Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the state will continue to be home to people of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality.
Governor Wike gave the assurance during a meeting with South-East Governors, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and the Igbo community in the state at Government House, Port Harcourt on Sunday.
The governor said in the wake of the Oyigbo crisis, people peddled the rumour that he is chasing Igbos out of Rivers State which is not true because the state has an enduring relationship with the Igbos.
“Tell your people, Rivers people will continue to live together with Igbos. Don’t allow your sons to tell you lies. Igbos are innovative and hardworking. There can’t be Nigeria without Igbos. Nobody should take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean you must allow criminals to spoil your name.
“If I hate Igbos, I won’t appoint your son into my state cabinet two times. But you have to obey rules. Don’t allow criminals to dictate to you”.
The Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has warned Igbos to be weary of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) because the outlawed group is trying to instigate another civil war.
He said they were in Rivers State to ascertain the veracity of the news circulating in the social media over alleged killing of Igbo people living in the State. According to him, their findings has proved otherwise.
Umahi after listening to Governor Wike’s narration of the atrocious activities of IPOB in Oyigbo that culminated in the imposition of curfew in the entire Local Government, warned Igbos to be wary of IPOB as the group was bent on instigating another civil war that will result in the murder of Igbo people.
The governor said he finds it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers State to foist its flag and claim the territories belong to the Igbo people. According to him, Igbo leadership are opposed to this stance by IPOB.
Umahi, who revealed that he has huge investment in Rivers State, urged Igbos living in the State to respect the Government and people of Rivers State in order for them to continue to live and do business in the State peaceful. According to him, Ndi-Igbos cannot support any form of criminality.
Also speaking, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo said the meeting has reinforced the existing affinity between Igbos and the people of Niger Delta.
He described Governor Wike as a champion of restructuring of Nigeria and a man who loves justice.
He explained that the leadership of Igbos cannot remain aloof while some misguided few who did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the ember of disunity.
Nwodo, said he was elated to hear from Igbo leaders that under the leadership of Governor Wike Igbo businesses have continued to thrive.
Former Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili, lauded the Igbo leaders for the peace initiative and decision to visit Governor Wike.
He stated that every governor desires peace to govern and Governor Wike is no exception. He stressed that the people of the State endorse every measure taken by Governor Wike to ensure lasting peace in the State.
Present at the meeting were the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Other dignitaries are: Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia; the chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council and Amanayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, among others.
KELVIN EBIRI Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor. November 08, 2020.
…Disassociates self from viral video threatening to attack prisons in Anambra State.
The Supreme leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the Ohamadike 1, has announced the call off to the clean-up exercise slated to take place in two cities of Anambra State namely Onitsha and Nnewi.
In a statement made available early this morning by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, the protest scheduled to hold today, Monday 26th, in Anambra State has been put off owing to the fact that Anambra Command of IPOB has already cleaned-up the mess caused by the miscreants that held the state hostage for the past one week.
The statement reads: “Residents of Nnewi and Onitsha are asked to go about their businesses while waiting for further directives from the Supreme leader”.
“We are also disassociating ourselves from the faceless viral video threatening to attack prisons in Anambra State. It is cowardly, we do not hide our faces while making our statement, we are fearless. We are not in suport of such cowardly statement”.
The IPOB statement continues “Marching on the streets will no longer be tolerated as not to give room to mischief makers to breach public peace.
“Anybody found wandering near any bank or loitering with intent will be moved out. No act capable of breaching the peace will be tolerated from today, Monday the 26th of October 2020 onwards.
“The planned protests and gatherings will not go on in Anambra. Just as criminality of any form will not be condoned, either from hoodlums, hired thugs, the police or the army. Everybody must be well behaved, the statement read.
There are strong indications that the security operatives involved in the killing of some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) may face litigation abroad.
Already a suit is being perfected against the Inspector General of Police to be prosecuted in any of the twenty-seven countries in Europe in order to bring the perpetrators to book.
A United Kingdom based Human Rights Lawyer Barr Paul Nwachalla who spoke to reporters on phone yesterday announced that;
“Even though the Nigerian government claims to have outlawed IPOB there are concluded arrangements to sue the Inspector General of Police and the Nigerian Police force under what is called extended jurisdiction over extra judicial killings”.
The AIG zone 13 has acknowledge the fact of killing as well as conflicting figures in the number of death hence confirming that the police, DSS and Army are culpable.
DanMallam said, “the incident is unbecoming and unfortunate and the zone has employed best security strategies to prevent future occurrences.
“The zone under my watch will continue to maintain peace, law and order in Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States. I stand for justice, human right, constitutionalism, peace and development. I say no to torture, illegal arrest and detention, intimidation, and abuse of power.
“You can’t get development in atmosphere of crisis. Northerners migrating to South East are doing that because the zone is peaceful. We should continue in making the zone peaceful,” he added.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has called on Nigerian Government to invite him and his group to negotiate for the peaceful exit of Biafra.
This was as he condemned the arrest of the convener of the Katsina protest over killings in the state by bandits.
Kanu blamed the arrest of the organiser of the peaceful protest on ‘Fulani cabal,’ who he claimed were ruling Nigeria.
The IPOB leader, who stated this in a broadcast on Radio Biafra said:
“The people of Katsina protested something that is even their right as is being done around the world in the name of ‘black lives matter’; the organiser of the same protest in Katsina, Nastiwa Sharif, was arrested.
“Amnesty international has reported that they have arrested this man because he is crying out about the killing of his people by bandits. What is happening today we foretold it, and we knew they will happen”.
Further noting that Nigerians were no longer ready to ignore the misrule, injustice and hardship owing to neglect by their leaders, Kanu said, “For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the indigenous people of Katsina have risen up and have asked for a state of emergency.” He then said that if the Federal Government failed to summon him and IPOB to “discuss Biafra exit, with what happened in Katsina, they will lose Sokoto also.”
Kanu also condemned the killing of Christians in the North.
According to him, if Christians in the North, which he claimed outnumbered the Muslims, should retaliate attacks on them, it would be fatal.
He, therefore, urged Nigerian government to take action and stop the killings.
He insisted that very soon, the ‘Fulani Cabals’ were going to “lose your emirate in Sokoto, if you keep delaying people’s right to separate”.
On Nigerian churches Kanu said, “The problem with the churches in Nigeria is that you are just about money; you keep quiet with all the happenings in the country. You don’t condemn the killings in Nigeria.”
Speaking further on Biafra, Kanu said, “IPOB is light and it wants the light to shine on the people of Biafra. I want people to understand that we have proof for the migration of our people from Israel.
“The book of Zephaniah 3:10 says, after Ethiopia you will see my people there. Look at the map, after Ethiopia, it is Biafara.
