Buhari stated this in an interview aired on Channels Television on Wednesday night which was monitored by SaharaReporters.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, should defend himself in court for peddling false information about his regime while he (Kanu) was overseas. Buhari stated this in an interview aired on Channels Television on Wednesday night which was monitored by SaharaReporters.
There have been pressures on Buhari to release Kanu including a recent visit by some Igbo elders led by Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi.
During the visit on November 19, 2021, Buhari had told them he would not want to interfere in the running of the judiciary but said he would consider their demand though “a heavy one.”
But speaking on Wednesday night during the television interview, the President said, “There is one institution that I wouldn’t interfere with, that is judiciary, Kanu’s case is with the judiciary but what I wonder is when Kanu was safely in Europe, abusing this administration and mentioning too many things, I thought he wants to come and defend himself on the accusations.
“So, we are giving him an opportunity to defend himself in our system, not to be abusing us from Europe as if he was not a Nigerian. Let him come here with us and then criticise us here. Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary, let him be listened to. But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him.”
When asked about the possibility for political solution, Buhari said, “There is a possibility of political solution. If people behave themselves, all well and good but you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problems against our country and thinking that you would not account for what you have been doing. Let him account for what he has been doing.”
Kanu, 54 from Abia State was first arrested in 2017 for demanding the secession of the South-East zone from Nigeria. After about three years abroad, Malami at a press briefing in Abuja on June 29, 2021, announced that the IPOB leader was re-arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria though Kanu’s lawyers said he was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria. Upon his re-arrest in June 2021, Kanu was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism-related charges brought against him by the AGF office. Kanu has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja while his trial is to continue on January 18, 2022.
The actor was first arrested by the Nigerian Army on October 7, 2021, around Upper Iweka in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Veteran Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, who was arrested by the Department of State Services for interrogation, has been flown to Abuja as part of investigations for allegedly inciting members of the public.
The actor was first arrested by the Nigerian Army on October 7, 2021, around Upper Iweka in Onitsha, Anambra State.
The army had come out to say it arrested Agu for soliciting support for the separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra.
He was subsequently handed over to the DSS for investigation and prosecution.
However, a relative of the Nollywood actor told Punch that the family had been denied access to him.
The relative, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the case, said Agu was first moved from Anambra to Enugu and then to Abuja.
He said attempts to see him in Abuja were rebuffed by the DSS.
“We spent two days trying to ascertain his whereabouts. We were later informed that he was moved to Enugu and then Abuja.
“We heard that the idea is to move him away from the South-East. We have made efforts to see him, but the DSS has not granted us access. Even the lawyers have not been allowed to reach him,” the relative said.
Agu, who has starred in several movies, including ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’, which is now showing on Netflix, has been a known supporter of the Biafra struggle. (Sahara Reporters)
The intelligence unit of the Indigenous People of Biafra worried about unnecessary killings done and their name tagged to it simply to discredit their quest to restore Biafra, has releases names of those behind killings.
IU of IPOB has given details of those behind the killings, with their names, phone numbers. Below is their press statement with regards to this.
IPOB PRESS RELEASE 01/10/2021
WE HAVE UNCOVERED PART OF THOSE BEHIND THE SENSELESS KILLINGS IN BIAFRA LAND – IPOB
Worried by the increasing rate of senseless killings in Biafra land especially Anambra and Imo States, the intelligence unit of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been intensifying efforts towards uncovering the masterminds of these heinous crimes. These efforts have paid off as the unit has been able to track some of the the people behind the atrocities.
Through intelligence, we discovered that the Supreme Court Administrator of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma and his fellow traitors with the collaboration of the evil Nigeria security agents established fake ESN group to eliminate perceived political opponents in the South East particularly in Imo State.
Our intelligence unit, the M. Branch, discovered that Hope Uzodinma is behind the killing of innocent citizens of Imo State. He and his co-traitors in their desperation to demonise IPOB and impress their Fulani slavemasters, set up a fake Eastern Security Network, ESN which they are using to terrorise the people to create the wrong impression that IPOB and ESN have gone violent.
To prove to them that we are well ahead of them, we make bold to publish the names and phone numbers of those he is using to recruit fake ESN operatives in Imo State. The affected agents know very well that we know them.
