President Buhari speaks about self-determination

Pro-Biafra activists and some groups in Niger Delta region called for the secession, but president remains firm in his determination of united Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Since the detention of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu in October 2015, pro-Biafra activists have called for the secession from Nigeria.

The group has also called for the release of their leader who was detained on charges of treasonable felony, which he denies.

The militant group Niger Delta Avengers expressed solidarity with Biafra case calling for greater autonomy for the Niger Delta and threatening to seek secession from Nigeria, as South Sudan did from neighboring Sudan in 2011.

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However, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to maintain the unity of Nigeria and encouraged citizens to ignore groups looking to divide the country.

He had previously said that he would not tolerate agitation for Biafra if it interfered with Nigeria’s security and encouraged those protesting for independence to form a political party to campaign for their cause.

At the same time, in his address to the world leaders at the last summit of the United Nations, President Buhari spoke about self-determination of indigenous minorities.

He said: “At the same time, the Palestinian issue, despite years and years of international efforts is no nearer to being resolved. Nigeria in company with member States of the African Union, firmly support the Two-State solution with Palestinian rights to statehood in conformity, with numerous Security Council Resolutions beginning with Resolution 242 of 1967.”

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Watch a fragment of Buhari’s speech below:

State solution with Palestinian rights to statehood in conformity, with numerous Security Council Resolutions beginning with Resolution 242 of 1967.”

Watch a fragment of Buhari’s speech below:

The president also stated Nigeria’s position on flow of migrants, the vital role of youth to national development; and nuclear security.

Nigeria has had an ill-fated attempt at secession in 1967 when former Nigerian military officer Odumegwu Ojukwu announced an independent Republic of Biafra in southeast Nigeria, causing a three-year civil war in which more than 1 million people died.

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President Buhari while delivering Nigeria’s statement to the 70th session of the UNGA last year also called for the self-determination of indigenous minorities. He had said: “Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade.

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