- The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has recognized a European Union Parliament member as its trusted advocate
- The group said Julie Ward has made remarkable efforts to speak against injustice and dehumanization against the group, its leadership and members
- IPOB also called on its members worldwide to appreciate Ward and his assistant on social media platform, twitter
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has recognized a European Union Parliament member as its trusted advocate.
The IPOB said Julie Ward has made remarkable efforts to speak against injustice and dehumanization against the group, its leadership and members.
A statement signed by IPOB’s spokesperson Powerful Emma, the group called on all its members worldwide to show appreciation to the EU parliament member.
“We salute the courage of Julie Ward [MEP] for her stance and the defence of human rights of Biafrans as she remains our trusted advocate at the European Parliament as the EU once again answers an urgent question on the continued human rights abuses meted out on our leader Nnamdi Kanu and all our brothers being incarcerated with him and in the different secret cells in the contraption called Nigeria,” Emma said.
Emma added: “Biafrans, please go to the twitter platform and show appreciation to MP Julie Ward [MEP] @julie4nw and able assistant, Eleanor Quinn for their resilience and kindness.”
On behalf of the IPOB, Emma commended Ward, her assistant and other members of the parliament for their resilience in seeking answers from the European Union on the detention of Nnamdi Kanu and other members of the group.
Below are the questions asked by Ward and the response from the EU vice president and high representative Federica Mogherini:
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Question for written answer P-009557/2016 to the Commission (Vice-President / High Representative)
Julie Ward (S&D)
Subject: VP/HR - Unlawful detention of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and continued violence against Biafran supporters by the Nigerian Government
Since 14 October 2015, Nnamdi Kanu has been illegally held in prison by the Nigerian Government, despite being acquitted of all charges.
In addition, the Nigerian Government is reportedly violating the human rights of Biafran activists. Amnesty International has documented cases of arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and killing of supporters.
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1. Will the VP/HR advocate for the immediate and unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu and co-defendants Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, and challenge the actions of the Nigerian Government?
2. Will the VP/HR denounce the violence carried out against Biafran supporters by Nigerian security forces and call for an impartial investigation into the arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and killing of supporters and members of pro-Biafran groups?
3. Will the VP/HR push the Nigerian Government to safeguard human rights by calling for guarantees on the freedom of expression of all Nigerian citizens, including their right to protest without harm, and the termination of violence against Biafrans?
Answer given by vice president Mogherini on behalf of the Commission
The European Union (EU) is concerned about the violence that has erupted in relation to the Biafra movement.
The EU follows closely the fate of Nwannekaenyi “Nnamdi” Kenny Okwu Kanu, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi since their arrest in October 2015 and, more broadly, pays close attention to the treatment of the pro-Biafra movement by Nigerian authorities.
The EU supports individuals' right to protest and express them freely, as long as this right is exercised in a peaceful manner. Potential prosecutions should also be carried out in a manner compatible with the rule of law.
The EU raises human rights issues at every opportunity with the Nigerian authorities, to encourage them to respect human rights, and to improve the rule of law. This issue will be on the agenda of the next EU – Nigeria Ministerial Dialogue due to take place in Abuja this spring.
In the implementation of the European Development Fund, the Commission is also engaged in building capacities to enable Nigeria to fulfil its human rights commitments, as “rule of law, governance and democracy” is one of the three sectors of concentration of the National Indicative Programme for Nigeria.