The construction of tenor, identities and power relations in online discourses on indigenous people of Biafra (Ipob)

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Ikenna Kamalu
Orowo Precious Atoma


Previous studies on ethnic, religious and political expressions and activities in Nigeria have examined issues such as religious and political intolerance between and among groups. In particular, the activities of pro-Biafra groups such as that of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Biafra Zionist Movement (BZM), Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) among others in real life and in online forums have also been studied by scholars from different ideological and theoretical standpoints. However, none of these studies examined the deliberate expression of ethnic, religious and political identities and otherness in the discourses that emanate from the arrest, detention and trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the separatist founder of IPOB, by the government of Nigeria. This study aims at unearthing the deep sense of exclusion that underlies the reactions that trail his arrest and trial in online platforms. A total of twenty online comments were purposively selected and analysed within the tenets of critical discourse analysis (CDA) in order to unearth the ethnic, religious and political ideologies that underlie them. This study gives an insight into how individual and group ideologies in online discourses can threaten the autonomous face wants of others and also that of the corporate existence of the nation. The theoretical orientation adopted for the study leads to the understanding that ethnic, political and religious sentiments underlie the use of language in crisis/conflict situations in the Nigerian context. This study significantly espouses the notion that there is the need for equity, social justice and mutual trust between groups in Nigeria.


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Kamalu, I., & Atoma, O. P. (2019). The construction of tenor, identities and power relations in online discourses on indigenous people of Biafra (Ipob). Journal of Gender and Power, 12(2), 97-115.


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