“I told you that Biafra is the kingdom of God on earth. Everywhere they are, they represent light. How else do you need me to tell you that you are special? Biafra is not like any other nation of the world and we make no apologies to that”.
Kanu also condemned Igbo traditional rulers and community leaders allegedly giving out land to herdsmen in return for money.
He said the herdsmen turn back to maim, rape and kill the owners of the land.
Find below the detailed briefing by Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB to United States State Department detailing the activities of various Islamic groups on mass murders of Christians.
This was the briefing that made Buhari’s special assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu to cry foul and claimed that IPOB, a terrorist group is using Christianity to wage war against Nigerian state.
Read below the details and make your own conclusions if the group lied in their account of the events in Nigeria or they were simply telling the truth.
Briefing for US State Department
Nigeria: A History Of Serial Genocide And The Urgent Need For US Intervention
Being a Presentation by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the U.S. State Department in June 2019.
Abstract: The purpose of this submission is to formally bring to the attention of the Government of the United States, the violent Islamization that is taking hold in Nigeria against Christians and Jews, especially of Biafran extraction. As shall be demonstrated, this Islamization is by both State and by non-State actors that enjoyed the patronage and tacit support of the State. It is such that may lead to another genocide that will offend the conscience of nations, including particularly the United States, which possesses the singular capacity to intervene with lasting solutions.
1.. Background History: Nigeria is an oil-rich country and a regional power in West Africa. It is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country with a population of about 180 million people.
There are three major ethnic groups, the Igbo (also known as Ibo), the Yoruba, and the Hausa-Fulani; and 250 other smaller ethnic groups. The Hausa-Fulani are predominantly Muslims, and live in the Northern (Sahelian) part of Nigeria; the Yoruba who live in the Southwest are split almost evenly between Muslims and Christians. Yoruba Muslims profess a moderate form of Islam, as opposed to the more fundamentalist Sunni practice observed in Northern Nigeria, and from which the Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen Islamic terrorists emanated. There is a small Shia minority amongst the majority Sunni Muslims that are ruling Nigeria.
The Biafrans (the centerpiece of this submission) inhabit the Southeastern part of Nigeria with a population of over 70 million. About 50 million of them – the Igbos – speak the Igbo language and are predominantly Christians, but with a rapidly growing Jewish minority. Their land is blessed with human and mineral resources including hydrocarbons. Biafrans are very commercially-inclined, industrious and are given to scholarly and professional pursuits. They had an established democratic institution even before colonization by the British. They are very republican and egalitarian in nature, and coexisted peacefully with their neighbours prior to colonization and their amalgamation with the rest of Nigeria in 1914.
In 1966, soon after the world commemorated the 21st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and made the customary solemn declaration of ‘Never, Never Again’, Nigeria defiled that season of reflection, commiseration and hope. Its military officers, the police, Hausa-Fulani emirs, Muslim clerics and intellectuals, civil servants, journalists, politicians and other public figures planned and executed the Biafran (aka Igbo) genocide – the foundational genocide of post-European conquest Africa. This is also Africa’s most devastating genocide of the 20th century. A total of 3.1 million Igbo people were murdered between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970. And had Biafran not unilaterally declared its independence in order to protect itself, the massacre would have been incalculable.
Most Biafrans, especially the Igbos were slaughtered in their homes, offices, businesses, schools, colleges, hospitals, markets, churches, shrines, farmlands, factories/industrial enterprises, children’s playground, town halls, refugee centres, cars, lorries, and at bus stations, railway stations, airports, etc.
In the end, the genocide was enforced by Nigeria’s simultaneously pursued land, aerial and naval blockade and bombardment of Biafraland, Africa’s highest population density region outside the Nile Delta. In other words, even in their own heartland where they had taken refuge, they were pursued and eventually subdued. The excuse then, as it were, was that Nigeria was prosecuting a war of ‘reunification’. On the contrary, there is quantum evidence that the war was provoked in order to accomplish the genocide that had begun against Biafrans – generally and Igbos – particularly. The difference this time was to take it to their homeland where they had fled and taken refuge under the defunct Republic of Biafra.
The following excerpt from recently declassified US Embassy diplomatic dispatches of the era on the pogroms and the war that followed states that:
“The North was minded to use the war as a tool to reassert its dominance of national affairs. Mallam Kagu, Damboa, Regional Editor of the Morning Post, told the American consul in Kaduna: “No one should kid himself that this is a fight between the East and the rest of Nigeria. It is a fight between the North and the Ibo.” He added that the rebels would be flushed out of Enugu within six weeks. Lt. Colonel Hassan Katsina went further to say with the level of enthusiasm among the soldiers; it would be a matter of “only hours before Ojukwu and his men were rounded up”.
“The northern section of the Nigerian military was the best equipped in the country. To ensure the region’s continued dominance, the British assigned most of the army and air force resources to the North. It was only the Navy’s they could not transfer. All the elite military schools were there. The headquarters of the infantry and artillery corps were there. Kaduna alone was home to the headquarters of the 1st Division of the Nigerian Army, Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria (Army Depot), Air Force Training School and, Nigerian Defence Academy. Maitama Sule, Minister of Mines and Power in 1966, once told the story of how Muhammadu Ribadu, his counterpart in Defence Ministry, went to the Nigerian Military School, Zaria, and the British Commandant of the school told him many of the students could not continue because they failed woefully. When Ribadu thumbed through the list, Sule said, it was a Mohammed, an Ibrahim, a Yusuf or an Abdullahi. “You don’t know what you are doing and because of this you cannot continue to head the school,” an irate Ribadu was said to have told the commandant. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was one of the students for whom the commandant was sacked. “You can see what Yar’Adua later became in life. He became the vice president. This is the power of forward planning,” Sule declared.
“Ten trucks of Nigerien soldiers were seen being transported for service in the Nigerian Army from Gusau to Kaduna and over 2,000 more waiting on Niger-Nigeria border for transportation to Kaduna. The secret document went on: “1,000 Chadian soldiers passed through Maiduguri en route Kaduna. These mercenary soldiers constituted the “Sweepers.” The captured American teachers aptly observed that there were soldiers regarded as fighting soldiers and there were other units that came behind to conduct mass exterminations. Major Alani, it was understood, was trying to get as many civilians as possible into the bush before the sweepers could arrive. On the 5 October, when they came, a lieutenant attempted to arrest the American teachers at St. Patrick’s College and their non-Igbo refugees, who had hidden from retreating but still vicious Biafran troops. Captain Johnson quickly summoned Major Alani. The lieutenant claimed to be acting for a “Major Jordane,” but a check proved this as false. Alani sent the lieutenant and his men away and posted a guard to the school until the staff and refugees left Asaba. There were too many civilians to be executed that Captain Paul Ogbebor and his men were asked to get rid of a group of several hundred Asaba citizens rounded up on 7 October. Not wanting to risk insubordination, he marched the contingent into the bush, told the people to run and had his men fire harmlessly into the ground. Eyewitness accounts confirmed that he performed the same life-saving deception in Ogwashi-Uku.