(1) HON Ekene Anaduele Aka Stainless, Former APGA Aspirant in Imo State.
(2) C.O.C Akaolisa Attorney General, (Idemili Akwu Ojor Eziinwanne NA Orsu) Phone number is 08033368473
(3) HON Emman Uguru, Deputy Chairman Orsu, (Edu Awo Idemili ), his house is close to the local government headquarters, he is using his younger brother Enerst to recruit fake ESN members causing and killing hope Uzodinma’s political opponents in Imo State .His phone number is 08063785163
(4) Chairman of all chairmen, Awo Idemili Town Union, Mazi Ikenna Ezubeozor. He is in charge of recruitments. His phone number is 08035749943
(5) Chairman and Youth Leader Amaokwe Chukwuka. (Phone number is 08057959531)
(6) Obinna Izonobi Edeukwu, Head of Community Police Orsu, now head of EBUBEAGU in Orsu LGA Imo State. Phone number is 08035223225
(6)Oguwara Uzor, President Ndu Ukwu, Phone number is 08026620212
(7) Nwadi Ikeh is the frontliner in his area. His phone number is 07048205211
(8) The Ejimas are the sons of Police officer in Awo Idemili. People living in the area know them too well. They live at Paul Agundu’s house at Awo. They are usually seen around Produce in Awo.
These traitors and others are those behind the senseless killings and political assassinations in Imo State. Their intension is to disrepute IPOB by linking us with their atrocities but they won’t escape judgement. Their evil will soon catch up with them.
These agents of death are the ones recruited by Hope Uzodinma to eliminate Imo citizens in their bid to disrepute ESN, a divine outfit established by our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to protect and secure our ancestral land against Fulani terrorists masquerading as herdsmen.
Hope Uzodinma and co set up this recruitment team after the late Ikonso, a gallant ESN Special Commander rejected his offer and appeals to join them. They later killed Ikonso for turning down the satanic offer.
COMRADE EMMA POWERFUL MEDIA AND PUBLICITY FOR IPOBIPOB
I will be returning every award given to me in Nigeria by Nigeria state or organisation within Nigeria acting in the capacity of representing Nigeria, including medal given to me by Nigeria will be returned to the Ministry of Sport Abuja in the nearest future.
STOP NOMINATING ME FOR ANYTHING NIGERIA!
I REJECT YOUR NOMINATION IMC-NIGERIA!!
I HAVE DENOUNCED NIGERIA LONG AGO AND I AM WORKING WITH MAZI NNAMDI KANU AND OTHER WELL MEANING BIAFRANS AND ODUDUWAS TO DISSOLVE NIGERIA
“This is the highest grade of the Institute’s Membership and is reserved for accomplished professionals of your level and status in the profession.”
I reject your nomination publicly, this is the second time the IMC-Nigeria is nominating me whatever reason. I am not interested in your nomination, I am not interested in your award, I am not interested in anything that will move Nigeria forward because Nigeria is not structured nor created to move forward, so anybody trying to move Nigeria forward is already a failure.
Let me give you a brief brake down on these failures: Awolowo, Zik, Ahmedu Bello, Abiola, Obasanjo, Jonathan and every other person that have held any political position in Nigeria from 1960 to 2021 has all failed because they didn’t realise that Nigeria were never created to move forward.
I am now putting everything I have to the disintegration of Nigeria and restoration of Biafra as that is the only way to move forward, anything outside this, don’t bring my name.
Finally I will be returning every award given to me in Nigeria by Nigeria state or organisation within Nigeria acting in the capacity of representing Nigeria, including medal given to me by Nigeria will be returned to the Ministry of Sport Abuja in the nearest future.
I am Simon Ekpa, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s Disciple on Biafra Restoration.
Elder statesman, Edwin Clark, has said the Indigenous People of Biafra is dreaming with its inclusion of the South-South region in Biafra Republic.
IPOB, which has been proscribed by the Nigerian government, is agitating to break the South-East and South-South regions away from Nigeria to form Biafra Republic.
Both regions were part of the defunct Eastern Region which rebelled against Nigeria from 1967 to 1970.
Speaking in an interview with BBC Pidgin on IPOB, Clark said, “They are very unrealistic boys. To me, IPOB is not pursuing the right thing.”
