On Heroes’ Day, Biafran community holds protest in Delhi seeking freedom from Nigeria

The demonstrators, hailing from Biafra in eastern Nigeria, paid homage to those killed during the 1967- 1970 period while defending Biafra and lit candles in their memories.

Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi | Updated: May 31, 2016 3:00 am
Biafrans, Nigeria, Biafrans Nigeria, Biafrans protest, Biafrans delhi protest, delhi protest, protest, india news They also demanded release of their leader Nmamdi Kanu jailed since October 2015. (Source: Express photo)

At a time when racial attacks on Africans in the capital are making headlines, there is one African community that finds itself immersed in another issue altogether. On Monday afternoon, over a hundred Biafrans held a peaceful demonstration at Jantar Mantar to commemorate Heroes’ Day, where they remember those who died in the civil war between Nigeria and Biafra from 1967-70.

Bob Otujeme (36), one of the demonstrators says, “Today, our only purpose is to mourn our dead, nothing else. Of course, we condemn the attacks. But today is about letting India know that we need to be free, and to ask for the release of our leader Nmamdi Kanu who was arrested by Nigerian police last year.”

After the two-hour long protest, 30 of them leave for a meal and a discussion at their coordinator’s home in north Delhi. In the cramped living room of 46-year-old Mazi Obioha, the smell of Jollof rice — a Biafran chicken and rice delicacy — wafts in.

The Biafran radio — founded by Kanu — has been running news of an alleged clash on Heroes’ Day in Biafra, where a few pro-Biafra protesters have been shot dead.

Share This Article
Share
Related Article

“These protesters died doing exactly what we were doing at Jantar Mantar — holding a peaceful rally. We meet every Sunday to discuss peaceful and legal means of attaining our freedom from Nigeria,” says Franklin Egwim (36).

The optimist in Obioha hopes that the same day next year, he will be in Biafra celebrating the Independence Day of “a country that was”. “If that doesn’t happen, I hope at least the rally in Delhi next year will have three or four times more people in attendance,” he adds.

Biafra declared independence from Nigeria on May 30, 1967. A civil war broke out soon after and waged for three years. In 1970, Biafra was reintegrated with Nigeria.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. V
    Vish
    May 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm
    It seems that this group who all themselves biafrans, might be testing waters in India to claim refugee status and hang around.
    (0)(0)
    Reply
    1. H
      Henry
      May 30, 2016 at 2:39 pm
      That is a nice step taken by our dear brothers. I congratulate you for this positive move, and pray that our supplication be heard by God, who alone is capable of making it come to a reality.
      (0)(0)
      Reply
      1. H
        Hari Panicket
        May 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm
        Biafra was the main item on the news in 1967-70, when it received help from many countries during its 'independence' period. But Nigerian forces were helped by Western countries to crush the Biafra movement. Despotic rule in Nigeria, now hit by terrorism, and economic downturns due to the drop in oil prices, have no time or funds for development!
        (0)(0)
        Reply
        1. Ikem Onuoha
          May 30, 2016 at 3:33 pm
          Now come lets reason together. Nigerian consution guarantees freedom of worship, freedom of peaceful embly and right to self determination, making the protest and agitation embarked by Biafrans, like many other similar protests across the country, legitimate. I stop to wonder why Nigerian soldiers shot ordinary unarmed citizens exercising their legitimate right of worship, peaceful embly and self determination. Soldiers shot and killed people who were praying in Aba in broad day light; soldiers shot and killed people who were sleeping at Niger bridge in the early hours of the morning; soldiers shot and killed Biafran protesters in Onitsha, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Aba; soldiers abducted and killed in Onitsha, Awka, Enugu and Port Harcourt; soldiers killed and dump Biafran protesters in boro pit in Aba. Boko Haram bombed churches in the North-East, Boko Haram killed Christians in the North East. Fulani herdsmen macred communities in Kogi, Fulani herdsmen macred communities in Benue, Anambra and Ebonyi. Fulani herdsmen beheaded a monarch in Ebonyi, rapped women in Enugu and kidnapped Olu Falae. Hausa boys protected by soldiers killed in Lagos, Hause man protected by Emir of Kano abducted and raped 14 years old Bayelsa girl; and so on and so forth. Buhari government accuse Nnamdi Kanu of possessing a pump-action shot-gun and charged him to court while Hausa-Fulani blood leeches carry AK47 riffles indiscriminately terrorising the entire nation. The food for thought is this: Fulani cattle herdsmen are armed by the northern people with sophisticated AK47 ault rifles to protect ordinary cattle and guide them to destroy farm lands in Biafra land. So if Nnamdi Kanu demands for arms to protect his people from Boko Haram, what is wrong with that? Buhari and APC floated a pirate radio station in Northern Nigeria (Radio Changi) to bring down Jonathan's Government and to enslave Biafra, and Prof Soyinka and Dele Mamoud floated Radio Kudirate to bring down Abacha government, so if Nnamdi Kanu floats Radio Biafra to free Biafrans, what is wrong with that? Buhari and his collaborators committed treason in 1967 by killing/overthrowing Nigeria Head State, General Agueyi Ironsi and in 1983 by overthrowing Shagari, so if Citizen Nnamdi Kanu commits treasonable felony to free Biafrans, what is wrong with that? If you can freely say you want One Nigeria because it serves your purpose, why can’t I say I want divided Nigeria that will serve my purpose? Agueyi Ironsi said let’s have a Unitary Government, Hausa, Fulani and Yoruba said no and killed him. Ojukwu said let’s have a confederation you said no and went to war with him. What do you want us to do? To watch you continue to butcher us in northern Nigeria since 1945 or to push us inside the Lagos lagoon? What is wrong with those who call themselves Nigerians is simple: monkeys, baboons and chimpanzees in the zoo. Those who make peaceful release of Nnamdi Kanu impossible of course make the continues protest for his release inevitable.
          (0)(0)
          Reply
          1. Ikem Onuoha
            May 30, 2016 at 3:36 pm
            Today Nigeria soldiers of the zoo country again shot our Biafran people in a church and across the city of Onitsha. The Indian Government should speak out against this man inhumanity to man
            (0)(0)
            Reply
            1. Load More Comments