“However, other civilian contingents the sweepers rounded up were shot behind the Catholic Mission and their bodies thrown into the Niger River. This incident and many others were reported to Colonel Arthur Halligan, the US military attaché in Nigeria at that time, the document concluded.” End quote.
Earlier on in 1945 and 1953, the Hausa-Fulani political leadership had carried out two premeditated pogroms on Igbo immigrant populations in Jos and Kano in opposition to the Igbo vanguard role in the struggle for the restoration of Nigerian independence from British conquest. Hundreds of Igbos were murdered on each occasion and their property looted or destroyed. Neither in Kano nor Jos did the regime apprehend or prosecute anyone for these massacres and destruction. Tragically, these pogroms turned out as ‘dress rehearsals’ for the 1966-1970 genocide that was to later claim millions.
The perpetrators, who subsequently seized and pillaged the rich Nigerian oil and gas economy, got off free from any form of sanctions for what are, unquestionably, crimes against humanity. Suffice to say that it’s the same people that have controlled the government of Nigeria since then, including Mr. Buhari – the current President.
There was an extensive coverage of the Igbo genocide in the international media throughout its duration. The United Nations though never condemned this atrocity unequivocally. U Thant, its secretary-general, consistently maintained that it was a ‘Nigerian internal affair’. The United Nations could have stopped this genocide. In the wake of the Jewish genocide of the 1930s-1940s during which 6 million Jews were murdered by Nazi Germany, Africa was, with hindsight, most cruelly unlucky to have been the ‘testing ground’ for the presumed global community’s resolve to fight genocide subsequently, particularly after the 1948 historic United Nations declaration on this crime against humanity.
Only a few would have failed to note that U Thant’s reference to ‘internal’ was staggeringly disingenuous as genocide, as was demonstrated devastatingly 20-30 years earlier on in Europe, would of course occur within some territoriality (‘internal’) where the perpetrator exercises a permanent or temporary sociopolitical control as a State actor.
To make matters worse, a senior British foreign office official was adamant that his government’s position on international relief supply effort to the encircled and bombarded Igbo was to ‘show conspicuous zeal in relief while in fact letting the little buggers starve out’. (See: Roger Morris, Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger & American Foreign Policy (London & New York: Quartet Books, 1977), p. 122. See also Michael Leapman, ‘While the Biafrans starved, the FO moaned with hacks’, The Independent on Sunday (London), 3 January 1999).
Robert Melson, a foreigner, a Holocaust survivor and a Nigerian expert who witnessed what happened between 1967 -1970. In his book, ‘Revolution and genocide’, Melson states that: “I could not help but make the connection between their experience and my own. Biafrans were being killed purely for their identity: it was as if the twenty-some years after the Second World War had been compressed into a few minutes. The Holocaust monster was on the prowl again, and it was no use trying to escape its implications in Africa or elsewhere”.
If the Rome Statute had then existed, Nigeria’s head of the Federal Military Government, Yakubu Gowon, his commanders and several others would have been prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity for orchestrating the destruction of Biafrans in whole or in substantial part because of their ethnicity
The Present Era: We are aware of the propaganda emanating from the Nigerian government and Northern Nigerian Islamic fundamentalists aligned with the government that the neo-Biafran struggle for self-determination is an ethnic backlash against President Mohamadu Buhari just because he is an Hausa-Fulani Muslim. We state unequivocally that this is false and petty. The truth is that the post-War struggle peaked in mid-2015 when Mr Buhari systematically embarked on his Jihadist policies, coupled with his open toleration of Fulani herdsmen terrorists that had simultaneously commenced an intense ethnic cleansing of Christians, including Biafrans. This was also immediately following a well-publicized comment by Mr Buhari (during his campaign for the presidency) that ‘an attack against Boko Haram is an attack against northern Nigerian muslims’. Little wonder then that Boko Haram terrorism has peaked to new highs since Buhari’s Presidency.
In the face of Mr Buhari’s anti-Christian posturing and his complicit inaction to reign-in on herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists, Biafrans responded by organizing themselves under a group named the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, a devout Jewish adherent of dual Nigerian and British citizenship.
It is to be noted that Kanu was borne in 1967 and thus never participated in the war of 1967 -1970. So, he couldn’t have been driven by a sense of loss, revenge or bitterness; but by, instead, a sense that his people are being mistreated badly and are verging in again becoming the victims of another genocide. Majority of Biafrans share the same view, even so quietly because of fear of retribution by the Nigerian government or other non-State Islamic groups in alliance with the government.
Kanu, who employed non-violent means was nonetheless harassed, arrested, tortured, jailed without trial; and according to credible accounts, was offered gratification to abandon the struggle but he refused. His tribulations is but one of such levied by the Buhari-led administration against thousands of Biafrans, all because their ethnicity and religion and for possessing a political opinion (self determination) which the government of Nigeria is intent on suppressing through a punishment of some sort.
Amnesty International reports that since the advent of the Buhari administration in 2015 till now, Nigerian government has killed more than 300 Biafrans and wounded many more while they held peaceful protests against the killings and for self-determination. Amnesty International says that many of those pro-Biafra protesters were shot and killed in their sleep and others while they gathered in churches to pray. Many of the protesters were shot and killed from behind while they tried to escape.
According to the Report titled – NIGERIA: SHADOW REPORT TO THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS, 62ND ORDINARY SESSION: 25 APRIL- 09 MAY 2018, it is stated that: “In the southeast, the military was deployed to respond to a series of protests, marches and gatherings by members and supporters of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB ), who are seeking the creation of an independent Biafran state. Between August 2015 and October 2016, security forces killed at least 150 IPOB members and supporters during non-violent gatherings. Amnesty International documented 11 incidents, including one where at least 60 people were killed in May 2016 when the security forces opened fire on IPOB supporters in various locations in the southeast and another in September 2017, where security forces killed at least 12 IPOB supporters in Umuahia, Abia state. The Federal authorities banned IPOB in 2017”.
Country Reports released by the US State Department between the current period in review (2016 – 2018) confirmed much of these, particularly the Nigerian government’s declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organization in September 2017, which shocked the conscience of the international community, especially as President Buhari had fought against declaring Boko Haram a terrorist organization and scoffs at the global view that Fulani herdsmen terrorists militia is the fourth deadliest in the world.