He continued, “I told him(IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu) that he has a good fight, that the people of the East are being neglected. They have only five states, whereas other regions have six. In fact, one has seven. Based on what? Nobody knows.
“For every appointment that is being made in this country, the Igbo are shortchanged. If Universities are being distributed per state, they will have five. Others will have six while North-West will have seven. This is despite the Igbo forming the third leg when this country was created.
“So, they have a good complaint, but going about it wrongly.”
When asked if the South-South states are also part of the Biafra that IPOB is agitating for, Clark said, “How can Delta be part of Biafra? In what way? Is Biafra older or bigger than Delta?
“How can Rivers State or Akwa Ibom become part of Biafra? They are dreaming for still thinking about the Eastern Region of those days.”
On Kanu’s rearrest, Clark said, “‘I hope the Federal Government will give him a fair, decent and open trial. Because, up till today, I do not understand how the Federal Government got him back into Nigeria.
“We remember the days of Umaru Dikko who was put in a big box and brought back to Nigeria. I don’t know how this young man (Kanu) was brought back to Nigeria.”
He said claims by Kanu that he was abducted in Kenya has to be addressed by the Kenyan government. (Punch)
SaharaReporters learnt that the Kenya operatives chained Kanu to the floor for six days, not knowing who he was, until the news about him began to filter in.
Security operatives in Kenya who bundled the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, to an undisclosed apartment, confessed to him that they were sent by the Nigerian government to abduct him.
SaharaReporters learnt that the Kenya operatives chained Kanu to the floor for six days, not knowing who he was, until the news about him began to filter in.
SaharaReporters was told that Kanu, by that time, had suffered injuries in his neck and his wrist.
SaharaReporters gathered that Kanu, for the first time, was interviewed on Wednesday by the Department of State Services officials in Abuja, in the presence of his lawyers, led by Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
It was during the interview that the revelations of what happened to Kanu in Kenya came out.
“Kanu was interviewed by DSS agents today in the presence of his lawyers. He had injuries on his neck and wrist from torture. They said they didn’t know who he was. They chained him to floor for six days but they became nice to him once they found out who he was,” Barrister Aloy Ejimakor revealed.
SaharaReporters had on July 7 reported that Kanu told his lawyer, Ejiofor, that he was “mercilessly beaten and tortured” in the East African country before his extradition to Nigeria.
Ejiofor had confirmed the words of Kanu during an interview adding that Kanu told him how he was detained not in the Kenya official detention centres, but in a private residence for about eight days, before his extradition to Nigeria.
The IPOB leader’s lawyer, Ejiofor, had revealed this in an interview, noting that the Kenya authorities would be dragged to the International Criminal Court to answer for the brutality.
The lawyer had said, “There was a clear collaboration between the Kenya government and the Nigerian government and I am happy that they are now denying the fact that Kanu was arrested in there.
“But by the time we finish with them at the International Criminal Court, they will never remain the same. He was arrested at the airport there and he was taken to an unknown residence. He was subjected to inhuman treatment.
“Kanu was tortured, maltreated and mercilessly beaten, as confirmed by him to us. After spending eight days in their illegal custody, they now beckoned to the Nigerian government. Kanu was lifeless and unconscious by the time they were bringing him to Nigeria.
“To tell you the level of their conspiracy and the desperation to get him, they brought him here on a Sunday and the federal government is fully aware that I am his legal counsel.
“He was brought into the country and inflicted with several injuries and he is having a number of medical issues today. It was at the behest of the Federal government that Kenya was doing those things. This is against all international laws. We are going to address an international court at that level.” (Sahara Reporters)
Nnamdi Kanu, detained leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) was arrested in Kenya, his brother, Emmanuel Kanu, said on Wednesday.
In a statement, Mr Kanu called for the immediate release of the secessionist, saying he committed no crime by clamouring for self-determination recognized United Nations laws.
What Mr Kanu who holds both Nigerian and British passports went to do in Eastern African country is yet unknown as at press time.
Many versions of where he was picked up have continued to crop up on social media with so many countries named.
“My brother Nnamdi Kanu demands the right to self-determination for Biafra. Self-determination is the right that underpins the United Nations,” Mr Emmanuel said.
