By Ndu Chukwuka
Over these months various arguments have been postulated against the restoration of the Republic of Biafra. I personally found it very discomforting to think that Mazi Joe Igbokwe who is free to pitch his tent on the side of Nigeria was not objectively laying out the facts about Biafra.
With due respect, he was not critical and analytical in his argument on the Biafra agitation question. I must say that he was arguing to win the debate and not considering the facts objectively as an elder and a statesman, this is unethical and does a lot of harm to the masses, stakeholders need to know the truth, so as to make the right decisions. Biafra is not about Nnamdi Kanu rather it is about a nation and their future and we must never forget this!
Furthermore, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President’s take on the matter was more factual, however, from the analysis of his essay presented at the South East Leaders meeting, one would realise were he stood on the matter- it was a one sided piece that never gave Biafra a chance.
There were no options in his essay on creating an opportunity for Biafran people to make the decision for themselves vis a vis a referendum and his point on “Due Process”. Can he not use his powers to argue for a referendum or to develop diplomatic and tactical initiatives that would free Biafra?
Everyone is free to state their views but when elected, one must represent the views of those that put you in office, we also must ensure that we do not mislead by “our single storey view”.
In order to set the records straight, we have compiled 15 Lies about Biafra that are baseless and unfactual, it is based on academic research and evidenc. We stand to be corrected and welcome your comments.
Lie 1: A Call for Biafra is a Call For War!
- Self Determination is enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and international law. The UN and the AU have adopted it.
- It is share ignorance or dishonesty that many see Biafra as a call to war, far be it. Scotland did not call for war when they asked and got a referendum from the United Kingdom. Is Nigeria willing to allow a formal process for this call?
- Nigeria has the legal and moral responsibility to ensure that a referendum is conducted in a peaceful manner.
- When the Biafrans leave Nigeria, we can still work together with self-respect and we can be great trading partners
- Many Biafrans and Nigerians have parents from different sides, why should we fight because one partner in the Union wants to leave.
Lie 2: Biafran Agitation started because of President Buhari’s election
- IPOB filed the case seeking the courts to make a legal judgment on the rights of the Indigenous People of Biafra in 2012. The court bundle was prepared in 2011 in London by Barrister Emeka Emekesri
- Signatories of the Supreme Council of Elders was collected in 2011 and 2012 when the Supreme Council of Elders was inaugurated.
- The agitation reaching a climax now is not because of the 2015 election although the response of the President has been a key factor
Lie 3: Biafra is an Igbo Agitation
- Opponents of Biafra have been successful in the past in calling Biafra an Igbo experiment. This is far from the truth.
- Biafra name was given by an Ijaw leader in 1967- Chief Frank Opigo.
- Biafra will be a confederation/union of different nations such as the United Kingdom.
- However, the Igbos are willing to go it alone if their brethren who share the same blood and DNA as a result of migration and intermarriage for several hundred years want to exercise their rights and stay in Nigeria or form their own country.
Lie 4: Biafra is about the Igbos taking Niger Delta Oil
- Igbo land is the second largest oil producing block in Nigeria.
- Igbo speaking areas in the SS and SE’s can produce around half a million barrels of oil a day.
- South East Geopolitical zone has one of the largest gas deposits and a significant oil reserves. Abia, Anambra and Imo states are oil producing states with gas deposits in Enugu and Ebonyi.
- Biafra is not about oil but freedom, Biafrans are blessed with natural resources but not fixated with them.Life is more precious to us.
Lie 5: Biafrans can’t feed themselves, they need the food producing areas of the North
- Biafrans can feed themselves with their land mass and fertile land if they adopt efficient and technologically based agricultural policies taking a leaf from Israel that is about 31,000 square miles and has food security and is a major exporter of agricultural produce.
- Biafra has indigenous cows, goats and poultry that can be mass produced unfortunately we lack a leadership that has the will.
- Biafra faced starvation in 1967-70 because of the mass movement of people and a cessation in farming due to war.
Lie 6: Igbo part of Biafra is Landlocked (Joe Igbokwe)
- River Niger was designated an international water way in 1885 Berlin conference, it has the same status as the oceans of the world.
- Several rivers originate from Igbo land and empty themselves in the Atlantic ocean, namely, Imo River that can dredged, Cross River, Orashi and Bony River to mention a few. As we write, Abia state Government is building a Seaport in Ukwa West Local Government at the confluence of Imo and Azumini rivers which is a few mile from the Atlantic Ocean.
- Some parts of Igboland are a few miles from the sea meeting international maritime treaties that make it a land open nation, please note that Igboland extends to the South South.
- Furthermore, some of the richest and most stable countries in the world are landlocked (Switzerland, Luxemburg, Botswana etc). This point should never be a reason against self-determination of any people.
Lie 7: Biafra will be a small market for the Igbos
- With over forty million Igbos, new markets for goods and services in Biafra will spring up- food, housing, energy, transport, agriculture, education, tourism, health and social care, pharmacy, telecommunications, technology, media, entertainment, etc.
- Biafrans will also move from focusing on a Nigerian market to take on an African/global market which is much bigger and presents better opportunities.
- Biafra will become a major destination for commerce in Africa.
- All Biafra needs is a visionary leader such as General Emeka Ojukwu and not a pessimistic person who does not see opportunities.
Lie 8: Biafrans are peddling hate speeches and war
- A majority of Biafrans do not subscribe to war and violence, this is proven by the legal and political method that the intellectuals are using to restore Biafra since 2012 during.
- Extrajudicial killings of unarmed protestors and Biafran’s living in the North goes unpunished because of hatred, and nothing is done about it.
- Biafrans respect other ethnic groups in Nigeria and do hereby apologise for the wrongs of some of ignorant persons.
Lie 9: Biafrans and Nigerians will require a visa to travel
- No visa is required within ECOWAS member states.
- Biafrans are Nigerians, they can decide to have dual nationality if they want and vice versa for some Nigerians- this is international law.
- Visas will only be required if Nigeria handles the matter poorly.
Lie 10: Nigeria belongs to us all
- Since 1966 no Igbo person has been the President of Nigeria as a result of political calculations that have rendered a major ethnic group unelectable.
- President Goodluck Jonathans rule was made ungovernable and truncated.
- The Biafrans have least of everything when it comes to states, local governments, positions and federal projects.
- Biafrans are killed extra judicially and the perpetrators of such acts get away with injustice. Recently, Governor Willie Obiano has just apologised for the killing of the Nigerian Army which they have been denying. Amnesty International is right despite the intimidation it receives.
- If truth is told, the Biafran is not trusted but hated and cheated by the ruling ethnic group.
- We all know if we are honest that is only the oil that is forcing us into an unworkable union.
- It has been proven that no one is ready to die for Nigeria hence the corruption and a lack of progress in all areas of endeavour, however, people are willing to die for Biafra, this speaks volumes.
Lesson 11: Biafra Agitation is for an Igbo President
- Biafrans do not feel wanted in Nigeria, they feel tolerated and not accepted.
- Their dream is for a separate country were they can be responsible for their destiny and the choices they make.
- Nigerians should not be shocked when Biafrans continue to agitate when Nigeria foist an Igbo President on its people.
Lie 12: Restructuring will solve Nigeria’s problems
- Nigeria is built on a faulty foundation, therefore, restructuring will be ineffective.
- What will be restructured, false population figures that the north has more people than the south, state creation, revenue sharing?
- Nigeria is divided along religious and ethnic lines and the major tribes do not trust each other.
Lie 13: You loose your property when you call or get for Biafra
- Any property of Biafrans left in Nigeria as a result of hostility will be compensated for by Nigeria under international law.
- The Biafran government will compensate those who are affected and recoup its money back from Nigeria through several ways.
- Biafrans should only ensure that they have all the documents that prove their ownership of such properties.
- Money and possessions cannot compare to human life, we rather take life than possessions, and we have proven this fact after we lost all during the war.
Lie 14: Biafra will be too small for the Igbos
- It is true that Nigeria is a bigger market and it is also true that Africa and the world is a exponentially greater market.
- Biafra will create more economic opportunities for its people through Government policy and support, e.g. consider how the Government is killing Biafra entrepreneurs by frustrating their businesses and giving monopoly to those from the North. The Igbo’s do not have a Billionaire in the Forbes list shows what Nigeria is doing to them.
- A market for forty million Igbos is no a small one, we must be content with this and make it work, and also retain the capital within.
Lie 15: Biafra will be an unrecognised State like Somaliland and Northern Cyprus and will fail
- Biafra was recognised by five sovereign nations in 1967-70, more countries will recognise it this time due to a lessening of British influence and the awareness of self-determination as an inalienable right of a people.
- Somaliland is more stable and prosperous than Somalia that is a failed state , in fact, they have a Mission in London where visas are issued for people who want to travel there. They are progressing rapidly. Therefore, Biafra will issue their own passports and give visas to travellers.
- World Bank report states that Nigerians in diaspora sent home $21 Billion dollars in 2016, up to half of this went to Biafra region. Biafrans in diaspora will invest, develop and sustain the economy. All they need to do is introduce a development tax on remittances and ensure that these funds is used for social welfare, infrastructure and job creation.
- Do not underestimate the ingenuity of the Biafrans
It is important that those arguing for or against Biafra honestly get their facts right and do not mislead. Nigeria and Biafra can become great neighbours and allies, it would be better to separate than to continue in a failed union that does no one any good.
Let Biafra go in Jesus Name, Amen !
You can contact Mr. Ndu Chukwuka – Via Nduchukwuka@mail.com