- 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.
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.
The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.
In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.
SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.
The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.
“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.
“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
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