The Indigenous People of Biafra has announced the resumption of plans to hold a referendum towards the ‘peaceful restoration’ of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
IPOB said it has printed 40 million ballot papers to be used in the first phase of the referendum by Biafrans to determine their readiness to opt out of Nigeria.
According to Punch Newspaper, IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, in a statement on Tuesday, said the first phase of the ‘three-stage referendum’ would take place in 2018 although he did not disclose the date for the planned plebiscite.
He said the ballot papers would be distributed to all adults in every clan and village in ‘Biafraland’.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra wish to bring to the attention of the world that plans are at advanced stages in preparation for the first in our three-stage referendum process towards the peaceful, non-violent restoration of the nation of Biafra.
“Our decision to hold the first of the three plebiscites later this year has vindicated IPOB’s resilience in sticking to the principle of non-violent agitation for Biafra in the face of government brutality and treachery from enemies within.
“Efforts geared towards this first referendum is gathering unstoppable momentum with dates for the exercise to be announced imminently.
“Forty million ballot papers are being printed and readied for distribution to every clan and village in Biafraland for all adults over the age of 18 to express their preference,” the statement read partly.
Also in the statement, IPOB cited occasions where the Nigerian government had, in the past, conducted a referendum for some sections of the country.
“Again, on the 13th of July, 1963, Nigeria conducted another referendum which led to the creation of the defunct Mid-West Region from the supposedly Yoruba-dominated Western Region.
“The old Mid-Western Region comprised parts of today’s Delta and Edo states.“Referendum has been used in Nigeria before to resolve a seemingly intractable issue,” IPOB added.
The secessionist group noted that its mission “is to restore Biafra sovereignty via a democratic process and through the instrumentality of a three-stage referendum, the first of which will be held in the coming weeks.”