As you are reading this, the massacre by Fulani herdsmen Islamic terrorists is on-going. We continue to bury our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters every week, and every month. We have watched our daughters and wives publicly raped and butchered. People have been burnt alive.
President Buhari has made Nigeria the most dangerous country in the world for Christians, most especially Biafrans. Hundreds of thousands are routinely plundered, tortured, or killed with impunity by Nigerian security forces controlled and populated by Buhari’s tribesmen; often in collaboration with Fulani herdsmen Islamist terrorist group. The US Presidential Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended listing Nigeria as a country of concern because of its religious oppressions. Vice President Mike Pence has voiced acute chagrin over the genocidal persecution of Christians in Nigeria. United States sales or transfers of weapons to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram are diverted to killing and terrorizing largely Christian Biafrans.� President Buhari is undoubtedly promoting radical Islam in Nigeria. He has joined the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and is presently planning a publicly-funded OIC Islamist Film Festival in a secular Nigeria. He has endorsed Sharia law in twelve northern Nigerian states. He has treated Boko Haram with kid gloves, releasing from detention hundreds arrested by the previous administrations and gave them financial inducements and directed their Nass recruitment into the Nigerian army. He has appointed radical Muslims to head every Nigerian security agency. He is an ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism under United States law; and he has generally pursued policies that put Nigeria at odds with US national interest since he came to office. �President Buhari is conducting a genocidal campaign against tens of millions of Biafrans, including mass killings, torture, and the destruction of Christian schools, hospitals, and churches. He has wrongly branded and terrorized the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to retaliate against peaceful demonstrations favoring the restoration of Biafran independence that was cruelly extinguished by a genocidal military campaign Buhari partly led between 1967 and 1970. He has concocted treason charges against IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu to crush Biafran self-determination, despite the fact that self-determination is legal under Nigerian law. Mr. Buhari’s demonic rule is convulsing Nigeria and creating new safe havens for radical Islamic terrorists.
Just recently, former President Obasanjo publicly stated that there is an agenda to Islamize and ‘Fulanize’ Nigeria. And a few days later, former Christian military leaders of Nigeria filed a petition before the British Parliament pointedly accusing Mr Buhari of pursuing jihad to Islamize Nigeria. The sole umbrella organization of Christians in Nigeria – the Christian Association of Nigeria – has lately expressed similar fears.
Biafrans constitute a distinct “nationality” within Nigeria. Approximately 60 million Biafrans reside in Nigeria, the majority in the five Biafran states in the southeast: Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi, with a sizable number residing in Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States.
Biafra enjoyed sovereignty before Great Britain commenced colonial rule over Nigeria. Prior to British colonization in 1906, Biafrans enjoyed decentralized self-government. In 1900, the British government assumed responsibility for the Royal Niger Company’s territories, and formed the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria, the Southern Protectorate and the Lagos Colony Protectorate territories 1914 witnessed the amalgamation of Nigeria into three administrative areas: the crown colony of Lagos and the Protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria, altogether called Nigeria.
In 1960, Britain ended its colonization of Nigeria without reference to the Biafrans or any other peoples of Nigeria entitled to self-determination. The Nigeria Independence Act established Nigerian territorial boundaries not by popular referendum or other reliable manifestations of self-determination of peoples, but according to the Nigeria’s Orders in Council, 1954 to 1960. Britain’s failure to offer Biafrans the right to self-determination violated the United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted on 14 December 1960. Paragraph 5 of the Declaration required that immediate steps be taken by the colonial power “to transfer all powers to the peoples of those [colonized] territories…in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire…in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.”
The 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations emphasized that, “By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right freely to determine without external interference their political status….”.
The people of Biafra—recognized as distinct by British colonial authorities—were never provided an opportunity to vote for complete independence and freedom from the rest of Nigeria according to their freely expressed will and desire. They were never consulted on the subject when Nigeria became independent in 1960. Further, the 1960 Constitution of Nigeria was never approved by the people of Biafra in a referendum or otherwise. And neither has any subsequent Nigerian Constitution, including the current version decreed by a military dictator in 1999. After independence, Nigeria soon became a ‘house of horrors’ for Biafrans. Deprived of their right to self-determination, they were left to the tender mercies of the Hausa-Fulani of the North and the largely Muslim Yoruba of the South in a unitary state unsuited for Nigeria’s diverse tribal, ethnic, and religious groupings. The gruesome 1967-1970 Biafran War was emblematic. It featured ethnic-based massacres and starvation of up to 2 million Biafrans by the Government of Nigeria. At the war’s conclusion, Mr. Gowon (who led Nigeria) trumpeted, “No victor, no vanquished.” The words proved a cruel hoax. Biafrans have been marginalized, persecuted, and subjected to a Northern military political yoke ever since; and there is no end in sight as the current President Nr Buhari has ratcheted up on it, all with his burgeoning jihad.
The Indigenous People of Biafra and its leader Nnamdi Kanu have taken up the tasks of ensuring the survival of Biafrans while pursuing a legal pathway to the restoration of Biafra.
On the basis of the foregoing, we respectfully request that the State Department recommend, among other things, denying weapons sales or transfers to Nigeria under the Leahy Amendment; listing Nigerians complicit in persecuting Christian Biafrans under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act; and supporting a United Nations organized and conducted Referendum on restoring Biafran independence.
We would be grateful for an opportunity to continue this engagement and to meet with the US Congress and White House officials to discuss our conviction that the interests of the United States in protecting Biafran Christians, defeating radical Islam, and preventing instability in West Africa would be enhanced by adjusting or altering current bilateral relations with Nigeria based on the foregoing.
Respectfully Submitted by Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB)
In a press release that seems to be a cry for losing the fight against IPOB on the international diplomatic front, Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity stressed on how they are losing the war against IPOB.
For those who thought that Maazi Nnamdi Kanu and his group IPOB are group of fraudsters and low lifers, they now know very well what the fight is about and where the fight is fought, International diplomatic war front.
Obviously, it is clear that IPOB is winning the war and that the Nigerian state is fighting a losing battle. IPOB shocked Nigerian government by documenting every details of extrajudicial killings, human rights violations, murders by Fulani herdsmen and others and the dereliction by the Buhari’s government and pass them on to the various international groups and world super powers. These informations with time begin to draw the attention of these bodies and governments. The effect is what you are about to read below. Let’s remind you that other groups like Lower Niger Congress, LNC, Christian groups and others have been bombarding the international community with details just like IPOB has been doing.
The press release is below
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
IPOB, SELF-PROCLAIMED JEWS, USING CHRISTIANITY TO WAGE WAR AGAINST THE NIGERIAN STATE
The Presidency wishes to draw the attention of all citizens and the international community to a most misleading campaign spearheaded by the so-called Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) using false allegations of persecution of Christians against the Nigerian State.