“Because Biafrans support Nnamdi Kanu’s call for Biafran self-determination, my brother has now been subjected to the most serious violations of international law.
“Whilst visiting Kenya, Nnamdi Kanu was detained and handed over to the Nigerian authorities who then flew him to Nigeria.
“My brother has been subjected to extraordinary rendition by Kenya and Nigeria. They have violated the most basic principles of the rule of law. Extraordinary rendition is one of the most serious crimes states can commit. Both Nigeria and Kenya must be held to account. I demand justice for my brother, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Nnamdi Kanu holds both British and Nigerian citizenship. Nnamdi Kanu is Biafran, not Nigerian. He has rejected his Nigerian citizenship.
“The British High Commission in Nigeria must insist upon my brother’s immediate release. They must guarantee his safety and security. Nnamdi Kanu must be returned home to the UK to his wife and his sons who live here. The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, must make clear to the Nigerian authorities that they will not tolerate the unlawful detention of British citizens and that the UK Government condemns the Nigerians and Kenyans for underminin
Femi Fani-Kayode, former Aviation Minister has issued a note of caution to the Nigerian government over the rearrest of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Fani-Kayode known to be a close ally of Kanu said the IPOB leader must not die in custody.
In a tweet, the former minister urged the Federal Government to ensure that Kanu is treated with decency and respect while in custody.
Biafra: Asari Dokubo linked to Nnamdi Kanu’s rearrest by Buhari govt
“It is no longer news that @MaziNnamdiKanu has been arrested and detained. I advise the FG to ensure that he does not die in custody and that he is treated with decency, decorum and respect,” he tweeted.
The Nigerian government had arrested Kanu and repatriated him to Nigeria to continue his trial.
Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, disclosed that Kanu was arrested on Sunday.
Malami had said the IPOB leader was re-arrested through a combined operation of Nigerian and foreign security agents.
Following his repatriation, he was rearraigned before Justice Binta Nyako-led Federal High Court who ordered his remand in custody of the Department of State Services, DSS. (Daily Post)
The agitation for a separate country out of what is known as Nigeria, by two major ethnic groups – the Igbos and the Yourubas, both of Southern Nigeria routing for Biafra nation and Oduduwa Republic is traceable to the failure of successive governments to address Injustice and Inequality.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the concerns are germane, but the approaches of the two separatist groups are different. The agitators for the Yoruba nation are less provocative in their choice of words and non-violent, the Biafra group has become engrossed in using foul language and verbal abuse of those perceived to be opposed to their agenda, or its operational strategies. This has not only caused a rift in the leadership structure of the group known otherwise as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB.
The creation of a more practical and militant wing tagged as the Eastern Security Network, ESN, to checkmate the influx of armed herdsmen into the territory of Igbo land has further pushed the agitation to the precincts and that has attracted an early resistance from the Federal Government of Nigeria and placed the two parties on a heavy collision course.
While the battle for control of security is fierce in the capital city of Owerri, the New stronghold of the Biafra group, leading to untold casualties on both sides of the divide, it is becoming highly worrisome the real essence of tof the Biafran forces the ESN. What was supposed to have been a bracket for any invaders under the guise of herdsmen has become the enemy of the Nigerian State. It is becoming suspicious the motive behind the attacks on public and private infrastructure, the Police and the Army and sometimes, fellow citizens of the proposed Biafran nation.
No sane mind would condone the mindless killing of innocent Nigerians either by the insurgents or by the agitators. Worse still, there is no justification for the setting ablaze of the homes of other Nigerians just because they do not align with the imaginations and quests of the separatist groups in Eastern Nigeria!
I have tried to figure out the reasons for such ignoble acts of terrorism by Nigerians against fellow Nigerians, as if we have become deluded after the killings during the Civil War, which is being reenacted again, sadly by the majority of those who were unborn then or were too young to appreciate the harsh realities that the country faced then.
Though the scars may be old or even absent, the devastation and effects of that crisis are still very high as the trust among the once Eastern bloc has been greatly eroded!
More worrisome is what would become of the Biafran nation if and when it comes when so much blood of those who ought to be liberated has been shed? Is it still fashionable for rebel leaders to rule their people with bloodstained hands? How does anyone sit in their comfort zones and watch the utter decimation of their people, all because of a warped idea of a nation coming soon, even when the indices are apparent that war is no longer the solution to issues of marginalization, deprivation and total neglect.
