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During the beginning years of Nigeria's colonial independence, the Igbo people increasingly came to be perceived as a disproportionately-favoured ethnic group with affluence and multi-regionalistic opportunity due to the Igbo being employed within colonial Nigeria by the colonial authorities and in the public sector in regions throughout the country. This aroused the ire of others toward the Igbo.
This was exacerbated by the short-lived government of General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, whose military junta consisted mostly of Igbo and who abolished the federated regions; this led to his assassination in a counter-coup led primarily by Northern participants. It was followed by the massacre of thousands of Igbo in pogroms in the Northern region, which drove millions of Igbos to their homeland in Eastern Nigeria; ethnic relations deteriorated rapidly, and a separate republic of Biafra was declared in 1967, leading to the Biafran War.
The 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom was a series of massacres directed at Igbo and other people of southern Nigerian origin living in northern Nigeria starting in May 1966 and reaching a peak after 29 September 1966. During this period 30,000-50,000 Igbo civilians were murdered throughout northern Nigeria by Hausa–Fulani soldiers and civilians who sought revenge for the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état, carried out by six Majors and three Captains of Southern Nigerian extraction, and resulted in the deaths of 11 Nigerian politicians and army officers of Hausa, Fulani, Itsekiri and Yoruba origin. These events led to the Nigerian counter coup and eventually the secession of the eastern Nigerian region and the declaration of the Republic of Biafra, which ultimately led to the Nigeria-Biafra war. The 1966 massacres of southern Nigerians have been described as a holocaust by some authors and have variously been described as riots, pogroms or genocide.
The Republic of Biafra was a secessionist state in eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to January 1970. It took its name from the Bight of Biafra, the Atlantic bay to its south. The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. Other ethnic groups that constituted the republic were the Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Ejagham, Eket, Ibeno and the Ijaw, among others.
On August 2019, a Yoruba supremacist who immigrated to the United Kingdom from Nigeria was arrested by British police for making YouTube videos that contained violent hate speech towards the Igbo people, and he was later sentenced to prison in April 2022.