A very deep and wide investigation by an agency of the Nigerian government, working with international partners have made us become aware that there are two, interconnected campaigns being run concurrently by the IPOB in this regard.
Both are using the cover of Christianity – and calling for a US Special Envoy to be appointed to stop the “genocide” of Christians in Nigeria. But the real purpose is to drive a wedge between the Nigeria government and its US and UK/European allies.
IPOB leadership of course self-proclaims as “Jewish,” a position not shared by the generality of the members.
For reasons of convenience, he claims to have an interest in the welfare of Christians – but this is a ruse: the case for independence, the leader believes, is strengthened by “proving” the government of Nigeria is “autocratic”, engaged in a “silent slaughter” of their own citizens along religion and ethnic lines – and that therefore the only viable option for the unique religious and ethnic minority is a sovereign Biafra separate from Nigeria.
Nigerians and the international community are advised to be wary of this divisive campaign, which available evidence shows is being funded with a monthly spending of $85,000 USD since October 2019, with no records of the source of this largesse.
The campaign consists of producing articles in the names of the alleged Christian NGOs’ leaders (of campaign groups created at the time this PR contract with a US lobbying firm was signed) and letters to and from members of Congress to the White House.
Unfortunately, some Members of Congress have clearly been persuaded there is indeed a “Christian persecution” underway in Nigeria – and do so quoting the campaign – and they are known to be taking up the case directly with the White House to appoint the special envoy.
The American charity secured a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and has made presentations to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
There is also a UK and European angle of the Campaign, which is more opaque than its US sister campaign – given there is less legal requirement for public filings – but what is known of this at the moment is that their Budget is sufficient to hire four PR firms in the UK, Belgium, France and the US (the latter additional to the above).
They have founded an “NGO/Charity” and a linked web-based campaign named “Stop the Silent Slaughter” which is well designed and complete with video “evidence”-completely concocted.
Members of the alleged Christian NGO have had multiple Op-Ed articles in conservative news websites promulgating their message of a “Christian Genocide”. Some of those articles have also been used as “evidence” in the sister US campaign.
Two of those conservative news websites were co-founded by the owner of the UK PR firm they have hired to generate their publicity as well as an OP-Ed article in the name of a British MP who may have been convinced by their campaign under false pretences.
They have secured additional coverage in France, EU and Germany.
They secured a MPs debate on the “Christian Genocide” in the House of Commons in which staff member of the UK PR was referenced as the “private secretary” to the leader of the UK-based Charity.
It is clear from all of the above that the IPOB’s extraordinarily and dubiously well-funded campaign in the US and UK/Europe is misusing the issue of the welfare of Christians purely to further their own political ends, and it seeks to damage inter-religious dialogue in Nigeria as well as to damage the international reputation of Nigeria.
Nigerians and the international community are hereby advised to ignore this campaign as they have disregarded similar past campaigns originated by this group which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian State.
International groups and societies are welcome to send representatives to Nigeria and give a lie to the false claims made by these terrorist groups who are duping them of their money and involving them in conduct and activities disguised to destroy the harmonious relationships existing between their home countries and Nigeria.
Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) June 7, 2020
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has revealed that the push for agitation has received a revelation by the top countries and the declaration will shake the whole world after the announcement will be made by the United Nations, United States , and European Union body in 2020.
According to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu who gladly received the news and urged all IPOB members to keep the celebration mood high without violence.
Nnamdi Kanu has urged all IPOB members that Biafra freedom will be announced in 2020 and the joy, jubilation and celebration of Biafrans will shake the whole world.
IPOB has reacted to the news that the only joy is to achieve Biafra freedom in 2020 and all the Biafrans across the world has joined hand in hand to the push for Biafra referendum.
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The Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode in this explosive interview with The Nigerian Express touched on very touchy past, present and future political issues in Nigeria.
He discussed about Buhari, Tinubu, Osinbajo, Awolowo, Obasanjo, Jonathan, IPOB, Biafra-Nigerian civil war, the North, The South and more.
Below is the interview.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister is a lawyer, essayist, poet and a political activist. He spoke to AKANI ALAKA on the contemporary political developments in Nigeria, relations among the ethnic groups in the country, the civil war, agitations for self-determination, the need to restructure the country, as well as the jostling for the 2023 presidency among politicians from the South, among other issues.
QUESTION: Just recently, Nigeria celebrated its 59 Independence anniversary. You also celebrated your 59th birthday some days ago. As an historian and somebody whose father also played a significant role in ensuring that Nigeria became an independent nation, would you say the country’s founding fathers will be proud of the position the country is in now 59 years after?
ANSWER: I think we ought to have gone much farther than we have gone. And if I am to be frank, I will tell you that those that fought for Independence of Nigeria, including my father and many generations before them, will not be too pleased with the situation we are in today.
We were meant to have gone much further, become much stronger, much more united. We were meant to be the greatest asset of the Black man on planet Earth. But we have failed in all these respects. And consequently, I will have to say that I am rather disappointed.
We are like a giant that has shrunk into the position of a dwarf. We have been dwarfed in many ways – even by countries that are far smaller, with less potential than us, even in the African continent. And that’s not good enough. And I think it all boils down to one thing – the fact that we have had leadership that has not been the best for much of the past 59 years.
And of course, the other part of the problem is that we have not been able to answer the fundamental questions like, for example, the national question and the outstanding issues concerning the Nigerian civil war and so many other things.
And I think this is why our development has been stagnated and in many ways, has become retrogressive.
QUESTION: You talked about the national question – what is that national question and do you think there have been sincere efforts to address it?
ANSWER: I don’t even think most political leaders or politicians in Nigeria even know what the national question is. And that is really, really worrying because as long as you don’t answer that national question or address that issue, we will continue to go round in circles.
Of course, it starts with one fundamental question, which was asked in 1947 by the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, The Path To Nigerian Freedom. And the question was simply this – “Is Nigeria really a nation?” He (Awolowo) concluded by saying, No, that it’s a geographical expression.
He added that there is as much difference as between a German and a Turk as there is between a Fulani man and an Igbo man and everybody ought to be able to develop at his or her pace within his or her own region or zone. That was essentially Awolowo’s contention in 1947. And many decades later, I still think he was right.
We pretend to be one nation, we tell ourselves that we are one, but deep down, we know how much we resent one another for various reasons. We continue to act as if this is a marriage that is eternal, even though we don’t want it. That’s the reality of Nigeria’s situation today.
Most politicians will not say this to you because they are interested in getting votes from all over the country and so, they prostitute their principles and compromise on so many issues. But the new type of politicians that I think will deliver this country will not think like that. I don’t think like that.
