A new dimension for the people of Biafra has emerged in regard to their agitaton for self determination.
According to reports, a Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked in a suit instituted by elders and politicians in Kano state, to compel Nigeria’ s Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other leaders to hasten the exit of the southeast otherwise known as Biafra, before they conclude the on- going amendment of the country’ s constitution.
DailyPost detailed the court document marked as: FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021, which was instituted by Nastura Ashir Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’ I, Aminu Adam, and Abdul- Aziz Sulaiman, who are all elders and politicians from Kano State.
According to their suit, they claimed that their action is in a bid to stem the flames of violence and destruction allegedly occasioned by Nnamdi Kanu’ s- led Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, who have continued to agitate for secession unrelentingly.
The Kano elders and politicians also claimed that they do not want a repeat of the 1967 to 1970 civil war in Nigeria which was staged as a result of the same Biafra agitation.
They recalled that the Biafra war cost Nigeria many innocent lives and properties worth billions of naira.
Further reports says the suit listed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly as defendants.
Details Of The Requests Noted In The Suit By The Kano Elders And Politicians Read:
” A declaration that, by the combined effect of the provisions of Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and Articles 1, 2, and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, the 4th defendant (the National Assembly) is empowered to set in motion a framework for a referendum to allow the South- eastern region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to decide on their bid for self- determination. “
” A declaration that in view of the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 4, 14 and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, the 2nd and 3rd defendants (the Senate President and House of Reps Speaker) have the power to call for a joint session of both Chambers of the 4th defendant to deliberate on the agitation for self- determination by the Southeastern states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “
” An order directing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to provide a framework that will pave the way for the self- determination of the South- eastern states so as to leave the geographical entity called Nigeria before any further step is taken to further amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “
One of the elders who championed the suit, Nastura Ashir Shariff, noted that IPOB founded by Nnamdi Kanu, has been agitating for self- determination for decades and that it was time to consider his vision.
Nastura Ashir Shariff Said:
” The agitations of the IPOB have been going on for about a decade, despite their proscription by the Federal Government of Nigeria about three years ago.
” Even before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), there was a group at the south- eastern part of Nigeria known as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) under the leadership of one, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike.
” The main objective of the group mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph is also the creation of the Independent State of Biafra, away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
” Long before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), there was a move by the people of the south- eastern part of Nigeria formerly Eastern Region led by the late Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
” The secession attempt by the people of the then Eastern Region under the leadership of the late Col. Ojukwu was directly responsible for the first Nigerian civil war between 1967 and 1970.
” The said civil war had claimed many innocent lives from both sides of the divide as well as destruction of properties worth billions of Nara which was detrimental to the growth and development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
” The lessons of the civil war have faded in the minds of many Nigerians and a repeat of the carnage of the civil war is not necessary, going forward.
” The IPOB’ s agitation for self- determination has turned violent against both the people of the south- east who are against their agitations and other Nigerians carrying out their lawful businesses within the south- eastern states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
” The IPOB through its militant arm— Eastern Security Network (ESN)— is responsible for the killings, expulsions and destruction of properties of other Nigerians not belonging to the Igbo tribe.
” Resolving, with finality, the existential question of self- determination of any part of Nigeria is now more urgent, imperative and prevails over and above the issue of amending the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
” The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be further amended at any time after the question of self- determination must have been resolved by Nigerians. ”
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho has reportedly assigned the case to Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo which has been scheduled for hearing on November 1, 2021.
The Biafra Agitation
The Biafra agitation is one that occasioned the Nigerian/Biafran Civil war: a war that lasted from 6 July 1967, to 15 January 1970.
The agitation demanded that a group of states in the southeastern part of Nigeria, made up of mainly people of the Igbo ethnic group, to break away and form an independent Biafran nation.
Decades after the Biafran war, Nnamdi Kanu, an activist and secessionist, became the latest in a line of Biafran activists to take up the cause to divide Nigeria.
To this end, Nnamdi Kanu founded the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) in 2014.
Nnamdi Kanu caught the attention of Nigeria’ s security services after he made a frightening statement soon after setting up IPOB.
While speaking to gatherings of the large Igbo diaspora, calling for Biafran independence, Nnamdi Kanu urged Biafrans to take up arms against the Nigerian state.
According to CNN, Nnamdi Kanu said, ” We need guns and we need bullets. ”
In the wake of tension caused by Nnamdi Kanu, the federal government of Nigeria proscribed IPOB in the country, arrested Nnamdi Kanu, and charged him for treason.
Nnamdi Kanu’ s Guts And Activities
Regardless of IPOB’ s proscribtion, in December 2020, Nnamdi Kanu established the Eastern Security Network (ESN) after he was freed on bail owing to health conditions.
According to him, the ESN is a paramilitary organization of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, aimed at keeping the region safe from alleged terrorist attacks.
Amidst the presence of the Nigerian security operatives and the Nigerian military in the southeastern region, Nnamdi Kanu claimed that the southeastern part of Nigeria is better off without them.
To this end, there have been reported clashes between Nigerian security operatives and Nnamdi Kanu’ s ESN personnel.
According to the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, IPOB members and Nnamdi Kanu’ s ESN, are responsible for the incessant attacks in the southeastern Nigeria.
Attacks on police stations, government offices, and public institutions, have reportedly increased unreasonably in the southeastern region.
President Muhammadu Buhari Reacted
Reports of attacks on government institutions allegedly by IPOB members provoked a controversial statement by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who warned that he will treat perpetrators of the attacks in the southeast in the ” language they will understand. ”
Nnamdi Kanu’ s followers and others reacted by interpreting President Buhari’ s statement to mean a threat to kill IPOB members fighting for freedom, just like it happened during the Nigerian/Biafran Civil War.
President Buhari’ s statement reads:
” Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Biafra war, ” he wrote. ” Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand. ”
On 1st May 2021, one of the top commanders of Nnamdi Kanu’ s ESN was killed by the Nigerian military.
Few months later, several members of IPOB and commanders of ESN were either arrested or killed by Nigerian security operatives, which in turn increased the death rate of people who have lost their lives for Biafra since the inception of the movement.
Most worrisome, those arrested confessed to their deeds and pointed accusing fingers on their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Amidst the deaths, tension and uncertainty, Nnamdi Kanu refused to give up on the Biafra cause.
In the wake of these violence, Nnamdi Kanu was re- arrested and extradited back to Nigeria to continue with his trial bordering on treasonable felony.
Prior to now, he was declared wanted by Nigerian government for skipping bail and also for allegedly inciting violence and insurrection during this period.
According to the Attorney General of Federation, Abubakar, Malami, Nnamdi Kanu was re- arrested through the joint efforts of the intelligence and security services.
The Attorney General said: ” Self- acclaimed leader of the proscribed secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Kanu, has been intercepted through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and Security Services. ”
Biafra’ s Hope
Amidst Nnamdi Kanu’ s re- arrest and trial, it appeared that the Biafra cause was going into extinction, not until the decision by the Kano elders and politicians who have decided to file a suit against Nigerian leaders hoping to help achieve Biafra’ s exit.
It is also noteworthy that Nnamdi Kanu who is currently facing trial will appear in court in October after his case was adjourned in July owing to logistics reasons that made him unable to appear in court.
To this end, many have hoped that Biafra may finally leave Nigeria if the suit filed by the Kano elders and politicians is heard on November 1st, 2021 as scheduled.