent state or not.
We have been asking for Referendum right from the beginning and have not ceased. Denunciation or renunciation of citizenship in peacetime is a voluntary process whether accepted by the parent state or not. For us Biafrans, it is and should remain a continuous process taken into account our uniques experience before, during and after the war with Nigeria. Renunciation of Nigerian citizenship (especially for Biafrans abroad) is now all the more important and as such a periodic, renewed process because with the signing of the ”instrument of surrender” by the Biafran leadership at the end of war in 1970, Biafrans temporarily lost their Biafran citizenship (but not their identity) and Nigerian (the occupation force’s) citizenship was forced on Biafrans through ANNEXATION (actual or physical appropriation of territory) and then CONQUEST( a legal process of title transfer from the defeated to the victorious side) all by force. This was the reality after the war. Here, recognition, in this case, is very crucial because even though ANNEXATION OR CONQUEST is illegal in contemporary international law, and prohibited by the United Nations, some states ignore it anyway. The international community recognised the illegal Nigerian conquest and annexation of Biafran territories because they agreed with the fraudulent OAU leadership that allowing Biafra to go will trigger cessation and disintegration in most of the newly independent African states at the time. That was the ugly unique position Biafrans found themselves in. Your reasoning or suggestion that IPOB should learn from the case study examples you gave is, therefore, in my view objectively flawed because you failed to recognise that the ”instrument of surrender” and the ”signing of a pact/agreement” to reintegrate Biafrans into Nigeria on behalf of Biafrans by the then Biafran leadership was a setback with reference to the citizenship issue( they may be justified on other grounds though) . Or are you not aware that Biafrans willingly availing themselves of Nigerian citizenship by applying for and obtaining Nigerian passports(whether you are forced or not) makes you a Nigerian? To elucidate more, the fraudulent Nigerian 1999 constitution has a provision for renunciation under section 29 (1). For avoidance of doubt, there is no need to burn a Nigerian passport but at the same time, this is down to the individual person. In reality, the Nigerian authorities are frightened and have never accepted the application from Biafrans who apply because of their Biafraness years after filling the forms but it is important that public awareness is constantly made to the outside world. The only way to denigerianise ourselves of our Nigerian citizenships is by denouncing that citizenship and this should start with those abroad in a public ceremony letting the world know that Nigerian citizenship was forced on Biafrans as they did not have any other choice left for them. And this would be reinforced through aggressive public enlightenment. For our purposes, we cannot renounce in your bedroom nor continue to claim that the declaration of Biafra in the 1960s did all the work forgetting that something happened along the line.
REFERENDUM will ultimately and ideally, effectively settle the contentious issue of the right to self-determination of the Biafran people. But to make that a reality, we must continue to embark on a combination of certain mass civil disobedience conducts. Renunciation of Nigerian citizenship is one of such.