I will rather tread the path of truth and justice than to say things that are politically correct in order to gain favour with Northerners or anybody from any other part of the country.
The path of truth is the path that will deliver this country into the light of God and the greatness that she deserves and we must not shy away from treading that path. We are not a nation; we are a union of ethnic nationalities that are yet to resolve our fundamental differences and fundamental issues.
The questions that were raised before the Nigerian civil war and in the course of that war are still being raised today. And my prayer is that it does not take another war or civil conflict in this country for us to resolve those issues.
We can resolve them in amicable and peaceful way, so that everybody will feel equal before God and everybody will feel they have equal opportunity to aspire and to excel in this country as citizens and not that we have some that are born to rule and some that are destined to serve.
QUESTION: How can we, as a country resolve this question – because some like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, want every tribe in the country to go their separate ways as independent entities while others think restructuring of the polity will give every Nigerian a sense of belonging. On which side of the divide are you?
ANSWER: The battle for restructuring is dead and buried. Restructuring is not discussed in the National Assembly. It’s not discussed even in the main political parties. As long as they are concerned, restructuring is a dirty word.
To me, it is a way out of the mess that we have put ourselves in. But to most politically correct politicians, who are mostly insincere and cowardly, they won’t even talk about it. The leadership of the two main political parties – the PDP and APC – will not talk about it as a matter of policy and neither will most of the small political parties.
But this is something so obvious, that ought to have been done long ago, not now. And the problem now is that it may well be too late for that. The sentiment is so strong now for ethnic nationalism – it is happening all over the world. Look at what is happening in Germany, in the US with Trump, in the UK with Brexit, the right wing political parties in Europe like in Holland and Germany.
The rise of ethnic nationalism is going on all over the world and Nigeria cannot be isolated from that. In this country, we have major ethnic nationalities that see themselves as members of that nationality before seeing themselves as Nigerians.
There is nothing wrong with that. It’s the perfectly natural order of things and that is the conflict we have in Nigeria. This globalized hybrid state, that we must all become one, to my mind, is not natural. Yes, we can become one if we share common values, common vision, a common understanding about how life should be and common worldview.
But if we don’t have that, and if one believes that he is king and the others are slaves and must be slaves forever, then, on what basis can we continue to stay together? And why should we remain together, just because a rather misguided man in 1914 by the name of Lord Lugard, with his wife, decided that we should be together? I resent and reject that.
I am a proud Omo Kaaro o o jiire, I refused to use the word Yoruba. I am a proud son of Oduduwa and I believe proudly and passionately in the rights of the people of the South-west to self-determination, if that’s what they choose to do. I believe that the people of the East, the Igbo, have that right as well, if that’s what they choose to do.
And I believe in the power of referendum, self-determination and I think it is absolutely wrong for anybody to say I don’t have a right to exercise that right, provided I do it in a peaceful, logical and rational way.
QUESTION: Are you calling for the dissolution of Nigeria as a country then, because that is what this right to self-determination will amount to…
ANSWER: I’m calling for the self determination of any ethnic nationality that chooses to be self-determined based on referendum. This happens all over the world, international law backs it and it’s something that should be done, provided it’s what the people want and it is done peacefully. And that’s my view.
Even if I don’t believe in it, I don’t think it will be right for me to impose my will on others and deny them the right to believe in self-determination or the right to referendum to decide whether or not we should remain as one.
The UK that brought us together and declared our marriage one – between the poor husband of the North and the rich wife of the South – and said that we must remain one forever is doing that today.
They are brexit-ing, based on referendum, from Europe, and they are also doing it internally within the United Kingdom. Scotland had a referendum recently. They narrowly agreed to stay in the United Kingdom. If they hold another referendum in the next few years, definitely, Scotland is leaving United Kingdom.
All the polls suggest that, and they will be allowed to leave. It is on that basis of expression of freewill that you can say you will create and establish a nation. Now, if you don’t want that part to be taken by the people, the only way is to treat them with respect, love and apologise to them when you got it wrong. I will cite the case of the Igbo people and I have said it over and over again.
A situation where three million people -civilians- were killed during the civil war, the greatest act of genocide in the history of African continent -black on black, not white on black- because King Leopold ll killed 10 million Congolese.
But we killed three million Igbo -civilians, men, women and children- in a space of three years and we have not apologized for that. This is a crime against humanity. It is a war crime. And for that kind of thing, the Nigerian commanders in the field, the Nigerian Head of State at that time, all should be at ICC. But I haven’t called for that.
All I am saying is that, at least, we should have the decency to apologise and also apologise for the fact that between 30,000 and 100,000 of them were killed just before the civil war by mobs in the North. These are the fundamental issues.
Every country that has indulged in such barbarity in the past has apologised, including the Belgians. The only country that has refused to do so and has committed genocide is Turkey. And I don’t think we should be in the same bracket as Turkey.
They killed one million Christian Armenians and they haven’t acknowledged it. We don’t want to be in that category. Everybody else, including the Germans, what they did in the Second World War, 50 million people died, six million Jews gassed to death, they apologised.
Everybody at some time recognizes the power of apology, reconciliation and restitution but we haven’t done that. Instead, we are still killing Igbo people till today. Is that how a nation is built? And when they say they want to go because they are tired of being killed even now, we are still killing them.
It is unacceptable. Sadly, it is not just the Igbo now that are being killed; if you go to the Middle Belt, Niger Delta, the West, Mid-West you will find slaughter. All these slaughterings are being carried out by Fulani herdsmen and, of course, you have Boko Haram in the North-east. It is so bad that Fulani herdsmen are even killing the local Hausa in the North itself.
The ethnic group carrying out this havoc, seven per cent of the population, that’s what they are, and we will sit here and say we are one nation. We don’t have the right to retaliate, we don’t have the right to cry, we don’t have the right aspire to be leaders in this country because we are second class citizens, even, when we are the indigenous people of Nigeria.
And you are saying we must accept that? I will never do that. Unless they change and these things stop, Nigeria’s unity can never be something that will be accepted by all of us.
QUESTION: Some critics, especially from the North had always faulted the call for apology to the Igbo people over the civil war with the argument that the war was a reaction to the killings carried out in the first coup of 1966, led by officers who hailed mostly from the then Eastern region…
ANSWER: I am very conversant with the history; I am part of it. They came to my father’s house in January 1966; I was conversant with what they did. And my father was the only person that was taken away from home that night who was not killed. About 20 people -key leaders in the military and the government of that era- were killed.
My father only escaped by divine providence because the federal troops saved him at Dodan Barracks and I appreciate that. And I appreciate the pains that were caused that night because I felt the pains too. I will never forget it. I witnessed it. I saw it. And I suffered the consequences of that for many, many years because it traumatized me.
