Days after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), supporters of the pro-Biafran movement are calling for a referendum on a possible breakaway of Biafran territories forcibly annexed to modern-day Nigeria during British colonisation. The Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) urged the British government, one of Nigeria's closest allies, to support a referendum on independence.

"There are indications that Scotland will restart their agitation for separation from Britain and both David Cameron and his would-be successor will not stop them nor will they roll out tanks and other lethal weapons to mow down the Scots like the British-supported Nigeria has been doing to Biafrans," read an Ipob statement seen by IBTimes UK.

"We have to re-emphasize here that self-determination is a right that must be exercised by all free people. "We also note the faulty argument by David Cameron and the British Government that they do not want to alter the pre-independence territorial integrity of Nigeria," continued the statement.

"But this same territorial integrity of Nigeria was tampered with by the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun. We recall that in 1982 Britain went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands but this same Britain never supported Nigeria to prevent the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun.

"From the success of BREXIT, we call upon the incoming Prime Minister to work with Buhari to speedily organize BIAFREXIT. The time has come for BIAFREXIT and Britain must support it."

Pro-Biafran movement today

An independent Republic of Biafra was established in 1967, but was reannexed to Nigeria in 1970, following a bloody civil war – known as Biafran war or Nigerian civil war – that killed millions of people.

The pro-Biafran movement has gained renewed momentum following the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, one of the leaders of the movement, in October 2015.

Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (ipob) and director of UK-based Radio Biafra, is standing trial on six counts of treasonable felony charges.

Kanu's wife, Uchechi Okwu-Kanu, told IBTimes UK her husband was a prisoner of conscience and urged the international community should intervene to free him.

More on Biafra history

Nigeria and UK's position on Biafra

The Nigerian government has always maintained that unity was a priority for the country and that, although peaceful pro-Biafran protests were welcome, a demand for the breakaway of the Biafran territories went against the constitution.

Nigeria's security forces have often been accused of violent acts against "unarmed" and "peaceful" pro-Biafran protesters – these are claims that the authorities strongly deny.

In an exclusive report by IBTimes UK, published in February, Amnesty International confirmed that Nigerian security forces had used excessive force against pro-Biafran protesters on some occasions.

The NGO published another report in June urging the Nigerian government to conduct an independent investigation on alleged killings of pro-Biafrans between 29 and 30 May 2016.

When contacted by IBTimes UK, the British government said: "The position of the UK government during the Biafran War is a matter of historical record. The UK government's position, which reflected the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity, was to recognise the borders laid down at Independence."

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