In a 21st century, there is absolutely nothing wrong with agitations and the push for the rights of every tribe to be respected. But the more acceptable mode of agitation is through dialogue, consultations and more. The concomitant effects of taking up arms against a Government are too grave to expose a people who are already choked by the bigger groups.
The bloodletting on the streets of Imo State must be stopped forthwith, and a new narrative engendered regarding the Biafra conflict.
The poor sufferers of this violent struggle also have the right to live. The youths who have been indoctrinated to believe in a cause that the original progenitors have condemned are victims of a conspiracy by those who are not willing to lead from the front but have hidden in safe and saner havens.
If the destruction and killings continue unabated, and worse still without a definite direction for the agitation, then the new nation called Biafra would have turned a tool of acquisition of wealth for the leaders who definitely would surrender and sue for peace when they have had their fill with stupendous wealth and undue fame!
By the time the new nation is birthed, those who would have belonged to her would have all been killed except for the virtual warlords whose only battleground is the social media with which they have used to send the foot soldiers to their early Graves.
If and when Biafra comes, will there ever even be any shouts of joy as families would count their losses?
In the end, it would be a nation against itself.
(Written by Chief Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe, a commentator, analyst and columnist based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State)
Disclaimer: the view expressed is solely that of the writer and not of The Republican News media.
Today, President Buhari and his allies are blackmailing Ndigbo and generalising their character based on the activities of Biafran activists.
The dot in a circle statement by Buhari has created much euphoria, which the Igbo have accepted wholeheartedly and even turned it into business to their advantage.
RUDOLF OKONKWO AND CHIDO ONUMAH
Dear Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Jideofor Onyeama,
We chose to write you instead of President Muhammadu Buhari because it is apparent from the president’s two most recent media outings that his cognitive impairment has greatly deteriorated, even though that is no justification for his murderous and genocidal rhetoric.
From his utterances, the gap between things his innermost mind conjures and what his mouth utters has been completely erased. We also chose to write you because you are the most senior Biafran in Buhari’s government. We know that in your world, Biafra is the worst tag that anyone could put on you. Unfortunately, the people you work with, in and around Aso Rock, see you as a Biafran. You can keep running away from it, but in the deepest corners of their eyes, Biafra is like a shell on you. And like a snail, you cannot cast it off.
Over the last six years, we are aware of your hard work on the international stage to rescue this government’s reputation. As this government squandered both at home and abroad the enormous goodwill it received in 2015, you have worked hard to reassure the international community that the wheel of the Nigerian vessel had not come off and would not come off.
Based on recent events, you do not need a soothsayer or us to tell you that the wheels came off a long time ago. What the international community was telling you in private weeks ago, they have made a tiny bit of it public following the debacle that is Buhari’s reaction to Twitter’s sanction of his genocidal tweet against the people of the South-East.
Clearly, the government that you champion abroad is set to re-enact at home another genocide against the people of South-East Nigeria which had its opening act during the unfortunate Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970. We think we should have you and the international community on notice.
Even your late father, the great Justice Charles Dadi Umeha Onyeama, who was a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, would have told you that in this unfolding moral crisis, you are not just going to be an accomplice in the killing of your own people, already in progress in several parts of South-East Nigeria, you are going to be remembered by history as a man who played a supervisory role in the senseless carnage.
As the blood of young men and women who knew nothing about the activities of a few Biafran activists seep into the red soils where your forefathers are buried, President Buhari would send you abroad to crisscross the world and lie for him. You would be lying that there were no killings of innocent young men and women in the South-East by security agencies.
Your talking point would be that the security agencies were quelling the violence perpetrated by Biafran activists. You probably can sell it to the world, but you cannot sell it to your conscience or to the memories of your forefathers who have sacrificed enough for Nigeria.
At this juncture, maybe we should peep through the course of the Nigerian Civil War, a repeat of the genocidal memory with which your boss, Muhammadu Buhari, now threatens the Igbo population of Southeastern Nigeria. A retrospective view of that war crime should point you to the frightening possibilities of poetic justice for the soul-destroying lying mission you are about to be sent abroad to whitewash.