The killing of all those people was barbaric and unacceptable. I have said so. Definitely, the majority of the participants were Igbo, I am not disputing that. But the question that you have to first answer is did those Igbo officers conduct a referendum in the East before embarking on the coup? Did they do it on behalf of the Igbo people?
Because if you say you want to punish a whole ethnic nationality because of the action of a few people -barbaric action in terms of the slaughter. They killed 20 people. You now say you want to wipe out entire nationality, I think that’s an unacceptable behavior. The reaction is even more barbaric and quite unacceptable in my view.
QUESTION; The argument was that the killings took place during a war situation…
ANSWER: It was not a war, because there was a coup in January 1966, 20 leaders were killed from all over the country and only one leader was killed in the South-east. It was a tragedy. It was a wicked act. I accept that. But there was no war at the time, there was a coup, an attempted coup. The coup failed.
And what happened next? The Northerners now decided to do a counter coup. Again, there was no war. It was what they called a Northern revenge coup to avenge those that were killed in the first coup. And what did they do? Here is what they did.
They killed 300 Igbo officers in one night. They killed an Igbo Head of State – Ironsi. They killed a Yoruba Governor of the Western Region, Fajuyi and they killed a number of other people – all in one night. Now, look at it in numbers – 20 of yours were killed, you killed 300 of theirs, plus the Head of State and Yoruba Army officers six months later.
And there was no war declared. You didn’t stop there, but went a step further few months later and you slaughtered in the North -the official figure is 30,000, the real figure is close to 100,000- Igbo civilians who knew nothing about coup plotting, who did not participate in it, who are equally victims and were still mourning that their people were killed.
Those killings took place in few pogroms in a space of two months and again, no war had been declared at that time. But you didn’t stop there. When the Igbos said it’s enough, let’s go back to the East, as they were going back, you were killing them at train stations, firing bows and arrows at them.
And when they got to the East, they now said ‘look, if you want to wipe us all out, it is perfectly natural for us to say we want to leave’ and they now said they want to go. First, you agreed that they will go based on terms agreed to at Aburi, then, you now change your mind that even Aburi, which you have signed and agree on, you are not going to accept.
They must stay by force and the war started. And what did you do during the civil war? You killed three million Igbo civilians. The number of Biafran soldiers that were killed was not more than between 30,000 and 40,000. But you killed three million Biafran civilians. One million of them were starved to death with the policy of starvation that you put in place.
And you justified that policy before the world when you, Nigeria, said starvation is a legitimate weapon of war. Have you ever heard anything as inhuman as that? I know who said that. I don’t want to mention the man’s name.
Another government official, a minister in Gowon’s government, went to America and when Americans were crying that we were committing genocides against the Igbo people, he said ‘no, we are simply defending ourselves, we will starve them to death.’ The people that said these were politicians, civilian leaders, but military commanders executed that policy.
Then, at the end of the war, you said ‘no victor, no vanquished,’ but that was the biggest lie from the pit of hell. You gave them 20 pounds and then, you took all their properties.
It is only in the South-west that their properties were not taken and you turned them into not second, but third class citizens. And today, one of those who participated in that war and all those atrocities is now our President.
Now, we have killed many in the last four years. You killed many IPOB people. And now, they are saying they want to go and you are saying they have no right to go. Is that just or right?
QUESTION: The civil war was followed by a succession of military regimes and in 1999, Nigeria returned to democracy. How well would you say we have done as a democratic nation since 1999?
ANSWER: I don’t think we have a real democracy and I will tell you why. In a real democracy, political parties can be formed based on whatever criteria you choose. Anybody can literally get up and say, this is my party, register it, I’m going to run as an independent, as whatever in my local government area.
But here, INEC, which is essentially a tool for government of the day controls everything in terms of elections. And if you have a man who is the chairman of INEC working against you as the president, which is what happened in 2015. (Attahiru) Jega worked against Jonathan at that time.
I’m accusing him of that right in this interview. And I’m also saying that there was time he was asked to resign and the evidence was clear on why he has to …. but, in my view, very naively, (former President Goodluck) Jonathan decided to keep him there. If you can control the INEC and the chairman of INEC as an opposition party or if you can put your man there to run INEC as this government has done since 2015, then, you know you have no democracy.
Yes, they can let you win some states as they did in 2019, but they can rig you out wherever they like. If you control the courts and you can remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria just like that or you can raid the houses of judges at night with the DSS and you have, more or less, captured the judiciary and intimidated the judges, you don’t have a democracy and neither do you have rule of law.
If you can send DSS officers to the National Assembly to go and raid the place and lock out legislators because you cannot control the place as happened some months ago, then you don’t have a democracy. Today, the APC, by design, controls the National Assembly.
They control it because they control virtually all the elections and so, they returned as many people as possible through INEC – mostly unfairly. They control the elections tribunals, in my view.
They control the courts, in my view, and they control the media, in my view, because this kind of interview, I will be surprised if you publish what I am saying. You may publish it online, but if you publish it in your paper, you may get into trouble.
They control the television. If you go there and you say anything against them that is strong, factual, the NBC will come down on the television station. And you called that democracy? It is tyranny. It’s a dictatorship. And everything that I, FFK, said in 2015 during the course of the election that would happen if Buhari became the President has happened.
And everybody that insulted me then, laughed at me then, and said I was talking rubbish, even from within the PDP itself, are now being prosecuted. All of them are now calling to say I was right.
And everybody that stood with them (APC) then, including Atiku, Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, Dino Melaye, Saraki has come back now. And now, they are all victims of this monster that they helped to create in 2015.
Now, we fought them in 2015 and we are still fighting them up till today. And until the end of time, we will continue to fight them, not as individuals, because I have nothing against anybody personally. If anything, I have more friends in APC than in PDP.
That’s the truth. But in terms of ideology, politics and what I think is best for my country, I see them as immortal enemies; I see them as nothing but darkness. And I see those that seek to liberate this country from their shackles as the light and the vessels and the tools of God to fight that darkness. That’s my position.
So, if you asked me that do I believe that we have a democracy? My answer is, no. They have corrupted it, they have abused it and I knew this was going to happen. And let me tell you that it is going to get worse.
QUESTION: What has APC done to our democracy since they took power in 2015 that made you to arrive at this conclusion?
Since 2015, what have they done? First, they introduced religion and ethnicity into government. Every security agency in this country – whether the military, the one that have to do with external or internal security – 17 agencies in all – they are all in the hands of Northern Muslims, except for one, which is the Navy.
And that’s unacceptable in a multi-religious, multi-cultural society. A situation where the whole of the judiciary from the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court has just changed now – but the three tiers of the judiciary were being headed by Northern Muslims.
