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India Prime Minister did not declare support for Biafra’s split from Nigeria

Claim: Multiple reports claim that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has declared support at the United Nations for Biafra’s split from Nigeria.

The Indian PM has not declared support for Biafra’s split from Nigeria, at the UN.

Full Text

Reports have emerged claiming the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has declared support for Biafra’s split from Nigeria. The widespread reports claim Mr Modi made this call while addressing the United Nations General Assembly.

It reported the Indian PM as saying: “The issue of BIAFRA agitation has to be properly addressed; self determination has always been a civil right which is Guaranteed under the international laws. When a region seeks to break away from a given country, the first thing to do is to address the problems driving such propositions. If the issue is something that can’t be addressed, partition has to be offered for them to conduct a REFERENDUM to decide their fate. Nigeria’s problems emanated from their earlier political leaders who failed to reestablish themselves after gaining independence in 1960.”

Biafra, Nigeria’s Eastern region, which attempted to secede in 1967, sparked a tortuous 30-month civil war which cost the lives of at least 2 million people – mostly women and children.

Over five decades after the civil war, Nigeria faces renewed calls for secession by the Igbo-speaking south-east region, fuelled by historical, political and economic grievances as well as allegations of marginalisation. Despite government clampdowns, agitations have gained momentum, with the separatists seeking support and recognition from the international community for Biafra’s independence.

The claim was also widely reported by blogs and shared on multiple pages on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, including the verified page of popular newspaper, Daily Times.

Screenshot of the report on Daily Times Newspapers’ verified page
Screenshot of the claim widely shared on Twitter

Photos of the Indian Prime Minister, including one in which he was addressing the United Nations General Assembly, are featured in the report, purportedly in a bid to enhance the claim’s authenticity.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making organ of the UN, comprising all 193 member states of the organisation. It provides a forum where the world’s nations gather to discuss common problems and find shared solutions for the benefit of all of humanity.

Picture of the Indian PM at the UNGA used to illustrate the report

Verification

Investigations by DUBAWA showed that apart from the blogs and social media pages identified, no credible local or international media reported the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, as making the statement credited to him in the reports.

Further checks showed that Modi did not declare or rally support for Biafran agitations to split from Nigeria at the United Nations General Assembly. Photos of Modi at the UN used in the reports, particularly one where he was addressing the General Assembly, are from the 69th UN General Assembly, DUBAWA found.

In his address at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2014 at UN headquarters in New York, Modi made no reference to Nigeria, Biafra or its secessionist agenda.

The Indian PM called on world leaders to enable a more stable, inclusive growth and genuine international partnerships that will provide access to basic sanitation, electricity and drinking water, for the world’s people.

“At one level, it means a better coordination of policy so that our efforts become mutually supportive, not mutually damaging,” he said.

The statement was also not from the Indian PM’s recent address at the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2021. Modi’s address reeled out amongst other things, India’s development of COVID-19 and DNA vaccines – the first in the world.

“I would like to inform the UNGA that India has developed the world’s first DNA vaccine,” he said.

Modi decried increased terrorism threats and its damage in the world, while rallying support for the people of Afghanistan. He urged the international community to fulfil its duty by providing them with this help.

This report, as DUBAWA has found, is just another false claim of countries declaring support for a republic of Biafra.

Conclusion

DUBAWA has found that contrary to claims in the viral reports, evidence shows that the Indian PM, Narendra Modi, did not declare or rally support for Biafra’s secession from Nigeria during any of his addresses at the 69th and 76th United Nations General Assembly in 2014 and 2021, respectively.

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