As the world reacted with anger to the massacre of able-bodied Asaba men and boys in October 1967 while their wives, mothers, and sisters, were forced to dance for the sadistic pleasure of trigger-happy soldiers who carried out the slaughter, General Yakubu Gowon, then head of Nigeria’s military junta, sent his spin doctors abroad for a lying offensive.
Among the propaganda team sent abroad was Philip Asiodu, an Asaba indigene and a Permanent Secretary in the Gowon regime. Asiodu was reported to have told a press conference in Germany that reconciliation was the irrefutable goal of the Gowon administration. He was quoted as saying inter alia, “there is no question of massacring Ibos in the captured areas.’’ At the time of the morally reprehensible propaganda mission, Asiodu had no idea that his younger brother, Sydney Asiodu, an Olympic athlete, was one of the victims of anti-Igbo massacre he had finished lying to an international audience did not happen. On his return to Nigeria, instead of savouring the satisfaction of a successful lying mission, he was faced with the mourning of his younger brother, killed by the agents of the same government he had gone abroad to lie for.
As we write this, you are aware that the hordes of Nigerian security agents shipped to the South-East are taking their cue from President Muhammadu Buhari’s often-expressed odium for the people of that region. They are reading the president’s body language that calls for maximum force “in the language they understand.” Knowing the history of Nigeria’s military in Asaba during the Civil War, and later in Odi, Bayelsa State, in 1999, Zaki-Biam in Benue State, in 2001, and in Zaria, Kaduna State, in 2015, where they massacred civilians in their hundreds and carried out a litany of human rights abuses, nobody would be surprised at the news of young people being massacred after enduring torture in the hands of security agents in the South-East.
No matter how you disguise it, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other reputable world bodies have unimpeachable documentation of ugly patterns of abuses anywhere the Nigerian military went for any form of intervention. It is why successive American governments have refused to sell arms to Nigeria out of fear that the government would use it against its people. In a brazen show of indifference to what the world thinks, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, recently ordered his officers to ignore any demand to respect human rights in their operations, thus setting the stage for what is shaping up to be an all-out genocide in the South-East.
With you an earshot away, President Buhari vowed to reenact in the South-East the kind of carnage he and Nigerian soldiers carried out during the 1967-1970 Nigeria-Biafra War.
He mockingly invoked the obnoxious theory of “starvation as a weapon of war” that killed hundreds of thousands of women and children when he reminded the South-East people that they were “a dot in a circle.’’ As if that was not enough, he aroused the painful “abandoned property” saga when he reminded them that they had houses and businesses around the country and officially pronounced every Igbo man and woman a Biafran. The president went into the darkest chambers of his heart to spew hatred, all because a group of youths fed up with the state-sanctioned dehumanisation of Southeasterners rose to demand justice.
While we condemn the mindless violence that has gone on under any guise in the South-East in the last few months, we must note that it is the lack of leadership of your principal and his blatantly bigoted response that has sustained the violence. In our view, as far as President Buhari is concerned, the Nigeria-Biafra War has not ended. You can then understand why for many young people who did not witness the war, to use President Buhari’s choice words, the cheque of “No victor, no vanquished” issued at the end of the war in January 1970 was indeed a dud cheque.
Since your principal has no sense of history, we need to remind you that Nigeria was built on and has been sustained through injustice. Well before the civil war of 1967-70, there was the Tiv crisis of 1960 and 1964 which has lingered up until today in different forms. More than a year before the Civil War started in 1967, Isaac Adaka Boro, a minority rights activist, was crying for justice for his people in the Niger Delta, where Nigeria’s oil wealth comes from, the same people President Buhari pandered to in his Arise TV interview when he reminded Biafrans, your people, that the Niger Delta youths and elders had assured him there would be no access to the sea.
Fifty-four years before the #EndSARS movement, which President Buhari said was aimed at removing him for office, on February 23, 1966, out of frustration with Nigeria, Adaka Boro, at the age of 28, declared the Niger Delta Republic, an independent state for Ijaw people suffering environmental degradation of their land and plunder of their oil resources.
