Some Biafra secessionists have torn their Nigerian passports to press home their demand for the breakaway of the South-East from the Nigerian state.
As of Saturday, no fewer than three videos were seen on the online video sharing platform, YouTube, in which some Igbo denounced their citizenship of the country and declared their allegiance to Biafra.
The Nigeria Immigration Service has, however, warned that such act is criminal and attracts a jail term.
In one of the videos, the man introduced himself as Emenike Michael Nwofor. He said:
“My names are (sic) Emenike Michael Nwaofor. I’m from Nnewi in Biafra land; when there was Biafra, there wasn’t anything called Anambra State. I would refuse to add that name called Anambra State to it. I am from Nnewi, the former Enugu State.
“I am living here in Bordeaux (France); I am an asylum seeker in Bordeaux. I have been around Bordeaux for a year plus and we have been able to gather the Biafran family here in France; we have been able to register with the government of France as indigenous people of Biafra.”
After a long speech, he subsequently brought out his Nigerian passport and tore the pages.
In another video, a young man, who did not mention his name, also tore his Nigerian passport angrily.
In the third video, the man, who spoke in Igbo and French, tore his passport while using derogatory words on the government of Nigeria.
The Public Relations Officer of the NIS, Deputy Comptroller Ekpedeme King, while reacting to the development in an interview with SaharaReporters on Saturday, said the service was not aware of the passport tearing. King said:
Those who mentioned their names, if we find out that they tore their passports, will be taken to court. A process has to be followed.
There is a new Act called the Immigration Act 2015 which stipulates the punishment for any alteration or destruction of Nigerian passport; it is a jail term with conditions.”
Thousands of members and supporters of MASSOB had last Tuesday embarked on a protest in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, demanding to break away from Nigeria. This happened after the Department of State Services reportedly arrested and detained the founder of the guerrilla broadcasting channel, Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos on his arrival from London recently.
In a swift reaction, governors in the South-East and other leaders in the zone dissociated themselves from the protests, saying they were not in support of the group.