Special Counsel for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, has declared that conduct of referendum is legal.
The lawyer recalled that it was through referendum that Nigeria gained the old Adamawa Province and lost Southern Cameroun, adding that it was through referendum that some countries were created.
He also said, “it was through referendum that the then Midwestern Region of Nigeria came into being in 1964,” noting that it was through referendum that Atiku Abubakar became a Nigerian.
Speaking during a chat with The Guardian on the reported call by IPOB to use referendum to determine if a section of Nigeria, referred to as Biafra, should be allowed to separate from Nigeria, Ejimakor said that none of those that had agitated for referenda was killed or extraordinarily renditioned or even arrested as is the case with his client, Kanu.
Pointing out that all the above scenarios took place within Nigeria, not counting the many nations that were created through referendum, such as Eritrea, Kosovo, South Sudan, etc, he stressed that the problem is not the separatist agitation, IPOB or Nnamdi Kanu.
“The problem is the misguided militarist response to the agitation, which instead of containing it, is actually validating the agitation and convulsing South East and Nigeria to boot,” he said.
He added that the recent United Nations directives on Kanu for his unconditional release from detention and payment of compensation, has affirmed separatist agitation as legal and that referendum as a legitimate tool for resolving separatist demands.
Ejimakor queried why “the call for referendum by IPOB would trigger the level of aggression that culminated in the extraordinary rendition of Kanu and the crushing military operations in the South East.”