Brazenly, President Buhari, who was sworn in as president of Nigeria, finds it convenient to share these resources with his kinsmen in Niger Republic. The Twelve-Day Revolution, as Adaka Boro described his exploits, happened before a series of pogroms in 1966/67 against the people of the old Eastern Region, Igbos and non-Igbos, which ultimately led to the declaration of the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967.
The poor leadership and discriminatory policies of the Buhari administration are today fueling the clarion call for secession across Nigeria, including prominently, in the South-West. Clearly, the people of the South-East were not the first group to demand a country of their own due to the failure of the Nigerian state to protect them and give them a fair shake in the country. Nor are they the only group making such a demand in present-day Nigeria. But somehow, it is the people of the South-East who receive Buhari’s bitterest venom each time some elements in the region, fed up with injustice, resort to self-help.
Dear honourable minister, in 1990, while you were at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Major Gideon Okar, a Nigerian military officer, staged a coup in which he excised Buhari’s home state of Katsina and other states in the North from Nigeria. It is this same part of the North that initiated Sharia Law in 2000, in defiance of the constitution. And it is the aftermath of the Sharia Law that led to the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2002. In 2009, following the extra-judicial killing of Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, a more militant leader named Abubakar Shekau emerged.
The Shekau insurgency has lasted over twelve years, killed more than 30,000 Nigerians—Muslims, Christians, men, women, children—as well as international aid workers, in dastardly acts of terror, and attracted well-financed international terrorist organisations like ISIS and Al Qaeda into West Africa. At various times, Boko Haram took control of sections of the North-East, declared a caliphate, mounted their flags as a separate nation and collected taxes from Nigerians within their “territory.” They posted videos of the gruesome execution of their victims, including Nigerian military officers. On at least two occasions, they had attempted to assassinate Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State.
We did not witness the kind of genocidal fury and righteous indignation that propel President Buhari’s scorched-earth response when it comes to the people of the South-East. Daily, across the nook and cranny of Nigeria, we witness calls for secession in different forms, including expulsion orders, without as much as a whimper from the man you serve so diligently, except, of course, the call comes from Biafrans.
If President Buhari can talk glibly in public about what he plans for Biafrans, imagine what he says during security council meetings or when he is with his kitchen cabinet! Of course, we feel it. From Mr Danladi Umar’s “Biafran boys” incident to the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, comparing open grazing to spare parts trading—a position Buhari has vowed not to contradict—to the shoot on sight order given to security operatives in the South-East, everyone that matters in the Buhari regime is reading the president’s mind and body language correctly.
All right-thinking men and women in the South-East condemn the killing of security agents and innocent citizens and the destruction of the country’s vital infrastructure in the region. The way out would have been a measured government response to arrest the ugly development, but not when you have as president, whose allegiance is more to his cousins in other countries than fellow Nigerians who do not share his ethnicity.
You would agree, Sir, that whatever excesses Biafran activists exhibit pale in comparison to the activities of well-armed, long-established northern-based groups, most of whom are from the president’s ethnic stock. And this is not to compare whose terrorism is more vicious, but the carnage these extreme groups—be they herders or those who want to propitiate heaven—have visited upon Nigeria through kidnappings, wanton destructions, and surgical hit on the little threads that keep Nigeria one has placed them among the top terrorist groups in the world and thereby placed Nigeria on the top of every list of failed nations around the globe. Somehow, these abysmal records do not keep President Buhari up at night. From what we see, what wakes him up from his slumber is any mention of Biafra.
As the sense of Nigeria’s failure and unjust structure spreads, some people in the South-West have also joined the demand for an independent nation of their own. Despite their vigorous pursuit of Oodua nation, they have not received the same kind of vituperation from Buhari. The president has not spoken about the activists in the South-West as representatives of all the people of the region. He has not made them the scapegoat for his colossal failures the way he takes delight in making the people of the South-East. Why is that, Mr Onyeama?
Allies of the government that you serve now demand that Igbo people daily profess their loyalty to Nigeria before they receive basic citizenship rights. Igbo people who live in Northern parts of Nigeria are daily inundated by pronouncements of one Northern group or another, who have warned that the lives and property of Igbo people are fair game in the ongoing crisis.
They have an ally in your boss, President Buhari. These groups openly send signals that they have been holding their youths from unleashing a Rwanda-style genocide against the Igbo in their region. The government you serve, and its accomplices, have declared all Igbo men and women guilty by association.
