IPOB Lectures British High Commissioner On International Law


The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said condemned the remark by the United Kingdom High Commissioner Paul Arkwright on Nigeria and Biafra agitation.

The Biafra group said Arkwright’s statement is distasteful and unfortunate.

Arkwright in a public lecture on, “Brexit: Lessons, Challenges and Opportunities for Nigeria” at the Federal University, Lokoja, on Thursday, April 6 said the UK remain firm in its support for one Nigeria.

But IPOB in its statement signed by Ikenna Chinaka and Grace Ukpai said the British envoy’s comment displayed a lack of understanding of international law and protocol.

“From our very careful observation, we are of the view that two factors could have been responsible for Mr. Arkwright’s uncharacteristic diplomatic blunder.

The first that immediately comes to mind is ignorance and the second, which is equally unfortunate, even more so than the first, is mischief. Riding on these assumptions, we shall now take the liberty of this press statement to address these two possible inadequacies which His Excellency might be suffering from and to clear every doubt his stance may have engendered in the minds of a largely undiscerning and docile populace,” IPOB said.

The IPOB also said it wants to presume that Arkwright might have been influenced by a phrase in the 1999 Constitution that, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Having firmly and solemnly resolved, to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God,…”

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The group said: “We make haste therefore to inform Mr. Arkwright that even the most poorly lettered man on the streets of Lokoja (venue of Mr. Arkwright’s public lecture) agree that the Amended Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar 1999 Constitution lied about itself and that the first lie in that Constitution is the wasteful phrase: “We the people”.

“It is the duty of IPOB to clear the illusions this deceptive phrase might have planted in the pliable mind of Mr. Arkwright and others like him. No doubt, the above phrase seeks to convey the misleading impression that ordinary people of Nigeria willingly in a conference, meeting or assembly convened by Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar somewhere in Abuja in 1999 agreed to vest immutable non-negotiable sovereignty on the Nigerian nation through the instrumentality of the said 1999 Constitution,” the statement said.

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The point IPOB is making here is to the effect that, in the exercise of the sovereign powers bestowed on it, an artificial creation like the Nigerian state or indeed any other country, can limit its own sovereignty or surrender a part of same.

“The truth as it stands today is that the Nigerian state, has out of its own volition already surrendered Nigerian sovereignty over Bakassi Peninsular, which therefore enables any part of Nigeria or section thereof to secede when they so decide, contrary to the wishes and ambitions of the neo-colonialists like Mr. Arkwright.

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This is equally true and remains same for even Great Britain whom Mr. Arkwright represents in Nigeria. Let us explain,” Chinaka said.

The group added that while there is no doubt that the Nigerian president has the powers to enter into treaties with foreign nations (both bilateral and multilateral) which is binding on the whole Nigerian state.

“Section 12 of the Amended Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar 1999 Constitution has laid down the procedure for the domestication of such treaties as a condition precedent to their activation as a law in Nigeria,” the group said.

It also said: “The jurisprudence beacon offered by the galaxy of authorities examined above leaves us with the only conviction that Mr. Paul Arkwright’s position is out of tune with contemporary realities which reflects poorly on his standing as a seasoned diplomat. He must work hard to redeem his image which is being seen by many concerned Africans as one steeped in gross incompetence devoid of any intellectual depth.

“A good starting point will be for him to acknowledge that this Nigerian state as presently constituted, created by his fellow countryman Frederick Luggard, has voluntarily, by domesticating Article 20 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right, accepted to give fillip to any section of the country wishing to secede by facilitating the exercise of that undeniable right through referendum as was recently done in the United Kingdom, where Mr. Arkwright comes from and is representing, regarding Scotland.

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The second duty on the part of Mr. Paul Arkwright is for him to wake up to his real duties by impressing upon the Nigerian government the imperative of discharging its obligation (under UN Declaration and African Charter) of facilitating a referendum for a peaceful Biafra exit from Nigeria.

It is our hope that Mr. Paul Arkwright appreciates this new reality, otherwise we would be forced to draw the alternative inference that he set out ab initio to cause mischief and test the will and resolve of IPOB.

This would be most unfortunate if it were to be so since the pervasive consequences of such an action will not spare anyone trying to subvert the will of the Biafran people. For record purposes, the Conservative Party led British Government of Theresa May has nothing to fear from the emergence of Biafra, after all we Biafrans are the most Anglophile of all races in Africa.

The IPOB further concluded that it would be disastrous if the British High Commissioner decides to continue pursing stance on the unity of Nigeria.


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