IPOB leader; Mazi Nnamdi Kanu; in a group picture
Authored by Chima Onyekachi – TBP
Certainly, the Indigenous People of Biafra led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has brought to fore the clamor for the restoration of Biafra into the mainstream polity in Nigeria and also the attention of the international community without shooting a single bullet. Really, I do not understand the reference to war by some supposedly knowledgeable fellows who would have been better enlightened on the rights of Indigenous people to exercise the right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. No doubt, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, have exhibited civility and diplomacy even in the face of brutality and killing against them by the Nigeria security forces and that significantly reveals that guerrilla warfare is not the first option been pursued in the quest for the restoration of Biafra.
The report of Amnesty International indicting the Nigeria security forces for extra judicial killings and violence against innocent and peaceful Biafrans is continuously been ridiculed by the Nigeria government. Shamefully, Acting President Yemi Osibanjo, a law professor, has declared that it is unlawful for the people of Biafra to seek their right to self-determination that is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Even the hate-filled Coalition of Arewa Youths that gave an ultimatum of three-months for the eviction of Biafrans from the northern region is tutoring the Nigeria Acting President on the rights to self-determination and the need for a referendum. It is unreasonable that those clamoring for the restoration of Biafra are been threatened with killings and arrest by the Nigeria government and its security forces.
Sadly, most northern elders have resorted to calling for war as the only means of disintegration of the country. That is a sheer display of ignorance and an urge for bloodshed. The Catalans in Spain and the Scottish people in the United Kingdom are also pursuing the same mission to become independent and their rights are been respected. Why is that of the people of Biafra different? Why does the Nigeria government always display the attitude of barbarism and violence as the solution in resolving most of its issues?
The world has witnessed numerous successful separations; Slovenia from former Yugoslavia, the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, division of the former Czechsloviakia, Singapore’s secession from Malaysia, the separation of both South Sudan from Sudan and Eritrea from Ethiopia, etc.
Over a hundred years of forceful amalgamation by the Britain’s Fredrick Lugard to create the contraption named Nigeria has resulted in nothing but bloodshed, marginalization, nepotism, division and underdevelopment. There is a huge contrast between the Indigenous nations that makes up the country and that has always geared towards religious and ethnic fracas. The creation of Nigeria by the British government is primarily for their selfish economic gain without recourse to those forcefully joined together. There is no willingness to unite in Nigeria as there are huge differences in religion, beliefs and custom.
From the chambers of the Nigeria National Assembly to the studios of media houses, there is need for orientation and change of tone about the meaning of self-determination. The fact that the Nigeria government is bringing forth war towards the clamor for the restoration of Biafra does not in any way entail that IPOB will jettison the peaceful approach been undertaken in exercising the right to self-determination.
Article 20:1 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right clearly states that “All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.”
The African Charter 20:2 continues “Colonized or oppressed peoples shall have the right to free themselves from the bonds of domination by resorting to any means recognized by the international community”
Let it be noted that the people of Biafra are not advocating for any form of guerilla warfare but only seeking to exercise the right to self-determination. Every sane commentator should be speaking on the need for a referendum to avoid crisis and bloodshed because Biafrans will defend themselves if war is brought into their homes. It is for the people of Biafra to decide whether they are still interested in the forced unity in Nigeria and not that of any religious, political or traditional leader.
Editor/Publisher: Chinwe Korie
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