- Northern Group Writes Osinbajo, Urges Him to Allow Biafra Republic
A coalition of northern groups has written to acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, urging him to take steps to facilitate the actualisation of the Biafran nation in line with the principle of self-determination, which the coalition described as an integral part of contemporary customary international law.
In an open letter to the acting president signed by Ambassador Shettima Yerima, Joshua Viashman, Aminu Adam, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman and Nastura Ashir Sharif, they commended the peace efforts of Osinbajo towards finding a lasting solution to the lingering crisis, but expressed reservations as to the efficacy of this approach in ensuring lasting solutions.
The group argued that their doubts were informed by the historical antecedents that had characterised the behaviour and conduct of the Igbo in Nigeria and previous efforts at containing them.
The group alleged that the Igbo had manifested their hatred for Nigeria’s unity barely five years after independence when on January 15, 1966, their army officers carried out the first-ever mutiny that marked the beginning of a series of crisis, which has profoundly altered the course of Nigeria’s history.
The coalition further argued that it was Ojukwu’s declaration of secession and the formation of the Republic of Biafra that resulted in a civil war that led to the tragic deaths of more than 2 million Nigerians.
It noted that the unconditional surrender of Biafra on January 15, 1970, had rendered any talk about Biafra at any other time, a repudiation of the terms of that surrender signed by General Phillip Effiong and other Biafran leaders.
The northern group told the acting president that the resurrection of Biafra and the gruesome picture that the Biafran agitation represented was beyond a few people showcasing to him that the Igbo would eventually heed the call for peace and desist from their campaign against Nigeria.
According to the group, “The seed of hate planted in the name of Biafra is evidently so deep that the ongoing interaction between you and the leaders from the South east cannot in our well informed opinion douse or address the underlying deep seated underlying problems”.
The coalition insisted that the principle of self-determination has, since world war II become a part of the United Nations Charter, which states in Article 1(2) that one of the purposes of the UN is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.
“We submit that this protocol envisages that people of any nation have the right to self-determination, and although the Charter did not categorically impose direct legal obligations on member states; it implies that member states allow agitating or minority groups to self-govern as much as possible.
This principle of self-determination has since been espoused in two additional treaties: The United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 1 of both international documents promote and protect the right of a people to self-determination. State parties to these international documents are obliged to uphold the primacy and realization of this right as it cements the international legal philosophy that gives a people the right to self-determination. As the Igbo agitations persist and assume threatening dimensions, we submit that there is need to ensure that they are given the opportunity to exercise the right to self-determination as entrenched under the aforementioned international statutes to which Nigeria is a signatory.”
“Aware that the right of self-determination in international, law, is the legal right for a “people” that allows them to attain a certain degree of autonomy from a sovereign state through a legitimate political process, we strongly demand for a referendum to take place in a politically sane atmosphere where all parties will have a democratic voice over their future and the future of the nation.
The Igbo from all over the country and in the Diaspora should be advised to converge in their region in the South-east for a plebiscite to be organised and conducted by the United Nations and other regional bodies for them to categorically decide between remaining part of Nigeria or having their separate country. That government should at the end of the plebiscite implement whatever is agreed and resolved in order to finally put this matter to rest,” the group added.
The coalition said it did not see the clamour for Biafra as an issue over which a single drop of blood should be shed, but added that the Igbo be allowed to have their Biafra and for them to vacate the North peacefully, so that Nigeria could enjoy lasting peace and stability.
Meanwhile, the Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has condemned in strongest term the approach of some northern youths with the issuance of quit notice to Igbos to leave the North on or before October 1, 2017.
The National Chairman of NYLF, Elliot Afiyo, disclosed this to journalists in Yola yesterday, noting that no nation or ethnic nationality can survive on its own without the support and the help of another.
He said after serious investigations into the quit notice saga issued by the Coalition of Northern Youths to Igbos to leave the they viewed as ill-advised and uncalled for.
“We strongly believe that these groups of northern youth were sponsored by some a few individuals who felt cheated by both the federal government and state government controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC). These individual were used and dumped. Therefore, they are bent on destabilising the government
“Another reason that also prompted the northern youths to accept this offer is the fact that our Igbo brothers for some years now have been frustrating, insulting and abusing other nationalities especially the northerners calling us cows and parasites despite our efforts in accommodating them” he said.
However, he said as far as the northerners need the Igbos, the Igbos need the Yorubas and the Yorubas need the Hausas.
“No doubt we have our differences , we should use these differences to foster our unity in diversity,” he said.