Working Paper

The Nigerian State and the Resurgence of Separatist Agitations: The Case of Biafra

In recent times, separatist movements in the South East geopolitical zone have stepped-up struggles for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra through protests and other forms of social mobilization. The protests have triggered tension and heightened insecurity, with the security agencies applying excessive force to quell the protests. The extant literature is awash with narratives regarding the recent upsurge and persistent centrifugal demands by pro-Biafra separatists, four decades after the Nigerian civil war. Although these analyses are germane to the subject matter, they essentially suffer from disjointed empiricism, and as such unable to adequately illuminate the understanding of the renewed Biafra separatist agitations. With the aid of secondary data generated through documentary sources, this study systematically presents evidence to demonstrate that pro-Biafra separatist agitations derive from the deteriorating material conditions of the people. Accordingly, the study argues that certain actions, inactions and policies of the Nigerian government, which are perceived to be targeted against the Igbo, have created the feelings of collective victimization among the people which sustains and reinforces the separatist agitations. Moreso, the study highlight the interplay of forces that account for the inability of the Nigerian government to concretely address the challenges of nation-building, and their overall implications for peace-building
and sustainable development in Nigeria.