It is just now that we have only one being headed by Northern Christian, that’s the Federal High Court. A situation whereby in the National Assembly, the Senate is headed by a Northern Muslim, House of Representatives headed by a Southern Muslim – Femi Gbajabiamila, he is a good friend of mine, I have known him for over 40 years – but he is a Muslim as well. So, you have Muslims heading both wings of the National Assembly.
And you know what they have done with Femi Gbajabiamila? They have surrounded him with Muslims – his deputy is also a Muslim and the four principal officers around him are also Muslims. So, what is there for us in that place?
In the executive, apart from the security agencies, look at all the key appointments – nine times out of 10, they go Northern Muslims. Go to the Villa today – the official language is Hausa, 90 per cent of the people that are working in the Villa are Northern Muslims.
Look at the appointment of chief executives for the key agencies – they were Northern Muslims, look at the ministerial appointments in terms of substance – the North-west where the President comes from, the Hausa-Fulani catchment area, you have 10 substantive ministries, those are full ministries, not Ministers of state, 10 in the North-west.
Next is the South-west where I come from, we have five substantive Ministers and everywhere else – the South-east, the North-central and North-east have three substantive ministers each.
That means the North-west where Buhari comes from, which is the Fulani heartland has over three times the number of substantive ministers that all the other zones have, except for the South-west. And south-west has only half the number the North-west have. Is that fair? (Nigeria Express)
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Engr. Yabagi Sani, National Chairman of Action Democratic Party (ADP) in this interview with JOY ANIGBOGU, spoke on the role of youths in national development, recent activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other issues. Excerpts:
Recently you held a maiden national youth summit. What did you plan to achieve?
We believe that for youths to bounce back to reckoning, they need the backings and support of governments. They have to be educated, employed and empowered socially, politically and financially.
Unfortunately the leadership cadre in Nigeria is filled with aged politicians who think nation building is their exclusive preserve and as such youth should not be given a chance. Perhaps, their stand explains why though youths are said to be leaders of tomorrow, that future never comes.
The national youth summit is another testimony to the pride of place ADP has for young men and women as well as persons living with disability who by the ADP compulsory and constitutional provisions, must occupy 25 percent of Party Executive and all other elective and appointive positions from the National, State, Local Government down to the unit level. Hence our decision to hold this Youth Summit, the first of its kind in the history of our Party, with the theme: “Building Bridges Amongst Youth Across Continents” and the reason we have invited one of the youngest members of the British Conservative Party with a rising profile from the United Kingdom, “Mr. Jaymey Mclvor” as our Guest Speaker.
How can you describe the recent activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) abroad, attack of Ekweremadu in Germany and their attempt to meet with Mr. President in Japan?
The IPOB activity can be viewed from both political and economical angles. When people start thinking that they are not part and parcel of what should belong to them, there is problem. If the unemployment level is not as high as it is I don’t think people would want to leave the country, because they have seen that nothing is happening that would give them confidence, that is why what happened in Japan took place in the first place.
I think that the political aspect of it is what the president should be able to solve but also my message to the South East is that if they want to have leadership of the country, they should exhibit discipline and maturity. Today we are talking about power shift and the South-East says power should return to them. It is a political issue that the South-East at this time should understand that what happened in Japan gave them a bad name. Would Mr. President hand over power to his enemies if he has to make that choice? The reality is that Nigeria as we have today would go beyond where we are when power at national level ceases to be an issue based on merit.
What is your view about the opinion in some quarters that Mr. President is treating Fulani herders with kid’s gloves?
Being a former head of State, I cannot see any reason why he cannot take effective measures to handle the issue of Fulani herdsmen, banditry, kidnapping and what have you. If the president cannot take care of the security and welfare of the people, what is the use of the government if it cannot tackle the issue of security and welfare of the people? Whatever it is that is standing between the president and these issues. I think that by now he should have been able to jettison those things. Do you believe in power shift in the country?
As a political party, we are for all-inclusiveness. We believe in justice and fair play. We allow democracy to have its way because when you allow democracy to have its way then you can begin to talk about good governance. The reality we have today in terms of deciding who gets what, I think the South-East people should do better if they begin to act with maturity and sense of responsibility. What is four years in the life of a nation? If in four years’ time you are going to have the opportunity to rule the country, wait until it comes to you, then do what you like with it. When you start to act not only in the country but outside the country, giving the country a bad name, the consequences may be huge when you need the support of other regions. People would begin to ask if they share the sentiments of one Nigeria. I know that in Nigeria if care is not taken, because the impression that the South-East may likely want to consider seceding, Yoruba may take the next presidency, in spite of the fact that they have just finished. If you see that the South-East cannot be controlled with what IPOB is doing, then why do you want to give power to those who cannot control their erring members?
What if the South-East region refutes the allegation that IPOB represents it?
A question was asked as to why President failed to control the Fulani herdsmen because they believe that Buhari is a Fulani man and should be able to take care of them. Similarly people can start inferring that South-East should be able to take care of IPOB. Just as you can say that Buhari has failed because you think that he possesses other avenues he can explore aside being the president to solve this problem.
We can also say that for reasons best known to the South-East people, they are treating IPOB with kids gloves. We saw the case of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), former President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered they be shot at sight, but we saw some governors of the South-West using them, till today. It will do the South-East good to tackle the issue of IPOB, just like Buhari should call Fulani herdsmen to order.
El-Rufai has said that the North will not handover power in 2023. What is your view?
He was probably speaking for All Progressives Congress (APC) not ADP.
What do you think about the speculation in some quarters that Buhari is planning to handover to Tinubu?
It is not exclusive right of APC to present the next president. Nigerians should decide who would emerge and not APC. The APC would bring its candidate and others too would bring theirs and Nigeria would decide who the next president would be. Awakening the consciousness of the people and making sure that the electoral laws are amended to give level playing ground, ensuring that power is held accountable. Nigerians should speak out. The important thing is that the press must be alive to the need to change the scenario. It should be in the vanguard. Systems that are more entrenched than Nigeria did it. We had Obama as president of United Sates of America. We also have Trump, which is more revolutionary. It means that change is possible.
Don’t you think that it was unfair for the president to have asked the Governors of Taraba and Benue States to answer questions to the killings in Taraba, when we know that governors are not in control of the military and police?
They are the security chiefs in their States. Administratively, the commissioner of police is under the governor but functionally he is under the Inspector General of Police (IGP) which means that they are supposed to explore the administrative relationship between the commissioner of police and the governors to ensure that some of those things happening are checked. The commissioner of police and other agencies in that State sit in a security meeting every week. If the President asked the governors to account, he was right because the governors are heads of the security meetings that they hold in their States.
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