Nigeria’s Growing Community Of Hebrews Increasingly Targeted With Violence Over Separatist Biafra Movement

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
Biafra
Nnamdi Kanu is a British-Nigerian political activist who formed the Indigenous People of Biafra movement in 2014 before being exiled to Israel. (AP Photo File)

Although the presence of Jews in Nigeria is disputed, a fast-growing Jewish population in the West African country has attracted the wrath of the Nigerian government.

There are about 10,000 people in Nigeria’s Jewish community, mostly from Nigeria’s third-largest tribe, the Igbo, with at least 20 synagogues.

Nnamdi Kanu, a British-Nigerian political activist who is Jewish, reignited the late 1960s Biafra separatist campaign when he formed the Indigenous People of Biafra in 2014. His political activism led to his arrest and exile to Israel.

The secessionist movement in the Biafra region is now at risk.

Although the Igbo Jews do not directly link themselves to Kanu’s movement, they have previously joined peaceful marches seeking a separate state for Biafra.

This has led to increasingly targeted attacks by Nigerian security agents on the small Jewish community.

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In December 2018, some 50 members of the Jewish community were arrested in the southeast state of Abia for calling for the separation of Biafra. There have been several previous arrests linked to the separatist movement.

Nigerian authorities, however, say they are only targeting a terrorist group, OZY reported.

Half the Igbo jews of West Africa are now living in Israel, according to the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel or IBSI. They are survivors of the Biafra War in Nigeria (1968-1970) in which 3 million Igbos were massacred by the Nigerian government.

“We BIAFRAS are decendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are going back to our ancestral home Israel, any attack to IGBO Jews is attack to ISRAELITES, you can’t stop GOD choosing people,” @kianadaeze tweeted.