They even had the audacity to announce that they had foreclosed the possibility of any Igbo person becoming president of Nigeria until all Igbo people go on their knees and make a public denunciation of the advocates for Biafra. The president you serve obediently recently amplified these absurd demands.
Let us jog your memory, Mr Onyeama. At the outset of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, your principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was then leader of the opposition, defended the group against what he tagged their “extra-judicial killings by Nigeria’s security forces,” the same forces he is now deploying to the South-East with orders to “treat them in the language they understand.”
At one point, Boko Haram terrorists picked him as the man to negotiate for them with the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan. None of these caused anyone or a group to demand his disqualification from contesting for the presidency in 2015. At no point did any part of Nigeria label every northerner a Boko Haram member or demand that the North be excluded from Nigeria’s leadership until they crushed the Boko Haram insurgency.
Today, President Buhari and his allies are blackmailing Ndigbo and generalising their character based on the activities of Biafran activists. Mr Onyeama, think for a moment what would be of you and your career if Biafran activists announce today that you would be the man to negotiate for them with the federal government. Think of it. Would that earn you the presidency of Nigeria in 2023?
For the avoidance of doubt, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, is a product of Buhari’s incompetence. Buhari’s paranoiac frenzy about anything Biafra turned what was Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation for justice and fairness into what it is today. The president, in effect, made Nnamdi Kanu a hero by locking him up and disobeying court orders to free him. Buhari should therefore not be surprised at the formidable opponent he has created as a result.
Buhari’s mismanagement of a complex and diverse country mixed with blatant nepotism is Nnamdi Kanu’s fuel. If Buhari has any desire to deescalate the tension he created, he has a slew of options on his table. But as we have seen, again and again, Buhari must exhaust all bad options before he chooses a good one staring him in the face.
We know that as a minister, you have not been working with other leaders of the South-East to address matters pertaining to the region. You have been so afraid of annoying Buhari and his clique or making them question your loyalty that you have relinquished leadership and auctioned off the leverage you should have had in the South-East.
Before you, the task is to go back to the South-East, not as a man with his tails between his legs, but as the most senior Biafran in Buhari’s government. Go and engage your people in an honest conversation. If you do it well, working together, you can come up with the proverbial right channel to direct the grievances of your people to the government that you serve.
Dear honourable minister, the alternative is what we are witnessing now. In the South-East, the hawks are in, picking up the chicks one after another. The hen is crying out not for the monster that is killing its chicks to let go but for the world to hear its voice.
Your forefathers used to say that we must chase away the hawks before we caution the hen. On your part, as the minister of external affairs, you will soon be sent abroad to walk up podiums around the world to commit the most abominable act against God and man—justify the shedding of innocent blood. You either uphold the ofor of your forefathers, as your middle name commands or you soil it on the altar of loyalty to the president of a crumbling edifice. The choice is yours. Time is running out!
Dear honourable minister, if you ever have the chance of talking with President Buhari, tell him that Biafra is not the problem of Nigeria. Nigeria is not the first or only country to fight a civil war. Let him know that Nigeria is collapsing under the weight of injustice in the East, West, North and South. In a sentence, we are all Biafrans! Rather than being fixated on a ‘‘dot in a circle,’’ let him know it is time to go back to the drawing board or sit at the table of nationhood and draw a genuine non-discriminatory circle that accommodates every group, no matter how small, on equal terms. This is the irreducible expectation in a country that prides itself on being a federal republic.
We will end this letter by paraphrasing Edwin Madunagu’s admonition to the Nigerian Left in his latest essay, “Birthday greetings in lieu of responses.” He may well be speaking to you, the most senior Biafran in the Buhari regime: “Wherever you are today, use all your intellect, use whatever levers you have, as individuals and as groups, to prevent Nigeria fully enacting a second edition of the (1966-1970) tragedy.”
Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo and Chido Onumah
The UN Secretary-General
The US President through the American Embassy in Nigeria
The Canadian Prime Minister through the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria
The British Prime Minister through the British High Commission in Nigeria
The French President through the French Embassy in Nigeria
President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi, Chairperson of the African Union
President Nana Akufo-Addo, ECOWAS Chairman
Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS