BreakingNews 22/11/15 - Understanding Social Realities Of The Southeast (Biafran) Self Determination Agitation In Nigeria

[ Masterweb Reports: CSBHROs reports ] - (Onitsha-Nigeria, 22nd November 2015)-The leaderships of the Southeast based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations; comprising the Anambra State Branch of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club(HRC) (a project of LRRDC), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), Forum for Equity, Justice & Defense of Human Rights (FEJDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF) and the International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (INTERSOLIDARITY) having observed the recent socio-political developments and events in the Southeast Nigeria; collectively wish to take a firm stand on the issues so generated.

 

Issues generated by the events warranting our firm stance: These are issues of high public importance affecting the Southeast Geopolitical Zone, leading to recent socio-political happenings that shook the foundation of the zone for the first time since the end of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War in 1970.These are:( 1) mass movement and peaceful agitations for self determination by millions of people of the Southeast and the South-south zones; otherwise referred as Biafran agitation; and response of the Buhari administration including his divide-in-rule approaches to same; (2) shameful roles of compromised individuals and groups of the Southeast extraction who parade themselves as “Igbo elders” or “Igbo political leaders”. The despicable roles also include those of compromised traditional rulers, activists and APC puppets, using different names and mushroom bodies such as “Ohanaeze Ndigbo”, “Igbo Conscience Leaders”, etc to get influenced presidentially so as to disparage the mass and legitimate agitations by their own people and lend soiled support to age-long injustices against the people of the zone including continued unconstitutional incarceration without fair trial of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu since 14th October 2015; a period of 39 days.
 
 
Others are (3) un-priestly and compromised third party roles of some men-of-God in the like of Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka and Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah’s manifest bias position on the issue when he contacted our Coalition recently in the guise of “mediation”.  We are fully aware too of plans that have reached an advanced stage by the Presidency to continue its “divide-and-rule” approaches by using puppet-leaders of churches to further denounce and disassociate themselves from the agitations. Some paid media reporters have also been hired to blackmail and coerced leading traditional institutions and popular social bodies in the Southeast into joining in condemnation of the agitations including by pretending to seek to get their opinions on the raging agitations; for the purpose of deliberately quoting them out of context (i.e. Obi of Onitsha’s reported disassociation of himself from the agitations whereupon he was said to have been deliberately misquoted).
 
 
Also critically evaluated are (4) the social realities of the Southeast self determination agitation or its remote and immediate factors or reasons and the universal reality of assertion of the right to self determination using non violence, (5) sustained or continued threat to ethnic identity of the people of the Southeast zone in Nigeria as well as (6) political enslavement of the zone and its age-long structural injustice. We further looked into and considered the sorry state of (6) federal infrastructures in the Southeast  zone including the acutely deplorable condition of federal roads in the zone (i.e. Onitsha-Enugu, Enugu-Nsukka-Oturkpo, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Owerri-Port Harcourt and Aba-Ikot Ekpene) , abandonment of the 2nd Niger Bridge project, the skeletal status of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, the continued moribund status of the railway system in the zone, absence of a standard seaport or wharfs and general abdication of federal responsibilities by the Federal Government in the Southeast zone. Identified and condemned too is the (7) abysmal performance of the Southeast Governors Forum and its lack of clear vision and development insights for the zone.
 
 
We also considered it as utmost important and immediacy the need for establishment (8) of the Southeast Development Commission and the Federal Ministry for Southeast Affairs. Lastly identified was the need and public importance of the immediate  (9) construction of a federal bridge linking Anambra State through Ogwuikpere Community in Ogbaru LGA in the Southeast zone and Rivers State through Ndoni Community in Rivers State in the South-south zone. The important bridge, when constructed, will facilitate easy and shorter movement of goods and services from Port Harcourt wharfs and the South-south zone to the Southeast zone in less than one-and-a half hour. This project being demanded can be jointly funded by the Southeast Governors Forum through the Southeast Joint Development Trust Funds, which should be established urgently; if the Federal Government chooses otherwise.
 
 
Vox Populi (voice of the people): It is very important to point out that the peaceful protests that swept across the entire Southeast and the South-south zones as well as in various countries across the globe are purely the voice of the people or mass movement oiled by mass conscience and consciousness and fueled by unaddressed and sustained social injustices against the peoples of the two zones. In the history of civil revolutions, issue of sponsorship is dead on arrival. The mass protests under reference were strictly built on immortal dictum of you can deceive the people some time but they cannot be deceived all the time.
 
 
The Federal Government’s divide-and-rule approach adopted to address the thorny issue is also not only a fire brigade approach, but also roundly condemned. Organizing compromised and faceless groups to issue public statements disassociating, denouncing or renouncing the earth-shaking mass protests is not only counterproductive, but also a further enslavement of the race raising their hallowed voices against enslavement and their identity slavery. By accepting crumbs from the presidency to disown the masses of the Southeast and the South-south including their sacred lands and cosmic ancestors; instead of identifying, cataloguing and articulating the age-long injustices responsible for the mass agitation, the profiteers and merchants of human miseries under reference stand totally condemned, shamed and have their integrity and relevance ruined forever before their own people; be they priests, religious leaders, politicians, elders, traditional rulers or public office holders!
 
 
Constitutional& Global realities of the Southeast (Biafran) self determination agitation:  It is our firm stand that rights of the people to existence, development and self determination; irrespective of their race, colour, religion, ethnicity or class, are internationally and regionally preserved and protected provided they do not use or advocate violence. Though the success of using violence to advocate for and achieve these rights is determined by the doctrine of necessity (i.e. Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1993, South Sudan from Sudan in 2011, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovinian, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro from Yugoslavia in 1991/2), but violence of any kind is abhorred and prohibited locally, regionally and internationally. Our collective sympathy for the assertion of rights to existence, development and self determination by the people or race under reference is built on two strong premises of use of non violence and the fact that the Nigerian Constitution, regional and international treaties recognize and protect the rights in question.
 
 
Rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, freedom of expression, movement, peaceful assembly and association and freedom from discrimination are expressly provided in Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Rights to existence, development and self determination are also provided in Article 20, etc of the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981; ratified and domesticated by Nigeria in 1983. The right to self determination is also provided in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights of 1976, signed and ratified by Nigeria in 1993. It is also empirically established that countries in t
 
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